LA Times Crossword 3 Dec 20, Thursday

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Constructed by: Kevin Salat
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: A Cut Above the Rest

Circled letters in the grid are synonyms of “CUT”, and sit ABOVE the letters “REST”:

  • 16A Outshine : ECLIPSE (hiding “CLIP”)
  • 18A Home of the highest terrestrial biodiversity : RAINFOREST CANOPY (hiding “REST”)
  • 37A ICU hookups : IV DRIPS (hiding “RIP”)
  • 41A Airbag, e.g. : PASSIVE RESTRAINT (hiding “REST”)
  • 61A Extra : SPARE (hiding “PARE”)
  • 63A Superior … or what this puzzle’s circled letters represent? : A CUT ABOVE THE REST (hiding “REST”)

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

Bill’s time: 8m 59s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Keds vis-à-vis Peds, e.g. : REBRAND

Keds is a brand of athletic shoe first introduced in 1916 by US Rubber. The shoe was originally marketed as a rubber-soled, canvas-topped sneaker. The company first opted for the brand name “Peds”, from the Latin “ped” meaning “foot”. That name was already taken by another product, and so a quick rebranding took place resulting in “Keds”. The brand celebrated its centennial with a “Ladies First Since 1916” campaign that focuses on female empowerment.

15 Arm bone : ULNA

The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinky-side”.

17 Cornish game __ : HEN

The Cornish game hen is a broiler chicken, and not a game bird. And, despite the designation “hen”, A Cornish game hen can be either male or female.

18 Home of the highest terrestrial biodiversity : RAINFOREST CANOPY

Strictly speaking, the terms “rainforest” and “jungle” are related, but different. A healthy rainforest has a thick canopy of leaves so that the ground below is relatively clear of vegetation due to a lack of sunlight. When the canopy thins, the increase in sunlight promotes growth of tangled vegetation at ground level producing the habitat that we refer to as “jungle”.

21 Partner of mirrors : SMOKE

The smoke and mirrors technique used by an illusionist involves the reflection of an image off a mirror onto a cloud of smoke, creating the impression that an object is floating in space. We now use the phrase “smoke and mirrors” to refer to anything that appears to be an illusion, that cannot stand up to close examination.

22 What duct tape has a lot of : USES

What we tend to call “duct” tape today was originally known as “duck” tape. In its first form, duck tape was rubber-based adhesive applied to a duck cloth backing, hence the name. Cotton duck cloth is a canvas-like material, a plain woven cotton fabric. The name “duck” comes from the Dutch “doek” meaning “linen canvas”. Duck tape started to be known as “duct tape” in the fifties, as it was commonly used to wrap air ducts in the construction industry.

23 Computer operating system with a penguin mascot : LINUX

The Linux operating system uses as its mascot a penguin named “Tux”.

24 Color like khaki : TAN

“Khaki” is an Urdu word that translates literally as “dusty”. The word was adopted for its current use as the name of a fabric by the British cavalry in India in the mid-1800s.

28 Texter’s segue : BTW

By the way (BTW)

A segue is a transition from one topic to the next. “Segue” is an Italian word that literally means “now follows”. It was first used in musical scores directing the performer to play into the next movement without a break. The oft-used term “segway” is given the same meaning, although the word “segway” doesn’t really exist. It is a misspelling of “segue” that has been popularized by its use as the name of the personal transporter known as a Segway.

37 ICU hookups : IV DRIPS

One might see an intravenous drip (IV) in an intensive care unit (ICU), operating room (OR) or emergency room (ER).

40 19th Greek letter : TAU

Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, and the letter that gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

44 Craft measured in cubits : ARK

According to the Bible’s Book of Genesis, Noah was instructed to build his ark 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. That’s about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.

The ancient unit of length called a cubit was chosen as the length of the forearm. In some cultures a cubit was divided into 7 palms, the width of the hand excluding the thumb.

47 “King Arthur’s Song” musical : SPAMALOT

The hit musical “Spamalot” is a show derived from the 1974 movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. In typical Monty Python style, the action starts just before the curtain goes up with an announcement recorded by the great John Cleese:

(You can) let your cell phones and pagers ring willy-nilly … (but) be aware there are heavily armed knights on stage that may drag you on stage and impale you.

