LA Times Crossword 26 Oct 21, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Daniel Sweren-Becker & Daniel Nussbaum
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Pen Names

Themed answers are PEN NAMES:

  • 58A What the answers to starred clues are, in different ways : PEN NAMES
  • 20A *Island known for its bars? : ALCATRAZ
  • 35A *Tom Sawyer’s creator : MARK TWAIN
  • 45A *Highest peak in the Alps : MONT BLANC

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

Bill’s time: 6m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Muppet who doesn’t use the pronoun “I” : ELMO

The “Sesame Street” character named Elmo has a birthday every February 3rd, and on that birthday he always turns 3½ years old. The man behind/under Elmo on “Sesame Street” for many years was Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.

20 *Island known for its bars? : ALCATRAZ

Alcatraz Island is located just a mile offshore from San Francisco in San Francisco Bay. Famously, it is home to an abandoned federal prison that operated from 1934 until 1963. Spanish naval officer Juan de Ayala entered San Francisco Bay in 1775, and charted the area. He named one of the islands in the bay “La Isla de los Alcatraces”, meaning “The Island of the Gannets”. Somehow, this “Alcatraces” evolved into “Alcatraz”, which is an archaic Spanish word meaning “pelican”.

“Pen” is a slang term for “penitentiary”. Back in the early 1400s, a penitentiary was a place to do “penance”, a place of punishment for offences against the church.

23 Homer’s neighbor : NED

Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer Simpson on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer, and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.

29 __ de plume : NOM

“Nom de plume” translates from French simply as “pen name”.

31 Polar masses : ICE CAPS

The polar ice cap at the north of our planet is floating pack ice in the Arctic Ocean. The southern polar ice cap is an ice sheet that covers the landmass known as Antarctica. About 70% of all the freshwater on Earth is held in the southern polar ice cap.

35 *Tom Sawyer’s creator : MARK TWAIN

Tom Sawyer is a favorite character created by Mark Twain. He turns up in four of Twain’s books:

  • “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”
  • “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
  • “Tom Sawyer Abroad”
  • “Tom Sawyer, Detective”

But that’s not all, as he appears in at least three works that Twain left unfinished:

  • “Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians” (a sequel to “Huckleberry Finn”)
  • “Schoolhouse Hill”
  • “Tom Sawyer’s Conspiracy” (a sequel to “Tom Sawyer, Detective”)

38 In a wistful way : SADLY

“Wistful” is a lovely word, I think, one that can mean “pensively sad, melancholy”.

39 Soft French cheese : BRIE

Brie is a soft cheese that is named for the French region in which it originated. Brie is similar to the equally famous (and delicious) Camembert. Brie is often served baked in puff pastry with fig jam.

40 Dunks, Blazers and Jordans : NIKES

Nike was founded in 1964 in Eugene, Oregon by entrepreneur Phil Knight and track-and-field coach Bill Bowerman as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS). BRS started out by distributing athletic shoes made in Japan. The company started making its own shoes in 1971 and changed its name to Nike, after the Greek goddess of victory.

42 Corned beef specification : LEAN

Corned beef is beef that has been cured with salt. “Corn” is an alternative term describing a grain of salt, giving the dish its name. Corned beef is also known as “salt beef”, and “bully beef” if stored in cans (from the French “bouilli” meaning “boiled”).

45 *Highest peak in the Alps : MONT BLANC

Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps. The name “Mont Blanc” translates from French into “white mountain”. The mountain lies on the border between France and Italy, and it has been generally accepted for decades that the summit lies within French territory. However, there have been official claims that the summit does in fact fall within the borders of Italy.

Montblanc is a manufacturer of luxury goods, notably high-end pens, that is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany.

47 Bureaucratic sticking points : RED TAPE

Back in the days of yore in England, official documents were bound in bundles with red ribbon. So, getting through all the paperwork required “cutting through the red tape”.

49 Sign of a sellout : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

50 __ Vegas : LAS

Back in the 1800s, the Las Vegas Valley was given its name from the extensive meadows (“las vegas” is Spanish for “the meadows”) present in the area courtesy of the artesian wells drilled by local farmers. Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1905, in the days when it was a stopping-off point for pioneers travelling west. It eventually became a railroad town, although with the coming of the railroad growth halted as travelers began to bypass Las Vegas. The city’s tourism industry took off in 1935 with the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam, which is still a popular attraction. Then gambling was legalized, and things really started to move. Vegas was picked, largely by celebrated figures in “the mob”, as a convenient location across the California/Nevada state line that could service the vast population of Los Angeles. As a result, Las Vegas is the most populous US city founded in the 20th century (Chicago is the most populous city founded in the 19th century, just in case you were wondering).

