LA Times Crossword 1 Nov 21, Monday

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Constructed by: Susan Gelfand
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Seesaws

We can SEE a kind of SAW at the start of each themed answer:

  • 39A Vacillates … or what you can do when you look at the starts of the answers to starred clues? : SEESAWS
  • 17A *Trendy terms : BUZZWORDS (giving “buzz saw”)
  • 60A *Popular cause to jump on : BANDWAGON (giving “bandsaw”)
  • 11D *Mall anchors : CHAIN STORES (giving “chainsaw”)
  • 25D *Game with paddles : TABLE TENNIS (giving “table saw”)

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

Bill’s time: 4m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Kid around with : JOSH

When the verb “to josh”, meaning “to kid”, was coined in the 1840s as an American slang term, it was written with a capital J. It is likely that the term somehow comes from the proper name “Joshua”, but no one seems to remember why.

5 Wind with two reeds : OBOE

The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”.

9 Young fellow, in Ireland : BUCKO

The word “bucko” describes a male who is swaggering and domineering. The term originated in the 1880s as nautical slang, with the same meaning. We use “bucko” in a more friendly way in Ireland, usually to describe a male youth.

16 Rapper Ice Cube’s first name : O’SHEA

Rapper Ice Cube’s real name is O’Shea Jackson. Since the year 2000, Ice Cube has gradually moved away from rap music and focuses more on acting. The 2015 movie “Straight Outta Compton” tells the story of the gangsta rap group N.W.A., of which Ice Cube was a member. Ice Cube co-produced the film, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. played his real-life Dad on screen.

17 *Trendy terms : BUZZWORDS (giving “buzz saw”)

There is a suggestion that “buzzword”, meaning trendy and important-sounding term, originated as slang in Harvard to describe a keyword, perhaps in a lecture.

“Buzz saw” is a term sometimes used for a circular saw, especially one in a sawmill that is dedicated to making crosscuts (cuts across the grain) in cordwood.

19 Cardinals and Orioles : TEAMS

The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the “Brown Stockings”, changing their name to the “Perfectos” in 1899. That obviously didn’t go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.

The Baltimore Orioles (also the O’s, the Birds) are one of the eight charter teams of MLB’s American League, so the franchise dates back to 1901. Prior to 1901, the team had roots in the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, and indeed entered the American League as the Brewers. In 1902 the Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns. The team didn’t fare well in St. Louis, so when it finally relocated to Baltimore in the early fifties the team changed its name completely, to the Baltimore Orioles. The owners so badly wanted a fresh start that they traded 17 old Browns players with the New York Yankees. The trade didn’t help the team’s performance on the field in those early days, but it did help distance the new team from its past.

28 College courtyard : QUAD

A university often features a central quadrangle (quad).

29 Guerrilla Guevara : CHE

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to “see the world” by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara’s memoir later published as “The Motorcycle Diaries”. While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara’s death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

Guerrilla (sometimes “guerilla”) warfare is a type of fighting engaged in by irregular forces using ambushes and sabotage. The term “guerra” is Spanish for war, and “guerrilla” translates as “little war”.

34 “(Marie’s the Name) __ Latest Flame”: Elvis hit : HIS

“(Marie’s the Name”) His Latest Flame” is a hit song recorded by Elvis Presley in 1961. The song had been released earlier in the same year by Del Shannon, but Presley’s was the version that had real success in the charts.

35 Dutch beer brand : AMSTEL

Amstel is a Dutch beer and brewery that was founded in 1870 in Amsterdam. The brewery takes its name from the Amstel river that runs through the city.

38 Silent communication syst. : ASL

It’s really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one cannot understand someone signing in the other.

39 Vacillates … or what you can do when you look at the starts of the answers to starred clues? : SEESAWS

“To vacillate” is to be indecisive, to waver. The term comes from the Latin “vacillare” meaning “to sway to and fro”.

42 Eyed lecherously : LEERED

The word “lecher”, meaning “one who debauches”, came into English in the 12th century. The original word in Old French was “lecheor”, literally “licker”.

44 Rose of Guns N’ Roses : AXL

Axl Rose is the lead vocalist of the American rock band Guns N’ Roses.

45 Not kosher : TREF

According to Jewish dietary laws, kosher food is fit to eat, and food that is not fit to eat is referred to as treif (or “tref”). The usage of “kosher” has extended to include anything considered legitimate.

