LA Times Crossword 12 Oct 21, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Alan Olschwang
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Tailspins

Themed answers each include the circled-letter sequence T-A-I-L, but with the order SPUN, changed:

  • 66A Dramatic descents, and a hint to each set of circles : TAILSPINS
  • 17A Crude carrier : OIL TANKER
  • 31A Gem set by itself : SOLITAIRE
  • 46A It’s useless to argue with one : KNOW-IT-ALL
  • 9D Good thing to spend with one’s kids : QUALITY TIME
  • 25D “Rebel Without a Cause” co-star : NATALIE WOOD

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

Bill’s time: 6m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Bag-checking org. : TSA

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

9 Juice buy : QUART

Two pints make up a quart, which is a “quarter” of a gallon, hence the name.

14 Spreads used instead of butter : OLEOS

Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France announced a competition to develop a substitute for butter, a substitute that would be more accessible to the lower classes and more practical for the armed forces. A French chemist called Hippolyte Mege-Mouries came up with something he called oleomargarine in 1869, which was eventually manufactured under the trade name “margarine”. The name “oleomargarine” also gives us our generic term “oleo”.

15 Bar passer, briefly : ATT

Attorney (att.)

19 De La Garza of “FBI” : ALANA

Alana De La Garza is an actress from Columbus, Ohio. De La Garza is perhaps best known for her recurring role as Connie Rubirosa on television’s “Law & Order”.

The TV crime drama “FBI” premiered in 2018, and centers on the FBI office in New York City. Star of the show is Canadian actress Missy Peregrym, who plays FBI special agent Maggie Bell.

21 Like a stunt pilot’s maneuvers : AERIAL

Spectacular flying feats, usually involving rolls and dives, are described as aerobatics. “Aerobatics” is a portmanteau of “aerial” and “acrobatics”.

28 “Inferno” poet : DANTE

Dante Alighieri (usually just “Dante”) was an Italian poet of the Middle Ages. Dante’s “Divine Comedy” is widely considered to be the greatest literary work ever written in the Italian language. Dante actually gave his masterpiece the title “Comedy” (“Commedia” in Italian). Written in the early 1300s, none of Dante’s original “Comedy” manuscripts survive. Three copies made by author and poet Giovanni Boccaccio in the 1360s do survive. Boccaccio changed the title to “Divine Comedy” (“Divina Commedia”), and that title persists to this day.

The opening lines of Dante’s “Inferno” are:

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.

These lines translate as:

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

30 Tour de France saison : ETE

In French, “été” (summer) is “la saison chaude” (the warm season).

Back in the late 1800s, long-distance cycle races were used as promotional events, traditionally to help boost sales of newspapers. These races usually took place around tracks, but in 1902 the backers of the struggling sports publication “L’Auto” decided to stage a race that would take the competitors all around France. That first Tour de France took place in 1903, starting in Paris and passing through Lyon, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Nantes and then back to Paris.

35 “She loves you” followers, in song : YEAHS

The Beatles song “She Loves You” was released in 1963. It was one of five songs that together achieved an amazing feat in the US charts. At one point that year, those five songs were in the top five positions. The top five songs were:

  1. “Can’t Buy Me Love”
  2. “Twist and Shout”
  3. “She Loves You”
  4. “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
  5. “Please Please Me”

Further down the charts, and still in the top 100, were seven more Beatles songs.

39 What may be before now? : ERE …

Ere now, before now.

40 Old nuclear agcy. : AEC

The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was set up right after WWII in 1946, with the aim of promoting the peaceful use of atomic energy. Establishing the AEC was a significant move made by President Truman, as it passed control of atomic energy from the military to the civilian sector. The AEC continued to operate until 1974 when its functions were divided up into two new agencies: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Energy Research and Development Administration (NRDA). The NRDA was merged with the Federal Energy Administration in 1977 to form the Department of Energy.

41 Chicago winter hrs. : CST

Central Standard Time (CST)

43 Statesman with an eponymous jacket : MAO

What we call the Mao suit in the west is known as the Zhongshan suit in China. The style was introduced by Sun Yat-sen (also known as Sun Zhongshan) as the form of national dress after the founding of the Republic of China in 1912.

An eponym is a name for something derived from the name of a person, as in the food item we call a “sandwich”, named after the Earl of Sandwich.

51 “Speed Racer” genre : ANIME

“Speed Racer” (also called “Mach GoGoGo”) is a Japanese media franchise about car racing.

Anime is cartoon animation in the style of Japanese manga comic books.

56 Serena’s sister : VENUS

Venus Williams is the older of the two Williams sisters playing professional tennis. In 2002, Williams became the first African-American woman to earn the World No. 1 ranking by the Women’s Tennis Association in the Open Era.