49 Red or Ross : SEA

The Red Sea (sometimes called the “Arabian Gulf”) is a stretch of water lying between Africa and Asia. The Gulf of Suez (and the Suez Canal) lies to the north, and the Gulf of Aden to the south. According to the Book of Exodus in the Bible, God parted the Red Sea to allow Moses lead the Israelites from Egypt.

The Ross Sea is a bay in the Southern Ocean of Antarctica. It was discovered by one James Ross in 1841. A more recent discovery, in the waters of the Ross Sea, was a 33 feet long giant squid that was captured in 2007.

52 Baja’s opposite : ALTA

In Spanish, “baja” is “low” and “alta” is “high”.

54 __ Mahal : TAJ

“Mahal” is the Urdu word for “palace”, as in “Taj Mahal” meaning “crown of palaces”. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum holding the body of Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The name “Mumtaz Mahal” translates as “the chosen one of the palace”.

67 Part of the CMYK color model : MAGENTA

The colors fuchsia and magenta are identical when used on the Web. The name “magenta” comes from an aniline dye that was patented in 1859 in France and called “fuchsine”. The dye was renamed in honor of a victory against the Austrians in the Battle of Magenta of 1859, which was fought near the northern Italian town of Magenta.

Four-color printing uses four different color inks: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The black ink is also known as the “key”. The first letter of the colors (with black being ”key”) give the more common name for four-color printing, namely CMYK.

68 Bassoon cousin : OBOE

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

Down

2 Cub : bear :: cria : ___ : LLAMA

“Cria” is a name given to a baby llama, as well as to similar creatures such as the young of alpacas. “Cria” is a Spanish word meaning “baby”.

5 Rock’s __ Speedwagon : REO

REO Speedwagon is an American rock band that formed in 1967, and is still going strong. The band’s biggest hits are “Keep On Loving You” (1980) and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” (1985). The founding members chose the name for the REO Speed Wagon flatbed truck. Note that the band’s name is one word “Speedwagon”, whereas the vehicle’s name uses two words “Speed Wagon”.

8 What yeast makes dough do : RISE

Yeasts are unicellular microorganisms in the kingdom Fungi. The species of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used for centuries in the making of wine and beer, and in breadmaking. Saccharomyces cerevisiae converts carbohydrates into carbon dioxide and alcohol in the process of fermentation. When making beer and wine, the carbon dioxide and alcohol may be captured by the liquid. When making bread, the carbon dioxide and alcohol is driven off by heat.

10 Situation Room gp. : NSC

The National Security Council (NSC) was created by President Harry S. Truman in 1947. The NSC is chaired by the sitting president and meets in the White House Situation Room.

The official name of the Situation Room in the White House is the John F. Kennedy Conference Room. The facility was built in the basement of the West Wing on the orders of President Kennedy in 1961 after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Analysis showed that the invasion failed largely due to a lack of real-time information, and so the Situation Room was built to prevent that happening in the future.

14 Black stone : ONYX

Onyx is a form of quartz that comes in many different shades, but most often it’s the black version that’s used for jewelry. The name “onyx” comes from the Greek word for “fingernail”, as onyx in the flesh color is said to resemble a fingernail.

19 Bowling a 300, e.g. : FEAT

In ten-pin bowling, a perfect game is a score of 300, which means that 12 strikes are bowled in a row.

28 MLB scorecard entries : BBS

On a baseball scorecard, a walk is recorded as “BB”, which stands for “base on balls”.

29 Wonder Woman adversary : ARES

Superhero Wonder Woman first appeared in print in 1941, in a publication from DC Comics. As she was created during WWII, Wonder Woman’s first foes were the axis powers. In the less realistic world her biggest foe was and still is Ares, a “baddie” named after the Greek mythological figure. Wonder Woman had several signature expressions, including “Merciful Minerva!”, “Suffering Sappho!” and “Great Hera!”. She also has several devices that she uses in her quest for justice, e.g. the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets and a tiara that can be used as a deadly projectile. Wonder Woman uses the name “Diana Prince” when “out of uniform”.