49 Mongoose family member : MEERKAT

The meerkat (also called “suricate”) is a mongoose-like mammal that is native to parts of Africa including the Kalahari and Namib Deserts

The mongoose has no relationship with the “goose” as such, as “mongoose” is derived from “mangus”, an Indian name for the beast. The mongoose does indeed eat snakes as part of its diet, along with other small creatures. However, it usually avoids the dangerous cobra, although humans have used the mongoose to fight cobras for sport and entertainment. The mongoose fares well against poisonous snakes because it is agile and wily, and has a thick skin, literally.

53 Luxury hotel : OMNI

Omni Hotels & Resorts is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and has properties in the US, Canada and Mexico.

54 Ketchup-and-mayo dressing : RUSSIAN

Russian dressing isn’t Russian at all, and rather is an American creation. The main ingredients are mayonnaise and ketchup. Russian dressing is the sandwich spread used in a Reuben sandwich.

58 Title film cousin : VINNY

“My Cousin Vinny” is a really fun film from 1992 starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. In 2008, the American Bar Association rated “My Cousin Vinny” as the #3 greatest legal movie of all time, after “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “12 Angry Men”!

60 *Popular cause to jump on : BANDWAGON (giving “bandsaw”)

“Bandwagon” is an American term originally used to describe the large wagon that carried the band in a circus procession. Bandwagons then became popular at political rallies, and so someone “on the bandwagon” was someone attaching himself or herself to a cause that was likely to succeed. The first use of the term “bandwagon” in this sense is supposedly in the writings of Theodore Roosevelt in 1899.

A bandsaw has a blade that forms a “band”, a continuous loop that rotates around a pair of wheels positioned one above the other.

64 Formal “Just me” : IT IS I

The much debated statement “it is I” is grammatically correct, and should not be “corrected” to “it is me”. Traditionally, pronouns following linking verbs, such as “is”, “appear” and “seem”, are written in the nominative case. Examples are:

  • It is I … who called
  • It was he … who did it
  • It is we … who care

65 Lake with the same first and last letter : ERIE

Lake Erie is the fourth-largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake-effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.

67 German steel city : ESSEN

Essen is a large industrial city located on the River Ruhr in western Germany. The city experienced major population growth in the mid-1800s that was driven by the iron works established by the Krupp family.

68 Pro __: in proportion : RATA

“Pro rata” is a Latin phrase meaning “in proportion”.

Down

2 Christian sch. in Tulsa : ORU

Oral Roberts University (ORU) is a private school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ORU was founded relatively recently, in 1963 by the late televangelist Oral Roberts. The campus includes a Prayer Tower at its center, a spectacular glass and steel structure designed by architect Frank Wallace. The tower includes an observation deck, and is a popular tourist attraction. The school’s sports teams are known as the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.

5 Skunk’s defense : ODOR

Skunks have anal scent glands that can be used as defensive weapons. The glands produce sulfur-containing chemicals that have a really awful smell and that can irritate the eyes and skin.

8 Divisions for the Yanks and Mets : EASTS

The New York Yankees are in the American League East, and the New York Mets are in the National League East.

9 Automated spam sender : BOT

A bot is a computer program designed to imitate human behavior. It might crawl around the Web doing searches for example, or it might participate in discussions in chat rooms by giving pre-programmed responses. It might also act as a competitor in a computer game.

The term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

11 *Mall anchors : CHAIN STORES (giving “chainsaw”)

A chainsaw is a saw with teeth attached to a chain that rotates around a guide bar. It is a portable power saw, and is often used in felling and pruning trees.

12 Well-groomed : KEMPT

The word “unkempt” means “disheveled, not well-combed”. It derives from the Old English word “cemban” meaning “to comb”. The opposite to the more common “unkempt” is … “kempt”.

13 Desert havens : OASES

An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake. We often use the term “oasis” more generally to describe a haven, a place of rest.

23 Math sign : EQUAL

The equals sign (=) was the 1557 creation of a Welsh physician and mathematician Robert Recorde. Recorde proposed the use of two parallel lines to indicate equality “because no 2 things can be more equal.”

25 *Game with paddles : TABLE TENNIS (giving “table saw”)

Ping-Pong is called table tennis in the UK, where the sport originated in the 1880s. Table tennis started as an after-dinner activity among the elite, and was called “wiff-waff”. To play the game, books were stacked in the center of a table as a “net”, two more books served as “”rackets” and the ball used was actually a golf ball. The game evolved over time with the rackets being upgraded to the lids of cigar boxes and the ball becoming a champagne cork (how snooty is that?). Eventually the game was produced commercially, and the sound of the ball hitting the racket was deemed to be a “ping” and a “pong”, giving the sport its alternative name. The name “Ping-Pong” was trademarked in Britain in 1901, and eventually sold to Parker Brothers in the US.

