LA Times Crossword 6 Jan 21, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Jerry Edelstein
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Call Letters

Themed answers each include the LETTER sequence “C-A-L-L”, but the order has been changed:

  • 61A Station identifiers, and a hint to each set of circles : CALL LETTERS
  • 17A Soda debut of 2002 : VANILLA COKE
  • 23A “Ain’t Misbehavin'” Tony and Emmy winner : NELL CARTER
  • 38A Security guard Paul Blart, in a 2009 film title : MALL COP
  • 50A Judge’s research aide : LEGAL CLERK

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

Bill’s time: 6m 23s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Capital of Morocco : RABAT

Rabat is the capital city of the Kingdom of Morocco. After WWII, the United States maintained a major Air Force Base in Rabat, part of Strategic Air Command (SAC). Responding to pressure from the Moroccan government of King Mohammed V, the USAF pulled out in 1963.

6 Green military symbol : BERET

The US Army Special Forces are known as the Green Berets because they wear … green berets. The Green Beret is also worn by the Royal Marines of the British Army. When US Army Rangers and OSS operatives were trained by the Royal Marines in Scotland during WWII, graduates of the gruelling training program were awarded green berets by their British instructors. The US soldiers, although proud of their new headgear, were not allowed to wear it as part of their uniform. They had to wait until 1961, when President Kennedy authorized the green beret for exclusive use by US Special Forces.

15 Napoleon on St. Helena, e.g. : EXILE

The island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic is one of the most remote islands in the world. It was discovered by Galician explorer João da Nova, who was sailing under the Portuguese flag. He named the island after Helena of Constantinople, mother of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. Famously, the British opted to exile Napoleon on Saint Helena soon after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The former French emperor died on the island in 1821.

16 Squeeze bunt stat : RBI

Run batted in (RBI)

In baseball, a squeeze play (also “squeeze bunt”) is one in which a batter bunts the ball expecting to be thrown out at first, but gives a runner at third base a chance to score. In a safety squeeze the runner at third waits to see where the bunt is going before heading for home. In a suicide squeeze, the runner heads home as soon as the pitcher throws the ball.

17 Soda debut of 2002 : VANILLA COKE

Coca-Cola Vanilla was introduced in 2002, as a competitor to Pepsi Vanilla. The basic Coca-Cola formulation already contains some vanilla. The idea behind a “vanilla Coke” has been around at least since the 1940s. Back then customers would often ask for “a shot” of vanilla syrup in the coke they were served from the soda fountain.

20 Cadillac’s answer to the Navigator : ESCALADE

The Escalade is a full-size SUV that Cadillac introduced in 1999. The word “escalade” describes the act of scaling defensive walls with ladders during a siege.

The Lincoln Navigator SUV is basically a spruced-up Ford Expedition.

21 Table input : DATA

Our word “data” (singular “datum”) comes from the Latin “datum” meaning “given”. The idea is that data are “things given”.

23 “Ain’t Misbehavin'” Tony and Emmy winner : NELL CARTER

Nell Carter was a singer and actress from Birmingham, Alabama. Carter won a Tony for her performance on Broadway in “Ain’t Misbehavin’”. She also starred in the TV sitcom “Gimme a Break!” in the 1980s.

“Ain’t Misbehavin’” is a song written in 1929 by Fats Waller and Harry Brooks, with lyrics by Andy Razaf. Waller was the first to record the song, quickly followed by six other artists that same year. The song also provided the title for a successful stage musical that premiered in 1978.

30 Harry Potter nemesis Malfoy : DRACO

Draco Malfoy is one of the regular “bad guys” in the “Harry Potter” stories. Malfoy is one of Potter’s fellow students, the one who sneers a lot. Draco’s father is Lucius Malfoy, a character who becomes more and more relevant as the storyline in the series of books progresses.

Nemesis was a Greek goddess, the goddess of retribution. Her role was to make pay those individuals who were either haughty or arrogant. In modern parlance, one’s nemesis (plural “nemeses”) is one’s sworn enemy, often someone who is the exact opposite in character but someone who still shares some important characteristics. A nemesis is often someone one cannot seem to beat in competition.

38 Security guard Paul Blart, in a 2009 film title : MALL COP

“Paul Blart: Mall Cop” is a 2009 comedy movie starring Kevin James in the title role. The critics panned this one, but the audiences loved it enough for the studio to fund a sequel that was released in 2015.

42 Holiday tuber : YAM

Although in the US we sometimes refer to sweet potatoes as “yams”, the yam is actually a completely different family of plants. True yams are more common in other parts of the world than they are in this country, and are especially common in Africa.

