LA Times Crossword 9 Dec 20, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Catherine Cetta
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: After Dark

Themed answers each start with a word that is often seen AFTER “DARK”:

  • 55A At night … and where the starts of the answers to starred clues can go : AFTER DARK
  • 17A *Core exercise starting from a lateral lying position : SIDE PLANK (giving “dark side“)
  • 28A *Remote file-storage option : CLOUD BACKUP (giving “dark cloud“)
  • 35A *”Balderdash!” : HORSEFEATHERS (giving “dark horse“)
  • 43A *Hotel late-night meal source : ROOM SERVICE (giving “darkroom“)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 27s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Shopping spot : MART

A mart is a market, a place to shop. “Mart” is a shortening of “market”.

15 Wheel’s partner? : DEAL

Wheeling and dealing

16 Tan cousin : BEIGE

Our word “beige” comes from the Old French “bege”, a term that applied to the natural color of wool and cotton that was not dyed.

17 *Core exercise starting from a lateral lying position : SIDE PLANK

The plank is an isometric exercise that strengthens the abdominals, as well as the back and shoulder muscles. There are variations of the plank, such as the side plank and the reverse plank.

19 Gave the nod : OK’D

Back in the late 1830s, there were some slang abbreviations coined mainly in Boston. The craze called for two-letter abbreviations of deliberately misspelled phrases. For example “no use” became “KY” from “know yuse”, and “enough said” became “NC” from “‘nuff ced”. Fortunately (I say!), the practice was short-lived. But, one of those abbreviations persists to this day. “All correct” was misspelled to give “oll korrect”, abbreviated to “OK”.

23 Hung jury result, often : RETRIAL

A hung jury is a jury that cannot reach a verdict.

25 With “The,” ’80s British rockers who gave their group “the most ordinary name” : … SMITHS

The Smiths were an alternative rock band from Manchester in the north of England. Active from 1982 to 1987, the band’s lead singer was the vocalist Morrissey. Morrissey chose the band’s name, and later revealed that “it was the most ordinary name and I thought it was time that the ordinary folk of the world showed their faces”.

28 *Remote file-storage option : CLOUD BACKUP

In the world of computing, when one operates “in the cloud”, one’s files and key applications are not stored on one’s own computer, but rather are residing “in the cloud”, on a computer somewhere out on the Internet. I do 90% of my computing in the cloud. That way I don’t have to worry about backing up files, and I can operate from any computer if I have to …

31 Chit : IOU

A chit is a note or a short letter. The term tends to be used these days in the sense of an amount owed (as in a poker game). The word used to be “chitty”, which is now obsolete but was closer to the original Hindi term. I feel a tad obsolete myself, because when we are at school we would be excused from class if we had a “chitty”.

32 Sargasso Sea spawner : EEL

The Sargasso Sea is an area within the Atlantic Ocean that is famous as the home to many species of Sargassum, the algae floating on the surface that gives the area its name. The Sargasso Sea is also where both European and American species of eel lay their eggs and hatch their young. The young eels (or “elvers”) then head east or west, depending on the species.

35 *”Balderdash!” : HORSEFEATHERS

“Horsefeathers” is probably a euphemism for a similar word that’s a little more crude. The term is said to have been coined by cartoonist Billy DeBeck in 1928. DeBeck’s most famous strip is called “Barney Google”.

“Balderdash” means “senseless jumble of words”. The original balderdash (back before the late 1600s) was a jumbled mix of liquids like maybe beer and wine, or even beer and milk!

41 Rapper __ Nas X : LIL

“Lil Nas X” is the stage name of rapper Montero Lamar Hill. He was born and raised just outside of Atlanta. His first hit was “Old Town Road”, which is classified as country rap.

42 Java : JOE

It seems that no one really knows why we refer to coffee as “joe”, but we’ve been doing so since early in WWII.

Back in 1850, the name “java” was given to a type of coffee grown on the island of Java, and the usage of the term spread from then.

48 Actress Meryl : STREEP

Meryl Streep has had more nominations for an Academy Award than any other actor, which is both a tribute to her talent and the respect she has earned in the industry. I am not a huge fan of her earlier works but some of her recent movies are now on my list of all-time favorites. I recommend “Mamma Mia!” (you’ll either love it or hate it!), “Julie & Julia”, “It’s Complicated” and ”Hope Springs”.

51 Director DuVernay : AVA

Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on her husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma” about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

54 “Yabba dabba __!” : DOO

“Yabba dabba doo!” is one of Fred Flintstone’s catchphrases.

61 Fairy tale opener : ONCE …

The stock phrase “Once upon a time …” has been used in various forms as the start of a narrative at least since 1380. The stock phrase at the end of stories such as folktales is often “and they all lived happily ever after”. The earlier version of this ending was “happily until their deaths”.

62 Car service choices : UBERS

In some locations, the transportation network company Uber offers water-taxi services under the brand name UberBOAT. Most notably available in the city of Istanbul in Turkey, the service is also offered in other locations, often during special events.