A table saw comprises a circular saw blade mounted vertically below a table. The edge of the blade protrudes through a slot in the table. Wood (usually) is supported by the table as it is cut by the blade.

27 CD-__: data holders : ROMS

“CD-ROM” stands for “compact disc read only memory”. The name indicates that you can read information from the disc (like a standard music CD for example), but you cannot write to it. You can also buy a CD-RW, which stands for “compact disc – rewritable”, with which you can read data and also write over it multiple times using a suitable CD drive.

29 Cracker cheese : CHEDDAR

Cheddar cheese takes its name from the English village of Cheddar in Somerset. Over 50% of the cheese sold in the UK is cheddar. Here in the US, cheddar is the second-most popular cheese sold, behind mozzarella.

31 Op-ed piece, e.g. : ESSAY

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

37 Southpaw : LEFTY

A southpaw is left-handed. The term “southpaw” arose as baseball slang in the mid-1880s to describe a left-handed pitcher. Back then, baseball diamonds were often laid out with home plate to the west. So, a pitcher’s left hand would be on his “south” side as he faced the batter.

45 Tidal wave cousin : TSUNAMI

Even though the terms “tidal wave” and “tsunami” are often used interchangeably by the lay person, scientists use the terms to describe two related but different phenomena. A tsunami is an ocean wave triggered by the large displacement of water caused by a large earthquake (usually). A tidal wave is a wave triggered by the displacement of water under the gravitational influence of the Sun, Moon and Earth.

55 __ Lee: dessert brand : SARA

In 1935, businessman Charles Lubin bought a chain of three bakeries in Chicago called Community Bake Shops, and soon expanded the operation into seven stores. Lubin introduced a cream cheesecake that he named after his daughter who was only 8-years-old at the time, Sara Lee Lubin. The cheesecake was a hit and he renamed the bakeries to Kitchen of Sara Lee. The business was bought out by Consolidated Foods in 1956, but the brand name Sara Lee persists to this day, as does Ms. Sara Lee herself who now goes by the name Sara Lee Schupf.

56 Sulky state : SNIT

The exact etymology of “snit”, meaning “fit of temper”, isn’t really known. The term was first used in print in the play “Kiss the Boys Goodbye” by Clare Boothe Luce, which dates back to the 1930s and is set in the American South.

59 Yang’s partner : YIN

The yin and yang can be illustrated using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

61 Wander (about) : GAD

To gad about is to move around with little purpose. The word “gad” comes from the Middle English “gadden” meaning “to hurry”.

62 Kitchen tool brand : OXO

The OXO line of kitchen utensils and housewares is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average household tools. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn’t have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Kid around with : JOSH
5 Wind with two reeds : OBOE
9 Young fellow, in Ireland : BUCKO
14 Square footage, say : AREA
15 Mama’s mate : DADA
16 Rapper Ice Cube’s first name : O’SHEA
17 *Trendy terms : BUZZWORDS (giving “buzz saw”)
19 Cardinals and Orioles : TEAMS
20 Runs in, cop-style : ARRESTS
22 Ready for picking : RIPE
23 Passage in a personal journal : ENTRY
26 Runs at full speed : SPRINTS
28 College courtyard : QUAD
29 Guerrilla Guevara : CHE
32 Curtain holders : RODS
33 Cities, informally : URBS
34 “(Marie’s the Name) __ Latest Flame”: Elvis hit : HIS
35 Dutch beer brand : AMSTEL
38 Silent communication syst. : ASL
39 Vacillates … or what you can do when you look at the starts of the answers to starred clues? : SEESAWS
41 Mine find : ORE
42 Eyed lecherously : LEERED
44 Rose of Guns N’ Roses : AXL
45 Not kosher : TREF
46 Elevated on a peg, as a golf ball : TEED
47 Hoped-for response to a marriage proposal : YES
48 Splinter group : SECT
49 Mongoose family member : MEERKAT
52 Needing practice : RUSTY
53 Luxury hotel : OMNI
54 Ketchup-and-mayo dressing : RUSSIAN
58 Title film cousin : VINNY
60 *Popular cause to jump on : BANDWAGON (giving “bandsaw”)
64 Formal “Just me” : IT IS I
65 Lake with the same first and last letter : ERIE
66 Long skirt : MAXI
67 German steel city : ESSEN
68 Pro __: in proportion : RATA
69 Fan favorite : IDOL