53 Not online, for short : IRL

In real life (IRL)

65 Indianapolis NFLer : COLT

The Indianapolis Colts professional football team has been in Indiana since 1984. The team traces its roots back to the Dayton Triangles, one of the founding members of the NFL created in 1913. The Dayton Triangles relocated and became the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1930, and then the Brooklyn Tigers in 1944. The team merged with the Boston Yanks in 1945, and then played in Boston. The Yanks were moved to New York in 1949, and then to Dallas in 1952 as the Dallas Texans. The Texan franchise moved to Baltimore in 1953, forming the Colts. The Colts made their last move in 1984, to Indianapolis. Whew!

66 Linguistic group that includes Zulu : BANTU

There are hundreds of Bantu languages, which are mainly spoken in central, east and southern Africa. The most commonly spoken Bantu language is Swahili, with Zulu coming in second.

Zulu is one of the many Bantu languages spoken in Africa. There are hundreds of Bantu languages, with most being spoken in central, east and southern Africa. The most commonly spoken Bantu language is Swahili, with Zulu coming in second.

Down

1 Peruvian capital : LIMA

Lima is the capital city of Peru. Lima was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who named it “la Ciudad de los Reyes” (the City of Kings). He chose this name because the decision to found the city was made on January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany that commemorates the visit of the three kings to Jesus in Bethlehem. Lima is home to the oldest university in all of the Americas, as San Marco University was founded in 1551 during the days of Spanish colonial rule.

3 Voting unit : BLOC

“Bloc” is the French word for “block”.

4 Family car : SEDAN

The American sedan car is the equivalent of the British and Irish saloon car. By definition, a sedan car has two rows of seating and a separate trunk (boot in Britain and Ireland), although in some models the engine can be at the rear of the car.

5 Remove, as the wall in Reagan’s demand to Gorbachev : TEAR DOWN

I think that most would agree that at least two memorable speeches have been delivered by an American president in Berlin, both during the Cold War. President John F. Kennedy delivered his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech on June 26, 1963:

Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis romanus sum [“I am a Roman citizen”]. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is “Ich bin ein Berliner!”… All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner!”

President Ronald Reagan delivered his “Tear down this wall” speech on June 12, 1987:

We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

6 Jazzy Fitzgerald : ELLA

Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

7 Tyra Banks portmanteau for happy peepers : SMIZE

To smize is to smile with the eyes. The term “smize” was coined by host Tyra Banks in 2009 on the reality show “America’s Next Top Model”.

9 Little ones : SPRITES

A sprite is an elfin or fairy-like creature of European myth. The term “sprite” comes from the Latin “spiritus” meaning “spirit”.

10 Obsolescent doctor visit : HOUSE CALL

Something described as obsolescent is going out of use, becoming obsolete.

11 Viking trading post now a world capital : 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.

The Vikings were a Germanic people from northern Europe who were noted as great seafarers. Key to the success of the Vikings was the design of their famous “longships”. Made from wood, the longship was long and narrow with a shallow hull, It was also light, so that the crew would actually carry it small distances over land and around obstacles. Longships were designed to be propelled by both sail and oars.

13 Boots the ball : ERRS

That would be baseball.

22 Little sucker? : VAC

The first practical portable vacuum cleaner was invented by James Spangler in 1907. Spangler sold the patent for the design to his cousin’s husband, William Henry Hoover. Hoover then made his fortune from manufacturing and selling vacuum cleaners. Hoover was so successful in my part of the world that back in Ireland we don’t use the verb “to vacuum” and instead say “to hoover”. Also, “hoover” is what we call a vacuum cleaner, regardless of who makes it.

