LA Times Crossword 9 Jan 21, Saturday

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Constructed by: Wayne Bergman & Gary Otting
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 12m 24s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “Friends” catchphrase : HOW YOU DOIN’?

Actor Matt LeBlanc became famous playing Joey Tribbiani in the sitcom “Friends”, and extended that role into a less successful spinoff show “Joey”. For my money, LeBlanc’s best performances are playing a fictionalized version of himself in the excellent sitcom “Episodes” that ran from 2011 to 2017. In all three of the aforementioned series, we hear LeBlanc uttering his trademark pickup line “How you doin’?”

When the incredibly successful sitcom “Friends” was in development it was given the working title “Insomnia Cafe”. This was changed to “Friends Like Us”, before finally going to air as “Friends”.

11 Auctioned wheels : REPO

Repossession (repo)

16 European capital with more than 340 lakes : OSLO

The Norwegian capital of Oslo is located at the northern end of a fjord known as Oslofjord. The fjord is home to 40 islands that lie within the city’s limits. Oslo also has 343 lakes.

18 Convertible option : T-TOP

A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the vehicle above the driver.

19 City downriver from Las Cruces : EL PASO

Although there have been human settlements in the El Paso area for thousands of years, the first European settlement was founded in 1659 by the Spanish. That first community was on the south bank of the Rio Grande, and was called El Paso del Norte (the North Pass). Most of the urban development under Spanish rule took place on the south side of the river, with El Paso del Norte acting as the center of governance for the Spanish for the territory of New Mexico. The Rio Grande was chosen as the border between Mexico and the US in 1848, so most of the city of El Paso del Norte became part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua (and is now called Ciudad Juárez ). The area north of the river developed as a US military post, eventually becoming the modern city of El Paso, Texas.

Las Cruces (Spanish for “the crosses”) is the second largest city in the state of New Mexico, and is the home of New Mexico State University.

22 Ctrl + I, in much software: Abbr. : ITAL

Italic type leans to the right, and is often used to provide emphasis in text. The style is known as “italic” because the stylized calligraphic form of writing originated in Italy, probably in the Vatican.

24 Draft pick : STOUT

The term “stout” was first used for a type of beer in the 1600s when it was used to describe a “strong, stout” brew, and not necessarily a dark beer as it is today.

When visiting Britain and Ireland, that “draught” beer on the menu is what we call a “draft” beer here in the US.

32 Cruise controls : HELMS

In its broadest sense, the term “helm” describes the whole of a ship’s steering mechanism, including the rudder and tiller. In a more specific sense, the helm is the handle, tiller or wheel that is used to control the steering gear.

33 Piece maker? : REESE

Reese’s Pieces are an extension to the successful Peanut Butter Cups line. They are pieces of candy that look like M&Ms, but are filled with peanut butter.

35 Vietnamese soup : PHO

Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a noodle soup from Vietnam that is a popular street food.

36 Hawkish god : 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.

The dove is a symbol of peace, and the hawk is a symbol of war.

37 Light refractor : PRISM

When light passes through a prism, it splits up (disperses) into differing wavelengths. It then becomes clear that white light is actually a mixture of different colors, which show up as a beautiful spectrum.

A beam of light can change direction when passing from one medium into another. This change of direction is known as refraction.

39 Show passes, informally : TIX

Tickets (tix)

40 Secret meeting : TRYST

In the most general sense, a tryst is a meeting at an agreed time and place. More usually we consider a tryst to be a pre-arranged meeting between lovers. The term comes from the Old French “triste”, a waiting place designated when hunting. Further, a tryst taking place at lunchtime is sometimes referred to as a nooner.

42 Living room piece : SETTEE

“Settee” is another word for “couch”. The term comes from the Old English “setl”, which was a long bench with a high back and arms.

46 19th-century English novelist Charles : READE

Charles Reade was an English author who came to public attention with a two-act comedy play called “Masks and Faces”. Reade turned the play into a prose story in 1852 that he called “Peg Woffington”. Reade also wrote a historical novel called “The Cloister and the Hearth” about a married man who becomes a Dominican friar on hearing that his wife has died. Years later he discovers that his wife is in fact still living and a struggle develops between the man’s obligation to family and his obligation to the Roman Catholic Church.