44 Mork’s leader on Ork : ORSON

“Mork & Mindy” is a sitcom that originally aired from 1978 to 1982. The title characters were played by Robin Williams and Pam Dawber. Mork is an alien from the planet Ork who reports back to his superior called Orson. Orson is played by voice actor Ralph James. Ralph James was also known for providing the voice of Mr. Turtle in famous Tootsie Pop commercials in the seventies. Nanu nanu!

46 1943 penny metal : STEEL

The original one-cent coin was introduced in the US in 1793 and was made of 100% copper, giving rise to the nickname “copper” for a 1-cent coin. The composition varied over time, and was 100% bronze up to the 1940s. During WWII there was a shortage of copper to make bronze, so the US Mint switched to zinc-coated steel for production of one-cent coins in 1943. The “steelie” is the only coin ever issued by the US mint that can be picked up by a magnet. Today’s one-cent coin consists mainly of zinc.

53 West Point, briefly : USMA

West Point is a military reservation in New York State, located north of New York City. West Point was first occupied by the Continental Army way back in 1778, making it the longest, continually-occupied military post in the country. Cadet training has taken place at the garrison since 1794, although Congress funding for a US Military Academy (USMA) didn’t start until 1802. The first female cadets were admitted to West Point in 1976, and as of 2018, about 15% of all new cadets were women.

58 “Her résumé is clean and checks out” : NO ISSUES

A résumé is a summary of a person’s job experience and education and is used as a tool by a job seeker. In many countries, a résumé is equivalent to a curriculum vitae. “Résumé” is the French word for “summary”.

60 Off-road transp. : ATV

All-terrain vehicle (ATV)

65 Tatum of “Paper Moon” : O’NEAL

Tatum O’Neal is the youngest actress to win a competitive Oscar. She won the Best Supporting Actress Award in 1974 when she was just 10 years old, for her role as Addie in “Paper Moon”. The youngest person to win an honorary Academy Award was Shirley Temple, who was only 5 years old when she was presented with an Oscar in 1934.

“Paper Moon” is a 1973 comedy film that tells the story of a father and daughter during the Great Depression. The onscreen father and daughter are played by real-life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. The original choices for the lead roles were Paul Newman and his daughter Nell Potts, but they left the project after director John Huston also dropped out.

67 Road crew’s supply : TAR

The terms “tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call “tarmac”.

69 “Golden Boy” author Clifford : ODETS

“Golden Boy” is a play written by Clifford Odets that was first performed in 1937 on Broadway. There was a film adaptation released in 1939 that starred a young William Holden. “Golden Boy” was the film that launched Holden’s career.

Down

3 Place to save in Sevilla : BANCO

The city of Seville (“Sevilla” in Spanish) is the capital of Andalusia in southern Spain. Seville is a favored setting for many operas including “The Barber of Seville” by Rossini, “Fidelio” by Beethoven and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and “The Marriage of Figaro”.

4 Like some elephants : ASIATIC

There are only three species of elephant living today, with all others being extinct. These are the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant (or “Indian elephant”). As is well known, the African elephant is distinguished from the Asian/Indian elephant by its much larger ears. The African bush elephant is the largest living land animal.

8 Spain’s Ebro, por ejemplo : RIO

The Ebro is the longest river in Spain. The river was known by the Romans as the Iber, and it is the “Iber” river that gives the “Iberian” Peninsula its name.

9 Lodge member : ELK

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) was founded in 1868, and is a social club that has about a million members today. It started out as a group of men getting together in a “club” in order to get around the legal opening hours of taverns in New York City. The club took on a new role as it started to look out for poor families of members who passed away. The club now accepts African Americans as members (since the seventies) and women (since the nineties), but atheists still aren’t welcome. The list of US presidents that have been members of the BPOE includes Presidents Eisenhower, Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Ford.

13 Indian strings : SITAR

The sitar has been around since the Middle Ages. It is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking, and is used most often in Hindustani classical music. In the West we have been exposed to the instrument largely through the performances of Ravi Shankar and some music by George Harrison of the Beatles, a onetime student of Shankar.

18 HOV __ : LANE

In some parts of the country, one sees high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. Out here in California we refer to them as carpool lanes.

21 “The Chronic” Dr. : DRE

“The Chronic” is a 1992 studio album by hip hop artist Dr. Dre. The title is a slang term for high-grade cannabis.

24 Secular : LAIC

Anything described as laic (or “laical, lay”) is related to the laity, those members of the church who are not clergy. The term “laic” ultimately comes from the Greek “laikos” meaning “of the people”.

25 Role for Liz : CLEO

The 1963 movie “Cleopatra” really is an epic work. It was the highest grossing film of the year, taking in $26 million dollars at the box office, yet it still lost money. The original budget for the film was just $2 million, but so many things went wrong the final cost swelled to a staggering $44 million dollars, making it the second most expensive movie ever made (taking into account inflation). Elizabeth Taylor was supposed to earn a record amount of $1 million for the film, and ended up earning seven times that amount due to delays. But she paid dearly, as she became seriously ill during shooting and had to have an emergency tracheotomy to save her life. The scar in her throat can actually be seen in some of the shots in the film.