26 “Waves of grain” color : AMBER

Here are some lines from the patriotic song “America the Beautiful”:

Oh beautiful, for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain

27 Slice the turkey : CARVE

The tradition of the US President “pardoning” a Thanksgiving turkey was only formalized in 1989, during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. The pardoned turkey is taken to a farm where it gets to live out its life. Prior to 1989, the tradition was more focused on the presentation of a turkey to the White House, and less on the fate of the bird. President Eisenhower was presented with a turkey in each year of his two terms, and he ate them all …

36 Campus setting for Neil Young’s “Ohio” : KENT STATE

Kent State University’s main campus is located in Kent, Ohio. Kent State will forever be associated with student activism and opposition to the Vietnam War in the late sixties and early seventies. The fateful day was May 4, 1970 when members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on students, killing four protesters and wounding nine.

“Ohio” is a protest song written by Neil Young soon after the shootings of unarmed students at Kent State University by members of the Ohio National Guard. The song was recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSNY) in 1970, just a few weeks after the terrible event.

37 When repeated, classic New Orleans refrain : IKO

“Iko Iko” is a song written in 1953 by Sugar Boy Crawford, using the title “Jock-A-Mo”. The Dixie Cups recorded a cover version in 1965, calling it “Iko Iko”. Crawford ended up suing the Dixie Cups as the 1965 song was recorded without reference to the 1953 original.

41 Like guitars and sitars : STRINGED

A kithara (also “cithara”) was a lyre-like instrument in ancient Greece. Our word “guitar” is ultimately derived from “kithara”. Indeed, “kithara” is the modern Greek word for “guitar”.

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.

48 ATM user’s need : PIN

One enters a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when using an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Given that the N in PIN stands for “number”, then “PIN number” is a redundant phrase. And, given that the M in ATM stands for “machine”, then “ATM machine” is a redundant phrase as well. Grr …!

52 Parsley piece : SPRIG

In Britain and Ireland, parsley is listed as one of the four essential herbs. And those would be “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”.

55 Bar bills : TABS

When we run a “tab” at a bar, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

57 Tree with cones : PINE

There are many species of pine tree (well over 100). The smallest is probably the Siberian dwarf pine, which usually grows to less than 10-feet tall. The tallest is the ponderosa pine, which regularly grows to over 200-feet tall.

The cones of conifers are the tree’s reproductive structures. There are both male and female cones. We are most familiar with woody cones, and these are the female structures that produce seeds. Male cones are softer and are not woody, and they produce pollen.

61 Cockney greeting : ‘ELLO

A Cockney is someone who, according to tradition, is born within the sound of Bow Bells in the center of London. The Cockney accent is usually considered “working class”. Cockney speakers often use a wonderful form of speech called rhyming slang. So, Cockney’s drink a lot of “Rosie Lea” (tea), and climb the “apples and pears” (stairs) using their “plates of meat” (feet). Cockneys also tend to “drop their aitches”, so “home” becomes “‘ome” and “horse” becomes “‘orse”.

62 Ragout or goulash : STEW

A ragout is a dish from French cuisine, and is a highly-seasoned stew of either meat or fish. The name “ragout” comes from the verb “ragouter”, “to revive the taste”. The Italian “ragù” is a term borrowed from the French that describes a meat-based sauce served with pasta.

Goulash is a soup or stew that is seasoned with spices, especially paprika. It is a national dish of Hungary, and the term “goulash” comes from the Hungarian word “gulyás”, which actually translates as “herdsman”. The original goulash was a meat dish prepared by herdsmen.

64 Half a Latin dance : CHA

The cha-cha-cha (often simplified to “cha-cha”) is a Latin dance with origins in Cuba, where it was introduced by composer Enrique Jorrin in 1953.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Conservatives’ foes, briefly : LIBS
5 Word with run or drive : TEST …
9 More than nudge : SHOVE
14 Inactive : IDLE
15 Muppet who doesn’t use the pronoun “I” : ELMO
16 One faking it : POSER
17 Frame of mind : MOOD
18 Landed : ALIT
19 Student’s measuring stick : RULER
20 *Island known for its bars? : ALCATRAZ
22 Windshield shades : VISORS
23 Homer’s neighbor : NED
24 Thrill : ELATE
26 Part of a play : ACT
29 __ de plume : NOM
31 Polar masses : ICE CAPS
35 *Tom Sawyer’s creator : MARK TWAIN
38 In a wistful way : SADLY
39 Soft French cheese : BRIE
40 Dunks, Blazers and Jordans : NIKES
42 Corned beef specification : LEAN
43 Happening : EVENT
45 *Highest peak in the Alps : MONT BLANC
47 Bureaucratic sticking points : RED TAPE
49 Sign of a sellout : SRO
50 __ Vegas : LAS
51 Slides uncontrollably : SKIDS
53 Not online, for short : IRL
55 Best of the hits : TOP TEN
58 What the answers to starred clues are, in different ways : PEN NAMES
63 Opera solos : ARIAS
64 Steep rugged cliff : CRAG
65 Indianapolis NFLer : COLT
66 Linguistic group that includes Zulu : BANTU
67 Bee home : HIVE
68 Green smoothie green, perhaps : KALE
69 Somnology study : SLEEP
70 Mellowed in a cask : AGED
71 Winter fall : SNOW