Down

1 Boxer’s quick punch : JAB
2 Christian sch. in Tulsa : ORU
3 States, slangily : SEZ
4 Ventures, as a guess : HAZARDS
5 Skunk’s defense : ODOR
6 Naked : BARE
7 Betting ratios : ODDS
8 Divisions for the Yanks and Mets : EASTS
9 Automated spam sender : BOT
10 Log-in needs : USER IDS
11 *Mall anchors : CHAIN STORES (giving “chainsaw”)
12 Well-groomed : KEMPT
13 Desert havens : OASES
18 Dryly humorous : WRY
21 Spreads out one’s arms and legs : SPRAWLS
23 Math sign : EQUAL
24 Hospital worker : NURSE
25 *Game with paddles : TABLE TENNIS (giving “table saw”)
27 CD-__: data holders : ROMS
29 Cracker cheese : CHEDDAR
30 Rush, old-style : HIE
31 Op-ed piece, e.g. : ESSAY
36 Upright : ERECT
37 Southpaw : LEFTY
39 Search for : SEEK
40 Chopping tool : AXE
43 Get the rest of the soap out of : RE-RINSE
45 Tidal wave cousin : TSUNAMI
49 Theater feature : MOVIE
50 Radiates : EMITS
51 Potato or yam : TUBER
52 Uncooked : RAW
55 __ Lee: dessert brand : SARA
56 Sulky state : SNIT
57 “Good thinking!” thought : IDEA
59 Yang’s partner : YIN
61 Wander (about) : GAD
62 Kitchen tool brand : OXO
63 Naught : NIL

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 1 Nov 21, Monday”

  1. No errors.. didn’t know BUCKO was an Irish term..

    I was “ADDLED” by the clue at 58A.. thought instead of INDIE.. that wasn’t right. When VINNE fell in , I didn’t get it.
    ALAS, it’s a play on words…. classic movie My Cousin Vinnie…

    Also didn’t know about RUSSIAN dressing.
    Almost sounds like a mild form of a horse radish mixture.

    1. Hi Anon Mike. Actually the movie is “My Cousin Vinny” so no play on words.

      I thought this was a little harder than normal for a Monday. Although you wouldn’t know it by Bill and Glenn’s solve times.

  2. 17:20 no errors…For some reason this puzzle seemed much harder than the NYT 0927 which is unusual.
    Stay safe😀

  3. Mamaism’s counterpart: DADAism. At least, BUCKO, that’s what they say in the URBS (where the suns rise in the EASTS). And where’s the rest — of — that Elvis song title? Oh, well … Monday, right?

  4. 10 mins 20 sec (!) and no errors. This was no Monday puzzle!!!

    As Joe Bleaux mocks, this was also a great example of how NOT to construct a “fair” puzzle. A lot of convenient “outs” for the constructor, and nonsense for the users.

  5. Being a southpaw myself, I found that Bill’s explanation that the term came from baseball quite interesting. I assume that home plate being to the West of the diamond was to prevent the batter being blinded while facing the afternoon sun. Alas, while safety of the batter was considered, the poor center fielder was left on his own to fight the sun while searching for that line drive barreling toward him.

    “Unkempt”? I learned something new. I always thought it was “unkept”, the past tense of “keep”. Like “He kept his hair well groomed.” If his hair was unkempt, should I now say “He usually kempt his hair well groomed”? Hmmm.

  6. No Googles, no errors. Had JOke before JOSH until the theme corrected me. Did not actually know OSHEA, or the RUSSIAN dressing (yuck).

    Half my family are southpaws/LEFTies, so they sat on one side of the table to avoid elbow knocks. I wrote my masters in education on Does Sinistrality Affect Reading? The answer is yes and no. If it’s familial sinistrality (FS+), no.
    Actually, FS+ people are better at turning objects around in their heads, a talent which can be a benefit in many fields.

  7. thanks, Jane Drees Blando, for that interesting comment about sinistrality — my sister was a south paw! yeah, easy puzzle today….and, Fitz, I usually have a fit when someone uses unkept to mean unkempt so I’m glad you won’t be doing that anymore!

  8. 9:36 with no errors or lookups is good for a Monday. No issues with the construction or cluing.

    Had to change along the way: PAPA>DADA, TATER>TUBER.

  9. A little tricky for me today; took 15:36 with about 5 minutes in the NE corner, and no errors or peeks. I had BOT, RIPE and OASES and also had TEAMS for a while. Tried SPRainS and StRains…finally put TEAMS back in and then saw KEMPT…whew! Didn’t know OSHEA but went with it. I thought BoyyO at first.

    Anway, USERIDS, should have come to me sooner, even if I didn’t know BUCKO and OSHEA. Also didn’t recognize TREF, but the crosses helped out there.

    @Jane – Interesting comment about sinistrality!

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