31 H.S. exam for college credit : AP TEST

The Advanced Placement (AP) program offers college-level courses to kids who are still in high school (HS). After being tested at the end of an AP course, successful students receive credits that count towards a college degree.

32 Georgia, once: Abbr. : SSR

The former Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) of Georgia is now an independent country. Supposedly, the Georgian people were given their name because they especially revered St. George. The flag of Georgia does indeed feature five St. George’s crosses.

34 Apt rhyme for “aahs” : SPAS

The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as “Spa” is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

35 Italian dish of thinly sliced raw meat or fish : CARPACCIO

Carpaccio can be meat or fish. It is sliced very thinly, or may be pounded until it is thin, and then served raw. Carpaccio is a relatively contemporary dish, first served in 1950 to a countess in Venice, Italy. The lady informed the restaurant owner that her doctor had advised her to eat only raw meat, so she was served thin slices of uncooked beef in a mustard sauce. The owner of the restaurant thought that the colors of the dish reminded him of paintings by Vittore Carpaccio, so he gave it the name “Carpaccio”. Well, so the story goes …

38 Quash : VETO

The verb “veto” comes directly from Latin and means “I forbid”. The term was used by tribunes of ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.

39 “Fiddlesticks!” : DRAT!

We’ve been using “fiddlesticks” to mean “nonsense” since the early 17th century. Prior to that time, “fiddlestick” referred to the bow of a fiddle.

42 George’s musical brother : IRA

Ira Gershwin was the lyricist who worked with his brother George to create such American classics as the songs “I Got Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”, as well as the opera “Porgy and Bess”. After George Gershwin died, Ira continued to create great music, and worked with the likes of Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill.

43 Energizer size : AAA

We are all fairly familiar with the Energizer Bunny, I am guessing. The Energizer Bunny was introduced in 1989 to promote Energizer batteries, by parodying the Duracell Bunny that had been introduced in 1973.

53 Numbers game : LOTTO

Originally, lotto was a type of card game, with “lotto” being the Italian for “a lot”. We’ve used “lotto” to mean a gambling game since the late 1700s.

54 Fitness portmanteau : TAE BO

Tae Bo isn’t an ancient martial art, even though it perhaps sounds like one. The discipline was developed as a form of aerobic exercise in the 1990s by taekwondo expert Billy Blanks who gave it the name Tae Bo, a melding of “taekwondo” and “boxing”.

56 Ballet leaps : JETES

A jeté is a leap in ballet, with the term “jeté” coming from the French word “jeter” meaning “to throw”. A “jeté en avant” is a “leap to the front”, towards the audience. A “grand jeté” is a long horizontal jump, a split in the air, leaping from one foot to the other.

57 Upscale retailer : SAKS

Saks Fifth Avenue is a high-end specialty store that competes with the likes of Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus. The original Saks & Company business was founded by Andrew Saks in 1867. The first Saks Fifth Avenue store was opened on Fifth Avenue in New York City in 1924. There are now Saks Fifth Avenue stores in many major cities in the US, as well in several locations worldwide.

59 Frat party costume : TOGA

In ancient Rome, the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae” or “togas”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