Elizabeth Taylor led what can only be described as a “fabulous” life, especially while married to Richard Burton. Ms. Taylor was very fond of jewelry and she had a few spectacular pieces that were purchased for her by Burton, including the Krupp Diamond, the Taylor-Burton Diamond, and the La Peregrina Pearl. The latter was once owned by Mary I, Queen of England. Burton sought out and found a portrait of the Queen wearing the pearl. He purchased it for his wife, but on discovering that the British National Gallery did not have an original portrait of Queen Mary I, the couple donated the painting. Good for them …

26 Apple earbud : AIRPOD

AirPods are Apple’s line of bluetooth earpods. When AirPods were introduced in 2016, the market reacted with some skepticism. The left and right AirPods are not connected by any wire, so there was concern that individual earbuds could fall out of the ear, and possibly get lost. Another concern is Apple’s stated intent to abandon the wired headphone socket on new iPhone models.

30 Labor __ : DAY

Labor Day is a federal holiday observed every year on the first Monday in September. The tradition of honoring workers with a holiday started in Boston in 1878, when a day of observance was organized by the Central Labor Union, the major trade union at the time. There was a bloody dispute in 1894 between labor unions and the railroads called the Pullman Strike, which led to the death of some workers when the US Military and US Marshals were instructed to maintain order. President Grover Cleveland submitted a “Labor Day” bill to Congress which was signed into law just six days after the end of the strike. The introduction of a federal holiday to honor the worker was a move designed to promote reconciliation between management and unions after the bitter conflict.

31 Narrow waterway : RIA

A drowned valley might be called a ria or a fjord, and both are formed as sea levels rise. A ria is a drowned valley created by river erosion, and a fjord is a drowned valley created by glaciation.

36 Big __ : BEN

“Big Ben” is the name commonly used for the large bell in the Clock Tower (“Elizabeth Tower” since 2012) of the Palace of Westminster (aka “Houses of Parliament”). Big Ben’s official name is the Great Bell, and there is some debate about the origins of the nickname. It may be named after Sir Benjamin Hall who supervised the bell’s installation, or perhaps the English heavyweight champion of the day Benjamin Caunt. Big Ben fell silent in 2017 to make way for four years of maintenance and repair work to the clock’s mechanism and the tower.

39 d’Urberville rake murdered by Tess : ALEC

In Thomas Hardy’s novel “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”, the heroine and title character is Tess Durbeyfield. Her father is an uneducated peasant and when he hears that his name is a corruption of the noble name of “D’Urberville”, the news goes to his head.

A “rake” (short for “rakehell”) is a man who is habituated to immoral conduct (isn’t it always the man??!!). The rake is a character who turns up frequently in novels and films, only interested in wine, women and song and not accepting the responsibilities of life. Good examples would be Wickham in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and Daniel Cleaver (the Hugh Grant part) in the movie “Bridget Jones’s Diary”. “Rake” comes from the Old Norse “reikall”, meaning “vagrant or a wanderer”.

47 Ankle art, often : TAT

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are sometimes referred to as “ink”.

48 Internet troublemakers : TROLLS

In Internet terms, a troll is someone who attempts to disrupt online group activities. The fishing term “troll” is used to describe such a person as he or she throws out off-topic remarks in an attempt to “lure” others into some emotional response. I must admit to feeling sorry for people who have such sad lives …

49 “The Grapes of Wrath” character : OKIE

“Okies” is a derogatory term used during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s for farming families who migrated from Oklahoma (hence the name), Arkansas, Kansas and Texas in search of agricultural jobs in California. The road used by many of these migrant families was Route 66, which is also called “Mother Road”.

John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” is set during the Great Depression. The novel tells the story of the Joad family from Oklahoma, farmers who had to leave their home and head for California due to economic hardship.

52 Zhou who hosted Nixon : ENLAI

Zhou Enlai (also “Chou En-lai”) was the first government leader of the People’s Republic of China and held the office of Premier from 1949 until he died in 1976. Zhou Enlai ran the government for Communist Party Leader Mao Zedong, often striking a more conciliatory tone with the West than that of his boss. He was instrumental, for example, in setting up President Nixon’s famous visit to China in 1972. Zhou Enlai died just a few months before Mao Zedong, with both deaths leading to unrest and a dramatic change in political direction for the country.

59 Space City ALer : ‘STRO

The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.

The city of Houston, Texas was named for General Sam Houston, who served as President of the Republic of Texas and then as Governor after Texas was annexed as a US state in 1845. As the city is home to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston was officially given the nickname “Space City” in 1967.