48 __ Jim : SLIM

A slim jim is a thin strip of spring steel that is used to open car doors without using a key and without picking the lock. Instead, the slim jim bypasses the lock and manipulates the levers and rods that operate the door.

52 Dyson alternatives : ORECKS

The Oreck Corporation is named after founder David Oreck and makes vacuum cleaners and air purifiers. The company started out selling vacuum cleaners by mail, a new concept in 1963. David Oreck himself appears regularly as a spokesman in the company’s ads and infomercials.

Dyson vacuum cleaners do not use a bag to collect dust. James Dyson invented the first vacuum cleaner to use cyclonic separation in 1979, frustrated at the poor performance of his regular vacuum cleaner. As Dyson cleaners do not use bags, they don’t have to deal with collection bags that are blocked with fine dust particles, even after emptying. Cyclonic separation uses high speed spinning of the dust-containing air so that the dust particles are thrown out of the airflow into a collection bin. We have a Dyson now, and should have bought it years ago …

56 Beginning to call? : ROBO-

Robocalls; why can’t they be stopped, why not, why not …?

62 Relative of a fidget spinner : STRESS BALL

A fidget spinner is a toy that supposedly can be used for stress relief. Sales of fidget spinners really took off in 2017, although versions of the toy existed back in the early nineties.

Down

2 Only unanimous Cy Young Award winner between Dwight and Randy : OREL

Orel Hershiser is big into poker now that he has retired from Major League Baseball. Hershiser lives in Las Vegas and when he isn’t working for ESPN, apparently he is at the poker tables, playing professionally. When Hershiser is eliminated in a poker tournament, he is in the habit of presenting the person who ousts him with an autographed baseball.

Cy Young was a pitcher in the major leagues from 1890-1911. Young is remembered for pitching the first perfect game of baseball’s modern era. Soon after he died in 1955, the Cy Young Award was created and is presented to the best pitcher in each baseball season.

4 “Always in motion is the future” and others : YODAISMS

In the “Star Wars” series of films, the character named Yoda has a unique speech pattern. He often uses the word order object-subject-verb. For example:

  • Patience you must have …
  • Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.
  • To answer power with power, the Jedi way this is not.

5 Electra’s brother : ORESTES

Orestes is a character appearing in Greek mythology, and is the subject of several Ancient Greek plays. In a story by Homer, Orestes kills his mother Clytemnestra. He does so in revenge as Clytemnestra killed Agamemnon, who was her husband and father to Orestes. Agamemnon was killed by his wife for sacrificing his daughter Iphigenia in order to get favorable winds on a sea voyage. Heavy stuff …

Electra was a princess in Greek mythology, the daughter of Agamemnon. Electra had to mourn the death of her father who was murdered, and then the death of her mother Clytemnestra, who was also murdered.

6 Hullabaloo : UPROAR

Our word “hullabaloo”, meaning “commotion”, is a derivative of an older term “hollo-ballo”. “Hollo-ballo” was a word used for an uproar in the north of England and Scotland.

7 Oz and Howser: Abbr. : DRS

Mehmet Oz is a cardiothoracic surgeon, and a TV personality known simply as “Dr. Oz”. Oz appeared as a health expert for several seasons on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. Now he has his own “The Dr. Oz Show” on radio and television that is backed by Winfrey’s Harpo Productions.

“Doogie Howser, M.D.” is the TV show that gave Neil Patrick Harris his big break. Harris played a teenager who worked as a physician.

9 JFK and LBJ, e.g. : INITS

President John F. Kennedy was often referred to by his initials JFK, the F standing for Fitzgerald, his mother’s maiden name. The president’s brother Robert F. Kennedy was also referred to using his initials, RFK, with the F standing for his middle name Francis.

Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) was born in Stonewall, Texas to Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. and Rebekah Baines.