Serena Williams is the younger of the two Williams sisters playing professional tennis. Serena has won more prize money in her career than any other female athlete.

64 Kaka’ako crooner : DON HO

Singer and entertainer Don Ho apparently had a pretty liberal arrangement with his wife. When Ho was touring with his two backing singers, Patti Swallie and Elizabeth Guevara, all three of them shared a room together. He had two children with each of his roommates, giving a total of ten kids, including the six he had with his wife. The arrangement was quite open, it seems, with all ten kids visiting each other regularly. To each his own …

Kakaʻako is a neighborhood in Honolulu, Hawaii. Today, it is a commercial and retail district. It is also where singer and entertainer Don Ho was born in 1930.

68 Prenatal test, informally : AMNIO

Amniocentesis (“amnio” for short) is the prenatal test which involves the removal of a small amount of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus using a hypodermic needle. The fluid naturally contains some fetal cells, the DNA of which can then be tested to determine the sex of the child and to check for the presence of genetic abnormalities.

69 Circus closing? : ESS

The closing letter of the word circus is a letter S (ess).

70 Pigeon shelters : COTES

The Old English word “cote” was used for a small house. Our modern word “cottage” comes from “cote”. We now use “cote” to describe a small shelter on a farm for sheep or birds.

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.

71 Like starfish : RAYED

Starfish (sometimes known as “sea stars”) come in many shapes and sizes, but commonly have “pentaradial symmetry”, meaning they have symmetrical body-shapes with five points. Most starfish are predators, mainly living on a diet of mollusks such as clams and oysters.

73 It’s quite a blast : H-TEST

The first successful detonation of a hydrogen bomb (H-bomb) was in a test (H-test) codenamed “Ivy Mike”. The test was conducted by the US on an atoll in the Pacific Ocean named Enewetak.

Down

2 Hodgepodges : OLIOS

“Olio” is a term meaning “hodgepodge, mixture” that comes from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish “olla”, the clay pot used for cooking.

“Hochepot” is an Old French word for stew or soup, and this gave rise to an Anglo-French legal term for a collection of property that was gathered prior to being divided up. This became our “hodgepodge” in the early 1400s.

3 Bit of antiquity : RELIC

A relic is something that has survived from the past, reminding us of that past.

5 U.S. ID issuer : SSA

Social Security Administration (SSA)

8 Skylit courts : ATRIA

In modern architecture, an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

10 Internet acronym : URL

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a uniform resource locator (URL).

11 “Ditto” : AS AM I

The word “ditto” was originally used in Italian (from Tuscan dialect) to avoid repetition of the names of months in a series of dates. So, “ditto” is just another wonderful import from that lovely land …

13 Lachrymose : TEARY

“Lachrymose” means “teary”, from the Latin “lacrima”, the word for “tear”.

18 Swaying hip-hop dance : NAE NAE

The Nae Nae is a hip hop dance that is named for the 2013 song “Drop that NaeNae” recorded by We Are Toon. The main move in the dance involves swaying with one hand in the air and one hand down, with both feet firmly planted on the dancefloor. Go on, do it. You know you want to …

25 “Rebel Without a Cause” co-star : NATALIE WOOD

Actress Natalie Wood was born in San Francisco to Russian immigrant parents, her real name being Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko. Wood performed in many great films over her relatively short career. She played a leading role in “Miracle on 34th Street” when she was just 8-years-old, and in “Rebel Without a Cause” when she was a teenager. There followed hits like “West Side Story”, “Gypsy” and “Splendor in the Grass”. Famously, Wood was married to Robert Wagner, twice. Wagner and Wood were on a weekend boat trip to Santa Catalina Island when she drowned in 1981. The death was deemed an accident after an investigation. However, in 2011 the boat’s captain revealed that he had lied during that investigation and claimed that Wood died as the result of a fight with Wagner. Wood’s death certificate was amended as a result, with a statement that how Wood entered the water was not clearly established.

“Rebel Without a Cause” is a 1955 drama movie starring actor James Dean, who died just before the film’s release. The title comes from a 1944 book by psychiatrist Robert M. Lindner “Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath”, although the content of the book has no bearing on the movie’s storyline. The three lead actors in the movie all died tragically, and while relatively young:

  • James Dean (24), in a car crash in 1955
  • Sal Mineo (37), in a stabbing in 1976
  • Natalie Wood (43), in a drowning in 1981

27 Sign of success : VEE

One has to be careful making that V-sign depending where you are in the world. Where I came from, the V-for-victory (or peace) sign has to be made with the palm facing outwards. If the sign is made with the palm facing inwards, it can be interpreted as a very obscene gesture.

32 Yossarian’s “Catch-22” tentmate : ORR

In Joseph Heller’s novel “Catch 22”, Orr has no other name, just “Orr”.