Down

1 Peruvian capital : LIMA
2 Adored singer, say : IDOL
3 Voting unit : BLOC
4 Family car : SEDAN
5 Remove, as the wall in Reagan’s demand to Gorbachev : TEAR DOWN
6 Jazzy Fitzgerald : ELLA
7 Tyra Banks portmanteau for happy peepers : SMIZE
8 Little one : TOT
9 Little ones : SPRITES
10 Obsolescent doctor visit : HOUSE CALL
11 Viking trading post now a world capital : OSLO
12 Zig or zag : VEER
13 Boots the ball : ERRS
21 Camper’s quarters : TENT
22 Little sucker? : VAC
25 Bedding : LINENS
26 “Waves of grain” color : AMBER
27 Slice the turkey : CARVE
28 True partner : TRIED
30 Badly injured : MAIMED
32 “It’s __!”: “Sold!” : A DEAL
33 Opening strategy : PLAN A
34 Lip-__: mouths the words : SYNCS
36 Campus setting for Neil Young’s “Ohio” : KENT STATE
37 When repeated, classic New Orleans refrain : IKO
41 Like guitars and sitars : STRINGED
44 Starts to learn, as a hobby : TAKES UP
46 Delivered : BORN
48 ATM user’s need : PIN
52 Parsley piece : SPRIG
54 Doesn’t have : LACKS
55 Bar bills : TABS
56 Spoken : ORAL
57 Tree with cones : PINE
59 House overhang : EAVE
60 Gripe : MOAN
61 Cockney greeting : ‘ELLO
62 Ragout or goulash : STEW
64 Half a Latin dance : CHA

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 26 Oct 21, Tuesday”

  1. No errors. Didn’t know SMIZE. wasn’t sure I knew IKO until I looked it up on utube. I heard the song.. but didn’t know they were saying IKO IKO…

  2. 5:46

    Fun theme.

    I ran across IKO IKO in another puzzle yesterday. And here I always thought it was spelled AIKO AIKO.

  3. 8:30 with no errors or lookups, and again with no changes. Kind of neat that the constructors put in the “nom de plume” clue (not identified as a theme clue) which translates to “pen name,” and is the puzzle’s theme.

    Thanks, @Bill, for the insights into Alcatraz, Bantu, and the Colts. I can’t imagine “hundreds” of mutually unintelligible languages ascribed to a single “category” on a single continent. For the Colts, I had known only the move from Baltimore to Indianapolis. Besides all the moves, a few previous names are now baseball teams – Dodgers, Tigers, Yank[ee]s. And they were the Texans, which got resurrected in Houston.

  4. No Googles, no errors.
    Had limE before Kiwi before KALE. I’d buy the first two.
    Didn’t actually know: SMIZE, IKO, IRL, and the sport’s two: COLTS, ERRS.
    Good theme.

  5. Not sure why the reference to New Orleans in the clue for IKO. If you listen to the lyrics, sounds like they’re about Jamica.

  6. 6:29 no lookups/errors.

    NIKES/IKO cost me a personal record time until I figured it out.

    Loved the theme, especially ALCATRAZ.

    Found it very easy for any DOW.

    Be Well.

  7. Slightly tricky for me; took 13:11 with no errors or peeks. Had to dance around a bit to figure out the NIKE/IKO intersection and finally just guessed. The VAC/VISOR intersection took an extra second as well. Theme helped a little although I got to the reveal and it just confirmed what I’d already filled.

    Liked the “Bee home” clue 🙂

    And, the Braves take the first game while having to play tee ball rules…impressive.

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