10 Relative priority in hiring : NEPOTISM

Nepotism is the practice of giving relatives preferential treatment. The term originated during the Middle Ages with favoritism shown by Roman Catholic bishops and popes. The ministers of the church had taken vows of chastity, and some gave prefered positions to their nephews, as they didn’t have sons of their own to favor. The term “nepotism” derives from the Latin “nepos” meaning “nephew”.

11 Some moonshine : ROTGUT

The illegal distilled spirits known as moonshine can also be referred to as white lightning, mountain dew and hooch.

21 Corn bread : PONE

“Pone” is another name for corn bread, and comes from the Powhatan term “apan” meaning “something baked”.

23 Jerry’s “Seinfeld” co-creator : LARRY

Larry David was one of the creators of the sitcom “Seinfeld”, and was a co-writer of many of the episodes. David also stars in the HBO comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, which has a very “Seinfeld” feel to it.

Jerry Seinfeld is a standup comedian and comic actor from Brooklyn, New York. Jerry is most famous for playing the lead in the “Seinfeld” sitcom from 1989 to 1998. “Seinfeld” was good for Jerry, earning him $267 million in 1998 alone, and making him the highest-paid celebrity that year.

25 “__ So Raven”: 2000s sitcom : THAT’S

“That’s So Raven” is a sitcom starring actress and singer Raven-Symoné as Raven Baxter, a San Francisco teenager with psychic abilities. The show was broadcast on the Disney Channel, and is remarkable in that it was the channel’s first series to produce 100 episodes.

26 Like meeting one’s doppelgänger, probably : EERIE

A doppelgänger is a ghostly double of a living person. The literal translation of the German word “Doppelgänger” is double (Doppel) walker (Gänger).

27 “I’m curious about everything–even things that don’t interest me” speaker : ALEX TREBEK

Alex Trebek was the host of “Jeopardy!” from the launch of the syndicated version of the game show in 1984 until his passing in 2020. Trebek missed just one episode during that time, when he and host of “Wheel of Fortune” Pat Sajak swapped roles in 1997 as an April Fool’s joke. In 2014, Trebek picked up the Guinness World Record for hosting the most episodes of a game show.

28 Belief in a hands-off god : DEISM

Deism (from the Latin “deus” meaning god) is the belief that a supreme being created the universe, a belief based on observation and reason and without the need for faith. Further, a deist does not accept divine intervention and rather believes that the supreme being, having created the universe, leaves the world to its own devices.

30 __ Island : RHODE

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the union, and is the second-most densely populated. (after New Jersey). Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State (and more informally “Little Rhody”), largely because about 14% of the state’s area is made up of ocean bays and inlets. Exactly how Rhode Island got its name is a little unclear. What is known is that way back in 1524, long before the Pilgrims came to New England, the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano likened an island in the area to the Island of Rhodes in the Mediterranean. There were subsequent references to “Rhode Island” in English publications, before the colonists arrived.

34 “¿Cómo __?” : ESTAS

“Cómo estas?” is Spanish for “how are you?”

38 Forensic analysis site : CRIME LAB

Something described as forensic is connected with a court of law, or with public discussion or debate. The term comes from the Latin “forensis” meaning “of a forum, of a place of assembly”. We mainly use the word today to mean “pertaining to legal trials” as in “forensic medicine” and “forensic science”.

40 Berlin Wall Speech word : TEAR

Starting in 1952, the border between East And West Germany was strictly controlled with the help of fences and walls running over 850 miles from the Baltic Sea to Czechoslovakia. There was a big “gap” in the restrictive barrier, in the divided city of Berlin. Regulations controlling movement between East and West in the city were very lax for most of the fifties (you could take a subway train “under” the border, for example). As a result, Berlin became a gateway for emigration, almost exclusively from East to West. In August 1961, under orders from Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow, East Germany closed the border in Berlin and construction started on the fortified wall.

43 Wyoming range : TETONS

Grand Teton National Park (NP) is located just south of Yellowstone NP, and a must-see if you are visiting the latter. The park is named after the tallest peak in the magnificent Teton Range known as Grand Teton. The origins of the name “Teton” is not very clear, although my one story is that it was named by French trappers, as the word “tetons” in French is a slang term meaning “breasts”.