Captain John Yossarian is the protagonist in Joseph Heller’s novel “Catch 22”. Yossarian’s story is based on the author’s own experiences when stationed in Italy during World War II.

“Catch-22” is a novel by Joseph Heller set during WWII. The title refers to absurd bureaucratic constraints that soldiers had to suffer. Heller’s “Catch 22” was invoked by an army psychiatrist to explain that any pilot requesting to be evaluated for insanity, to avoid flying dangerous missions, had to be sane as only a sane man would try to get out of such missions. The term “catch-22” has entered the language and describes a paradoxical situation from which one can’t escape due to contradictory rules; one loses, no matter what choice one makes.

33 Island garland : LEI

“Lei” is a Hawaiian word meaning “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

34 Janet Yellen’s field: Abbr. : ECON

Economist Janet Yellen was appointed Chair of the Federal Reserve in 2014 by President Obama. When her appointment was confirmed by the US Senate, Yellen became the first woman to hold the position. In the Biden administration, Yellen became the first woman to hold the post of Secretary of the Treasury.

36 Physicians’ org. : AMA

The list of American Medical Association (AMA) past-presidents includes William James Mayo (1906-07) and Charles Horace Mayo (1917-18). William and Charles were brothers, and were two founders of the famous Mayo Clinic located in Rochester, Minnesota.

37 Scary “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”.

38 Fifth of a musical series : SOL

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

47 ’70s tennis star Ilie : NASTASE

I think that Ilie Nastase was the most entertaining tennis player of the 1970s, the days of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. No matter how much pressure there was in a match, Nastase always had time to share a joke with the crowd. After retiring from the sport, he had a few novels published (in French) during the eighties. Then Nastase went into politics, making an unsuccessful run for the mayorship of Bucharest in 1996. He made a successful run for the Romanian Senate though, and was elected senator in 2014.

48 Two fins : TEN-SPOT

The US five-dollar bill is often called an “Abe”, as President Abraham Lincoln’s portrait is on the front. An Abe is also referred to as a “fin”, a term that has been used for a five-pound note in Britain since 1868.

50 Gen-__ : XER

The term “Generation X” originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By one definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

52 Aromatic closet-lining wood : CEDAR

Cedar is used for the manufacture of some wardrobes and chests as it has long been believed that the fragrant oil in the wood is a moth-repellent. However, whether or not cedar oil is actually effective at keeping moths away seems to be in doubt.

53 Barbecue draw : AROMA

It is believed that our word “barbecue” (BBQ) comes from the Taíno people of the Caribbean in whose language “barbacoa” means “sacred fire pit”.

55 Fertilizer compound : NITER

The chemical name for saltpeter (also “saltpetre, niter, nitre”) is potassium nitrate. The exact origin of the name “saltpeter” isn’t clear, but it may have come from the Latin “sal petrae” meaning “stone salt”. The main use for potassium nitrate is as a fertilizer, a source of potassium and nitrogen. As it is a powerful oxidizing agent, it is also used in amateur rocket propellants. Anyone who has ignited one of those “engines” would have noticed the lilac-colored flame, indicating the presence of potassium.

58 Angle calculations : SINES

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio: a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are cosecant, secant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

67 BYU or NYU : SCH

School (sch.)

Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah has about 34.000 students on campus making it the largest religious university in the country. The school was founded in 1875 by Brigham Young, then President of the Mormon Church.

New York University (NYU) comprises fifteen schools, one of which is the Tisch School of the Arts. The Tisch is famous for its acting program, with notable alumni such as Debra Messing, Christopher Guest and Josh Radnor.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Crosses by wading : FORDS
6 Bag-checking org. : TSA
9 Juice buy : QUART
14 Spreads used instead of butter : OLEOS
15 Bar passer, briefly : ATT
16 Latin bears : URSAE
17 Crude carrier : OIL TANKER
19 De La Garza of “FBI” : ALANA
20 “Stop stalling!” : DO IT!
21 Like a stunt pilot’s maneuvers : AERIAL
23 Disfigure : MAR
24 Part of an act : SCENE
26 Notable biblical birth : NATIVITY
28 “Inferno” poet : DANTE
30 Tour de France saison : ETE
31 Gem set by itself : SOLITAIRE
35 “She loves you” followers, in song : YEAHS
39 What may be before now? : ERE …
40 Old nuclear agcy. : AEC
41 Chicago winter hrs. : CST
43 Statesman with an eponymous jacket : MAO
44 Court case : TRIAL
46 It’s useless to argue with one : KNOW-IT-ALL
49 Predicament : FIX
51 “Speed Racer” genre : ANIME
52 Hikers’ flasks : CANTEENS
56 Serena’s sister : VENUS
59 Time to remember : ERA
60 Twist in pain : WRITHE
62 Barbershop sound : SNIP
64 Kaka’ako crooner : DON HO
66 Dramatic descents, and a hint to each set of circles : TAILSPINS
68 Prenatal test, informally : AMNIO
69 Circus closing? : ESS
70 Pigeon shelters : COTES
71 Like starfish : RAYED
72 Legal thing : RES
73 It’s quite a blast : H-TEST