65 Western omelet morsel : HAM

A Western omelet (sometimes “omelette”) is also known as a Southwest omelet or a Denver omelet. The usual ingredients include diced ham, onions and green bell peppers.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 It’s not clear : BLUR
5 Keds vis-à-vis Peds, e.g. : REBRAND
12 Expert : PRO
15 Arm bone : ULNA
16 Outshine : ECLIPSE
17 Cornish game __ : HEN
18 Home of the highest terrestrial biodiversity : RAINFOREST CANOPY
21 Partner of mirrors : SMOKE
22 What duct tape has a lot of : USES
23 Computer operating system with a penguin mascot : LINUX
24 Color like khaki : TAN
25 Little helper? : ASST
27 Identify : PEG
28 Texter’s segue : BTW
29 Building up : AMASSING
34 3-Down concern : SCAB
37 ICU hookups : IV DRIPS
40 19th Greek letter : TAU
41 Airbag, e.g. : PASSIVE RESTRAINT
44 Craft measured in cubits : ARK
45 What chefs do often : RETASTE
46 Single-file travelers, at times : ANTS
47 “King Arthur’s Song” musical : SPAMALOT
49 Red or Ross : SEA
51 Were, now : ARE
52 Baja’s opposite : ALTA
54 __ Mahal : TAJ
57 Chew out : SCOLD
59 Fast-food option : TO-GO
61 Extra : SPARE
63 Superior … or what this puzzle’s circled letters represent? : A CUT ABOVE THE REST
66 Relations : KIN
67 Part of the CMYK color model : MAGENTA
68 Bassoon cousin : OBOE
69 It can cover a lot of ground : SOD
70 Specter : PHANTOM
71 Puts on : DONS

Down

1 Rupture : BURST
2 Cub : bear :: cria : ___ : LLAMA
3 Group with a rep : UNION
4 Arrange in order : RANK
5 Rock’s __ Speedwagon : REO
6 Beige relatives : ECRUS
7 Hallowed : BLEST
8 What yeast makes dough do : RISE
9 Bldg. units : APTS
10 Situation Room gp. : NSC
11 “You’re on!” : DEAL!
12 Do the minimum : PHONE IT IN
13 Vile : REPUGNANT
14 Black stone : ONYX
19 Bowling a 300, e.g. : FEAT
20 Pinches : NIPS
26 Turn while seated : SWIVEL
28 MLB scorecard entries : BBS
29 Wonder Woman adversary : ARES
30 Drops above the ground : MIST
31 H.S. exam for college credit : AP TEST
32 Georgia, once: Abbr. : SSR
33 Courage : GUTS
34 Apt rhyme for “aahs” : SPAS
35 Italian dish of thinly sliced raw meat or fish : CARPACCIO
36 Do some informal polling : ASK AROUND
38 Quash : VETO
39 “Fiddlesticks!” : DRAT!
42 George’s musical brother : IRA
43 Energizer size : AAA
48 Liquefy : MELT
50 State of comfort : EASE
52 Secret __ : AGENT
53 Numbers game : LOTTO
54 Fitness portmanteau : TAE BO
55 Burning issue? : ARSON
56 Ballet leaps : JETES
57 Upscale retailer : SAKS
58 Slightly soggy : DAMP
59 Frat party costume : TOGA
60 One may be self-cleaning : OVEN
62 Spur : PROD
64 Cry of disgust : BAH!
65 Western omelet morsel : HAM

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 3 Dec 20, Thursday”

    1. This is consistent with what I have encountered, too. I think given the clue Bill relays up above that it was very smart to “rebrand” the clue as it were.

  1. Me too on the 5A clue!
    Couldn’t get a few here and there, but pretty good (for me) for a Thursday!!
    Stay safe! 🙂

  2. No errors; had the same 5A clue as “Anonymous” reports. Strange.
    This one was hard for me and I had to do a lot of writeovers. The
    only thing I googled was Wonder Woman’s enemy because it’s been
    a long time since I read Wonder Woman comic books (which I did
    avidly, lo those many years ago.

  3. No idea what the theme was til here.
    Googled for LINUX, JETES, and TAE BO.
    ASST should be indicated as abbrev.
    Didn’t know baby LLAMA, what CMYK stood for or NSC, BBS. Made good guesses.
    Had ABOVE THE “norm” before ABOVE THE REST (don’t know why) and Ashes before ARSON.

  4. 26:43 no errors…likewise for 5A…as usual I didn’t get the theme until reading Bills explanation.
    Stay safe😀

  5. Fiddlesticks means “nonsense”, fine. Drat means “Damn it” or something along that line, like an oath. How are they connected? Since when?

  6. 13 minutes, 34 seconds, no errors. This was a good one: the theme and the circled space gadget actually helped in solving (twice this week!!)

  7. Mostly easy Thursday for me; took 13:52 with no errors or peeks. CRIA is new for me. Noticed part of the theme, except for the REST part, but didn’t really use it.

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