Down

1 Israeli coin : SHEKEL

The shekel is the currency used today in Israel. The first use of the word “shekel” was in Mesopotamia around 3000 BCE when it probably referred to a specific weight of barley. Each shekel is worth 100 agorot (singular “agora”).

2 Stopped the ship by facing the wind : LAID TO

A sailing vessel that is “hove to” is pointed into the wind, with the foresail “backed” so that it tries to push the bow away from the wind. At the same time, the mainsail works to push the bow into the wind. The end result is that the vessel remains relatively stationary. Another technique used to stop a sailboat is to “lie to”. A vessel “lying to” is usually pointed about 45-degrees off the wind, with the sails let loose, just flapping.

3 Bailed-out insurance co. : AIG

“AIG” is an initialism used by the American International Group, a giant insurance corporation. After repeated bailouts by American taxpayers starting in 2008, the company made some serious PR blunders by spending large amounts of money on executive entertainment and middle management rewards. These included a $444,000 California retreat, an $86,000 hunting trip in England, and a $343,000 getaway to a luxury resort in Phoenix. Poor judgment, I’d say …

4 Chairs a meeting : PRESIDES

To preside is to occupy a place of authority, as in presiding over a meeting or committee. “Preside” comes from the Latin “praesidere”, which has the same meaning. In turn, “praesidere” comes from “prae” meaning “before, in front of” and “sedere” meaning “to sit”. So, to preside is literally to sit in front of.

5 Indian spice mix : MASALA

“Masala” is a Hindi word meaning “mixture”, and describes a mixture of spices. A dish named “masala” uses the spices incorporated into a sauce that includes garlic, ginger, onions and chili paste. Who doesn’t love Indian cuisine? Yum …

9 ’50s candidate Stevenson : ADLAI

Adlai Stevenson (AES) ran for president unsuccessfully against Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE), once in 1952 and again in 1956. Some years after his second defeat, Stevenson served under President Kennedy (JFK) as Ambassador to the United Nations. Stevenson was always noted for his eloquence and he had a famous exchange in a UN Security Council meeting during the Cuban missile crisis. Stevenson bluntly demanded that the Soviet representative on the council tell the world if the USSR was installing nuclear weapons in Cuba. His words were “Don’t wait for the translation, answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’!” followed by “I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over!”

12 Antlered bugler : ELK

Male elks are called bulls, and females are known as cows. Bull elks are known for their very loud screaming, which is called bugling. Cow elks are attracted to bulls that bugle more often and most loudly.

18 Elgar’s “__ and Circumstance Marches” : POMP

Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance Marches” is a work that takes its name from a line in William Shakespeare’s “Othello”.

Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, th’ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!

The most famous part of the whole work is the trio section of March No. 1, also known as “Land of Hope and Glory”. Here in the US, that trio section is often referred to simply as “Pomp and Circumstance”, or sometimes as “The Graduation March” as it is a staple at school graduations across the country.

30 Sportage automaker : KIA

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

39 Nighties : PJS

Our word “pajamas” (sometimes “PJs” or “jammies”) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. On the other side of the Atlantic, the spelling is “pyjamas”.

43 Caboose’s place : REAR

The word “caboose” originally came from Middle Dutch and was the word for a ship’s galley. When the last car in a train in North America was given a stove for the comfort of the crew, it took on the name “caboose”. The term has also become slang for a person’s backside.

44 Pitch that curves downward : SINKER

A pitch called a sinker ball, drops as it leaves the pitcher’s hand and heads for home plate.

46 Pigeons, e.g. : COOERS

Taxonomically, doves and pigeons are the only members of the order Columbidae. The terms “dove” and “pigeon” are often used interchangeably. Scientifically speaking, dove species tend to be smaller than pigeon species. Colloquially though, many refer to doves as the white or nearly white species in the family.

47 Furry “Star Wars” creatures : EWOKS

The Ewoks are creatures that live on the moon of Endor in the “Star Wars” universe. First appearing in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”, they’re the cute and cuddly little guys that look like teddy bears.

52 Candy shape : CANE

Apparently, candy canes were created at the behest of the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral in Germany in 1672. The sweet sticks were basically used as bribes to keep children quiet during services. The choirmaster specified that the candy sticks should have a crook at the top so that they reminded the children of the three shepherds who visited the infant Jesus just after his birth.

53 Killer whale : ORCA

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is “Orcinus orca”. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

55 Part of IPA : ALE

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.