45 “Jurassic Park” dinosaurs, e.g. : CLONES

“Jurassic Park” is a 1990 novel by Michael Crichton that was adapted into a hugely successful movie by Steven Spielberg in 1993. One of the main premises of the novel is that dinosaur DNA could be harvested from mosquitoes trapped in amber (fossilized tree resin), the DNA coming from the dinosaur blood consumed by the mosquitoes. The dinosaur DNA is then sequenced and used to create clones of the original beasts. Apparently, that’s a clever idea, but not very practical …

47 Brilliance : ECLAT

“Éclat” can describe a brilliant show of success, as well as the applause or accolade that one receives for that success. The word “éclat” derives from the French “éclater” meaning “to splinter, burst out”.

49 Snack manufactured in 18 countries : OREO

The Oreo cookie was introduced in 1912. The Oreo was intended to be a competitor to the very similar Hydrox cookie which had debuted four years earlier. The Oreo won the resulting battle on the grocery store shelves …

50 Super star : NOVA

A nova (plural “novae”) is basically a star that suddenly gets much brighter, gradually returning to its original state weeks or even years later. The increased brightness of a nova is due to increased nuclear activity causing the star to pick up extra hydrogen from a neighboring celestial body. A supernova is very different from a nova. A supernova is a very bright burst of light and energy created when most of the material in a star explodes. The bright burst of a supernova is very short-lived compared to the sustained brightness of a nova.

51 Broadway’s Walter __ Theatre : KERR

Walter Kerr was a Broadway theater critic for the “New York Herald Tribune” and the “New York Times”. Together with his wife Jean, Kerr also wrote the Tony-winning musical “Goldilocks”, which premiered in 1958. There is a relatively small Walter Kerr Theatre in Broadway that opened in 1921 as the Ritz Theatre. It was refurbished and reopened under its current name in 1990.

53 “Flashdance… What a Feeling” singer : CARA

Irene Cara co-wrote and sang the Oscar-winning song “Flashdance…What a Feeling” from the 1983 movie “Flashdance”. Cara also sang the title song for the 1980 movie “Fame”, and indeed played the lead role of student Coco Hernandez.

54 “Hooked on Classics” co. : K-TEL

K-Tel was founded in 1962 in Winnipeg, Manitoba by one Philip Kives. K-Tel’s recipe for success was the sale of inexpensive goods with a simple sales pitch and mail-order distribution.

I know that a lot of people detested the “Hooked on Classics” albums, but to be honest, I found them to be a lot of fun. But then again, I like disco! The original “Hooked on Classics” album was recorded in 1981 by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from London. The music was a selection of recognizable extracts from the world of classical music played over a continuous disco beat.

55 Navy __ : SEAL

“SEAL” is an acronym used by the US Navy’s SEa, Air and Land teams. The SEALs were born out of the Navy’s special warfare groups from WWII, like the Underwater Demolition Teams and the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons. The Navy SEAL unit was established soon after President Kennedy’s famous speech in which he announced the plan to put a man on the moon, as in the same speech the president allocated $100m of funding to strengthen special operations forces. The Navy used some of this money to set up guerrilla and counter-guerrilla units, which soon became the SEALs.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Friends” catchphrase : HOW YOU DOIN’?
11 Auctioned wheels : REPO
15 Far from perfect : ERROR-PRONE
16 European capital with more than 340 lakes : OSLO
17 Newspaper audience : READERSHIP
18 Convertible option : T-TOP
19 City downriver from Las Cruces : EL PASO
20 Temporary fixes : STOPGAPS
22 Ctrl + I, in much software: Abbr. : ITAL
24 Draft pick : STOUT
25 Early product promotion with few details : TEASER AD
29 Summer hire, perhaps : INTERN
32 Cruise controls : HELMS
33 Piece maker? : REESE
35 Vietnamese soup : PHO
36 Hawkish god : ARES
37 Light refractor : PRISM
38 Coagulate : CLOT
39 Show passes, informally : TIX
40 Secret meeting : TRYST
41 Vocation : TRADE
42 Living room piece : SETTEE
44 Factory equipment : MACHINES
46 19th-century English novelist Charles : READE
48 __ Jim : SLIM
49 Like a “pony” with limited skills : ONE-TRICK
52 Dyson alternatives : ORECKS
56 Beginning to call? : ROBO-
57 One may be part of a fresh start : CLEAN SLATE
59 Knotted up, scorewise : EVEN
60 Campaign focus : TARGET AREA
61 Sources of furniture wood : OAKS
62 Relative of a fidget spinner : STRESS BALL