Down

1 __ chain : FOOD
2 Hodgepodges : OLIOS
3 Bit of antiquity : RELIC
4 Punctuational symbol of completeness : DOTTED I
5 U.S. ID issuer : SSA
6 Word before heart or heed : TAKE …
7 Less lax : STERNER
8 Skylit courts : ATRIA
9 Good thing to spend with one’s kids : QUALITY TIME
10 Internet acronym : URL
11 “Ditto” : AS AM I
12 Approached aggressively : RAN AT
13 Lachrymose : TEARY
18 Swaying hip-hop dance : NAE NAE
22 Downed : ATE
25 “Rebel Without a Cause” co-star : NATALIE WOOD
27 Sign of success : VEE
29 Clock sound : TICK
31 Collector’s goal : SET
32 Yossarian’s “Catch-22” tentmate : ORR
33 Island garland : LEI
34 Janet Yellen’s field: Abbr. : ECON
36 Physicians’ org. : AMA
37 Scary “2001” computer : HAL
38 Fifth of a musical series : SOL
42 Desk chair feature : SWIVEL
45 Admiral’s rear : AFT
47 ’70s tennis star Ilie : NASTASE
48 Two fins : TEN-SPOT
50 Gen-__ : XER
52 Aromatic closet-lining wood : CEDAR
53 Barbecue draw : AROMA
54 Child minder : NANNY
55 Fertilizer compound : NITER
57 Act in concert : UNITE
58 Angle calculations : SINES
61 Escaping-steam sound : HISS
63 Verbal nudge : PSST!
65 Step on it, quaintly : HIE
67 BYU or NYU : SCH

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Oct 21, Tuesday”

  1. No errors….
    In regards to 40A… OSHA is child’s play compared to NRC compliance. Had the privilege of working in that environment for over 10 years at a nuclear power plant. It’s a tough working environment where EVERY action is scrutinized under a litany of rules. It takes its toll. The stakes are higher…

    1. @Anon Mike – “It’s a tough working environment where EVERY action is scrutinized under a litany of rules.” But that documentary I saw (I believe it was called “The Simpsons”) doesn’t comport at all with that characterization. ;-D>

      No errors but I thought for a Tuesday this was a little on the tricky side.

  2. No errors, no lookups…which was sort of surprising to me because
    at first glance, it seemed like it was going to be beyond me. Lots
    of answers I wasn’t sure about, but the ones I knew helped with
    the good guesses.

    Because of upcoming surgery, I will probably be away from this
    blog for quite some time. Have at it, everybody!

  3. 15:39 with 2 errors as a result of just plain laziness (not checking my answers)
    Stay safe😀
    I know most of you have no interest in football but if you didn’t watch the Ravens and The Colts last night you missed a great game.

  4. 11:02

    I saw the mixed up TAILs, but first thought of wagging tails and tails held high.

    “Ditto” has a lot of ways to express agreement in five letters. I went through METOO -> ASDOI ->ASAMI.

    1. Hi Pat. Bill writes up interesting factoids about a lot of the answers, but not all of them. He figures we are all smart enough to Google if we really need to know. Res is a Latin word meaning “thing” and is frequently found in use in the law as seen in these examples:
      Res ipsa loquitur (The thing speaks for itself)
      Res judicata (A matter [already] judged)

  5. 9 minutes, 55 sec, and DNF, with 4 fills in the NE quadrant unfilled. Figures: one’s a proper name, one’s based in latin, and one depends on incredibly esoteric language as a clue (“Lachrymose”? REALLY? On a Tuesday??). Not a good way for a streak to end.

    1. @Allen Dickerson – I feel for you, didn’t realize that you had extended your streak to 8!

      I’m fighting to reach 4 … and not this week, for sure.

      Be Well.

  6. Slightly tricky Tuesday for me; took 12:08 with no errors or peeks. I noticed the theme as I was solving and it helped a little. Vaguely heard of ALANA, I think from here in the crosswords some time back, and I almost put in URSAs but held back on the “s” for the cross. Remembered NAE NAE from a few days back (??), so that helped.

    Slowed down a little while trying to solve through tears as my (not so) Mighty Giants fell to our pesky southern neighbors. Time to shake it off and put on a show to remember on Thursday!!

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