56 Central banking syst., with “the” : FED

The Federal Reserve System is more usually known simply as “the Fed”, and is the central banking system of the US. It was introduced in 1913 in response to a number of financial panics at the beginning of the 20th century. The original role for the Fed was to act as a lender of last resort, in case there was a run on a bank. This can happen as most of the money that is deposited by customers in a bank is reinvested by that bank, so it has very little liquid cash available. If too many customers look for their money at one time, then the bank can be short of cash and this can start a “run”. The Fed’s responsibilities have broadened since those early days …

57 URL bit : DOT

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

59 Hitter’s stat : RBI

Run batted in (RBI)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Single-handed rebuke : SLAP
5 Shopping spot : MART
9 “Oh, dear” : AH ME
13 Won by __ : A HAIR
14 Lotion additive : ALOE
15 Wheel’s partner? : DEAL
16 Tan cousin : BEIGE
17 *Core exercise starting from a lateral lying position : SIDE PLANK
19 Gave the nod : OK’D
20 Aver : STATE
22 Rowing tool : OAR
23 Hung jury result, often : RETRIAL
25 With “The,” ’80s British rockers who gave their group “the most ordinary name” : … SMITHS
28 *Remote file-storage option : CLOUD BACKUP
31 Chit : IOU
32 Sargasso Sea spawner : EEL
33 “Baby back” morsel : RIB
34 Consider : DEEM
35 *”Balderdash!” : HORSEFEATHERS
39 Balloon demise sounds : POPS
40 La-la preceder : TRA-
41 Rapper __ Nas X : LIL
42 Java : JOE
43 *Hotel late-night meal source : ROOM SERVICE
48 Actress Meryl : STREEP
50 “Finally, it makes sense” : I SEE NOW
51 Director DuVernay : AVA
52 Page-bottom abbr. : CONT’D
54 “Yabba dabba __!” : DOO
55 At night … and where the starts of the answers to starred clues can go : AFTER DARK
58 Like eta and zeta : GREEK
60 Unwelcome look : LEER
61 Fairy tale opener : ONCE …
62 Car service choices : UBERS
63 Whirling current : EDDY
64 Sign of sadness, maybe : TEAR
65 Little drinks : NIPS

Down

1 Israeli coin : SHEKEL
2 Stopped the ship by facing the wind : LAID TO
3 Bailed-out insurance co. : AIG
4 Chairs a meeting : PRESIDES
5 Indian spice mix : MASALA
6 Landed : ALIT
7 Went by bike or horse : RODE
8 Start of a golf hole : TEE
9 ’50s candidate Stevenson : ADLAI
10 More robust : HEARTIER
11 Outdated collective noun : MAN
12 Antlered bugler : ELK
13 Multiple choice choices : A, B OR C
18 Elgar’s “__ and Circumstance Marches” : POMP
21 Place for card games : TABLETOP
24 Ones with regrets : RUERS
25 Hardest to spot : SUBTLEST
26 Garden tools : HOES
27 Bottom line : SUM
29 Whipped __ : CREAM
30 Sportage automaker : KIA
34 Probe (into) : DELVE
35 Real riot : HOOT
36 Performed surgery : OPERATED
37 To and __ : FRO
38 Mercenary : HIRED GUN
39 Nighties : PJS
43 Caboose’s place : REAR
44 Pitch that curves downward : SINKER
45 Dangerously involved : IN DEEP
46 Pigeons, e.g. : COOERS
47 Furry “Star Wars” creatures : EWOKS
49 __ so often: occasionally : EVERY
52 Candy shape : CANE
53 Killer whale : ORCA
55 Part of IPA : ALE
56 Central banking syst., with “the” : FED
57 URL bit : DOT
59 Hitter’s stat : RBI

20 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 Dec 20, Wednesday”

  1. Yes, this is Wednesday’s puzzle. How far in advance is this blog written? I’ve always wondered because in Bill’s explanations (in which he does a great job) he always omits current events. I’m guessing weeks in advance.

    Today’s puzzle not a problem. See ya Thursday!

  2. No errors. Puzzle was easy to solve, but I didn’t read clue 55 close
    enough to realize there was a theme.

    Hang in there everybody. Maybe better days are coming.

    1. “Man” was used to refer to human beings collective until the PC era came about and feminists became offended by it.

  3. No Googles.
    Had A nose before A HAIR.
    Didn’t know KIA, AIG, SINKER, MAN. Wish Bill would say more about MAN.
    @Eddie – Was ist los? Alles. Aber, ich weiss nicht, was soll es bedeuten…

  4. 11D.. me too.. what makes this an “outdated” collective noun…

    I actually forgot to do Tuesday, then I read the first two or three blogs here and thought I was in the twilight zone.. maybe Tuesday never happened or something..

  5. 21:42 no errors but my eraser got a good workout today…Ettu to slap, mall to mart, a nose to a hair, swear to state, Latin to Greek and sips to nips.
    Stay safe😀

  6. 5:50 no errors

    In “To Serve Man”, at first the reader/viewer is lead to believe that “man” can mean all humankind. But the punchline depends on shifting the meaning of “to serve.”

  7. Struggled a little bit with this one; took me 17:46 with on silly error. After doing the top with some gaps, I moved into the bottom part and gradually got that filled in. Then I returned to the NE corner and didn’t get the “all done.” A grid check revealed I’d put in OKs rather than the obvious OKD…sigh!

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