62 “SNL” alum Gasteyer : ANA

Ana Gasteyer is an actress best known for being a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) from 1996 to 2002. Gasteyer was famous on SNL for playing Martha Stewart … topless!

63 Evil Luthor : LEX

Lex Luthor is the nemesis of Superman in comics. Luthor has been portrayed in a number of guises in the comic world as well in movies and on the small screen. For example, he appeared as Atom Man in the 1950 film series “Atom Man vs. Superman”, and was played by actor Lyle Talbot, opposite Kirk Alyn’s Superman.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Capital of Morocco : RABAT
6 Green military symbol : BERET
11 Energy one might run out of : GAS
14 Humiliate : ABASE
15 Napoleon on St. Helena, e.g. : EXILE
16 Squeeze bunt stat : RBI
17 Soda debut of 2002 : VANILLA COKE
19 Consume : EAT
20 Cadillac’s answer to the Navigator : ESCALADE
21 Table input : DATA
22 Useless, now : SHOT
23 “Ain’t Misbehavin'” Tony and Emmy winner : NELL CARTER
27 Froze, with “up” : ICED …
29 Foreign : ALIEN
30 Harry Potter nemesis Malfoy : DRACO
33 Fishing spot : PIER
34 Wane : EBB
37 Feel bad : AIL
38 Security guard Paul Blart, in a 2009 film title : MALL COP
41 Anguish : WOE
42 Holiday tuber : YAM
43 Stratagem : PLOY
44 Mork’s leader on Ork : ORSON
46 1943 penny metal : STEEL
48 Fuss : TO-DO
50 Judge’s research aide : LEGAL CLERK
53 West Point, briefly : USMA
57 Way out : EXIT
58 “Her résumé is clean and checks out” : NO ISSUES
60 Off-road transp. : ATV
61 Station identifiers, and a hint to each set of circles : CALL LETTERS
64 Historic start? : PRE-
65 Tatum of “Paper Moon” : O’NEAL
66 Send payment : REMIT
67 Road crew’s supply : TAR
68 Rolls to the runway : TAXIS
69 “Golden Boy” author Clifford : ODETS

Down

1 Cast-pleasing reviews : RAVES
2 Disconcert : ABASH
3 Place to save in Sevilla : BANCO
4 Like some elephants : ASIATIC
5 Relate : TELL
6 Adorned with tiny spheres : BEADED
7 Get all A’s : EXCEL
8 Spain’s Ebro, por ejemplo : RIO
9 Lodge member : ELK
10 Top with a slogan : TEE
11 “That’s wonderful to hear!” : GREAT NEWS!
12 Wane : ABATE
13 Indian strings : SITAR
18 HOV __ : LANE
21 “The Chronic” Dr. : DRE
24 Secular : LAIC
25 Role for Liz : CLEO
26 Apple earbud : AIRPOD
28 Force : COMPEL
30 Labor __ : DAY
31 Narrow waterway : RIA
32 Charitable sort : ALMSGIVER
33 Perform diligently : PLY
35 Sound meant to startle : BOO!
36 Big __ : BEN
39 d’Urberville rake murdered by Tess : ALEC
40 Laze about : LOLL
45 Forced out of bed : ROUSTED
47 Ankle art, often : TAT
48 Internet troublemakers : TROLLS
49 “The Grapes of Wrath” character : OKIE
50 Jumped : LEAPT
51 Face in the crowd, in film : EXTRA
52 Zhou who hosted Nixon : ENLAI
54 “See if I care!” : SUE ME!
55 Be worthy of : MERIT
56 Aides: Abbr. : ASSTS
59 Space City ALer : ‘STRO
61 Foldable bed : COT
62 “SNL” alum Gasteyer : ANA
63 Evil Luthor : LEX

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 6 Jan 21, Wednesday”

  1. No errors.. Mr Edelstein happened to work ABASE , ABATE and ABASH all in one puzzle. The proverbial “ABA-” trio and you’re never really sure which one goes where depending on the cluing.

    1. I noticed two of the three, but didn’t know they were probverbial.
      Also the puzzle had both RIO and RIA.

      7:19 no errors

  2. No errors, but I had “coerce” instead of “compel” for awhile
    and after I corrected it, everything came together. No lookups
    for a change.

  3. Got me on “secular” which is specifically non-religious in most uses today so as a reference to the non-ordained in a religion (laity – laic) was very misleading 🙂

  4. 18:03 and I had big BOY for Big Ben and being lazy I didn’t pick up the error until now (same old me).
    Stay safe 😀
    Go Ravens 🙏

  5. 8:46, no errors, but I’m here to promote a book: “The Liar’s Dictionary”, by one Eley Williams. Mind you, I haven’t read it (in fact, I just ordered a copy as a result of a review in the New York Times), but it looks like a book for any word lover to love … 😜

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