Down

1 Present : HERE
2 Only unanimous Cy Young Award winner between Dwight and Randy : OREL
3 Finish (up) : WRAP
4 “Always in motion is the future” and others : YODAISMS
5 Electra’s brother : ORESTES
6 Hullabaloo : UPROAR
7 Oz and Howser: Abbr. : DRS
8 Sounds heard at an unveiling : OOHS
9 JFK and LBJ, e.g. : INITS
10 Relative priority in hiring : NEPOTISM
11 Some moonshine : ROTGUT
12 One may include large gifts : ESTATE PLAN
13 Ripple preceder : PLOP
14 Cry over spilt milk : OOPS!
21 Corn bread : PONE
23 Jerry’s “Seinfeld” co-creator : LARRY
25 “__ So Raven”: 2000s sitcom : THAT’S
26 Like meeting one’s doppelgänger, probably : EERIE
27 “I’m curious about everything–even things that don’t interest me” speaker : ALEX TREBEK
28 Belief in a hands-off god : DEISM
30 __ Island : RHODE
31 Observes : NOTES
34 “¿Cómo __?” : ESTAS
37 Forecasts : PREDICTS
38 Forensic analysis site : CRIME LAB
40 Berlin Wall Speech word : TEAR
41 Ardent desires : THIRSTS
43 Wyoming range : TETONS
45 “Jurassic Park” dinosaurs, e.g. : CLONES
47 Brilliance : ECLAT
49 Snack manufactured in 18 countries : OREO
50 Super star : NOVA
51 Broadway’s Walter __ Theatre : KERR
53 “Flashdance… What a Feeling” singer : CARA
54 “Hooked on Classics” co. : K-TEL
55 Navy __ : SEAL
58 Mature : AGE

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 Jan 21, Saturday”

  1. Easier than fridays. No errors.. was hung up on SHOW PASSES for awhile until ALEX TREBEK emerged.. nice nod to Alex.

    1. Indeed, Mike, especially since his last episode aired last night. There’s a natural crossover between crosswords and Jeopardy, I suppose. One of the contestants this week mentioned how crosswords help her know some Jeopardy questions. RIP.

  2. LAT: About 20 minutes without error. This one just flowed easily, top to bottom. Maybe the easiest Saturday puzzle for me in the many years I’ve been doing LATs. Or, unlikely, maybe I’m improving.

  3. 14:50, no errors, no write-overs, no complaints. A comfortable solve that I very much appreciated after flailing my way through a Newsday puzzle that I simply didn’t approach in the right frame of mind. (It’s interesting to me how often the apparent difficulty of a puzzle can be determined by things having nothing to do with the puzzle itself … 😳.)

  4. Like the comments above I found this puzzle very doable. I enjoyed the Alex Trebek quote which I had never heard before.

  5. 35:06 with one error…I spelled Alex as Alec and its one of my favorite shows…Alex will be missed…I understand that Ken Jennings will be the next host (temporary I hope)…I quit watching for a while when he was the long running champion…sometimes I would watch the first ten minutes or so and it would be a runaway already…no fun.
    In my paper 34D appears as CMO instead of COMO …it’s bad enough to have all the foreign clues but then to misspell them too?
    Stay safe.😀
    Go Ravens 🙏

  6. 16 minutes, 6 seconds, no errors. After yesterday’s utter outrage, I wasn’t sure what to expect!!!

  7. Couldn’t finish. Way too hard for me. My mind (such as it is) just doesn’t sync with these constructors.

  8. Pretty easy Saturday for me; took me 22:25 on-line with no errors or peeks. This puzzle was right in my wheelhouse apparently, even if I didn’t know a bunch of stuff, the crosses always came to the rescue.

    Stay safe everyone…

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