LA Times Crossword 12 Nov 21, Friday

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Constructed by: David Alfred Bywaters
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Flighty Phrases

Themed answers sound like common phrases, but instead each features a kind of bird:

  • 17A Bird’s perspective? : ORIOLE VIEW (sounds like “aerial view”)
  • 26A Nurtured by a bird? : GROUSEFED (sounds like “grassfed”)
  • 38A Amorous bird? : TANAGER IN LOVE (sounds like “Teenager in Love”)
  • 51A Bird painting? : OWL FRESCO (sounds like “alfresco”)
  • 60A Bird-wrestling move? : THRUSH HOLD (sounds like “threshold”)

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

Bill’s time: 7m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Italian sports cars, briefly : ALFAS

The “Alfa” in “Alfa Romeo” is actually an acronym, one standing for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (“Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company”). ALFA was an enterprise founded in 1909 and which was taken over by Nicola Romeo in 1915. In 1920 the company name was changed to Alfa Romeo.

14 Garage mechanic’s goal, maybe : PURR

Let’s get this engine to purr …

15 Dance studio fixture : BARRE

A barre is a handrail used by ballet dancers for warm-up exercises and to provide support when practicing certain moves.

16 Product of Queensland : OPAL

97% of the world’s opals come from Australia, so it’s no surprise perhaps that the opal is the national gemstone of the country. The state of South Australia provides the bulk of the world’s production, i.e. about 80%.

Queensland is a large state located on the northeast of Australia. The state capital of Brisbane is the third largest city in the country, after Sydney and Melbourne. Queensland was originally part of the state of New South Wales, but was separated in 1859, with the new name chosen in honor of Queen Victoria.

17 Bird’s perspective? : ORIOLE VIEW (sounds like “aerial view”)

The songbird called an oriole builds an interesting nest. It is a woven cup-like structure that is suspended from a branch like a hammock.

19 Place in the woods? : NECK

In the phrase “this neck of the woods”, the term “neck” is used in the sense “strip of land”.

Here are some lines spoken by the Duke of York to John of Gaunt in William Shakespeare’s play “Richard II”:

Vex not yourself, nor strive not with your breath;
For all in vain comes counsel to his ear.

21 Pt. of AAA : ASSOC

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

37 Shock, in a way : TASE

Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle”. The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon partly named its product as a homage to the novel. The acronym “TASER” stands for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.

38 Amorous bird? : TANAGER IN LOVE (sounds like “Teenager in Love”)

The scarlet tanager is a beautiful-looking bird in the cardinal family. It is truly scarlet in color, other than its wings and tail.

The classic song “A Teenager in Love” was released by Dion and the Belmonts in 1959.

42 Scots Gaelic : ERSE

There are actually three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be “Gaeilge” (in Ireland), “Gaelg” (on the Isle of Man) and “Gaidhlig” (in Scotland).

43 Composer expelled from the Paris Conservatoire in 1882 : SATIE

Erik Satie was a French composer best known for his beautiful composition, the three “Gymnopédies”. I have tried so hard to appreciate other works by Satie but I find them so very different from the minimalist simplicity of the lyrical “Gymnopédies”.

46 In one’s slip? : MOORED

A “slipway” or “slip” is a ramp on the shore in which boats can “slip” into the water. This “slipping” into the water is literally the case in a shipyard, where a vessel’s hull “slips” off the ramp after it is coated with grease.

51 Bird painting? : OWL FRESCO (sounds like “alfresco”)

A fresco is a painting created on a moist plaster, usually on a wall or ceiling. The plaster is “freshly” laid when the image is created, and “fresco” is the Italian for “fresh”.

Our word “alfresco” means outdoors, in the fresh air. The term came into English from Italian.

56 Verizon rival : ATT

The original AT&T Corporation was known as the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, hence the contemporary abbreviation.

The telecommunications company that we know today as Verizon was founded in 1983 as Bell Atlantic, and was one of the “Baby Bells” that were formed after the breakup of AT&T. Bell Atlantic merged with fellow Baby Bell NYNEX in 1997, and then merged with GTE in 2000 to form Verizon. The new company name is a portmanteau of “veritas” (“truth” in Latin) and “horizon”.

57 “__, Can You Hear Me?”: “Yentl” song : PAPA

“Yentl” is a play that opened in New York City in 1975. The move to adapt the play for the big screen was led by Barbra Streisand, and indeed she wrote the first outline of a musical version herself as far back as 1968. The film was eventually made and released in 1983, with Streisand performing the lead role.

60 Bird-wrestling move? : THRUSH HOLD (sounds like “threshold”)

Thrushes are a family of birds that are found all over the world. There are almost twenty genera of thrushes within the family, including some bluebirds and true thrushes.

69 Uses light surgically : LASES

The term “laser” is an acronym standing for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “light oscillation by stimulated emission of radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely “loser”.

Down

1 Dr.’s network : PPO

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Make your choice, if you can …

2 CSNY’s “__ House” : OUR

The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) song “Our House” was released in 1970. It is described as “an ode to countercultural domestic bliss”, and was written by Graham Nash while he was living with Canadian singer Joni Mitchell. Many years later, Nash performed “Our House” at a tribute concert that celebrated Mitchell’s 75th birthday.

The supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) is made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. The band can grow to “CSNY” when the trio is joined by Neil Young. Fans have been known to call the act “C, S, N and sometimes Y”, a play on the expression that names all the vowels, “A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y”.

3 Med. scan : MRI

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate images that can be used by medical professionals to diagnose injury and disease.

4 President __ : PRO TEM

“Pro tempore” can be abbreviated to “pro tem” or “p.t.” “Pro tempore” is a Latin phrase that best translates as “for the time being”. It is used to describe a person who is acting for another, usually a superior. The President pro tempore of the US Senate is the person who presides over the Senate in the absence of the Vice President of the US. It has been tradition since 1890 that the president pro tem is the most senior senator in the majority party. The president pro tem ranks highly in the line of succession to the presidency, falling third in line after the Vice President and the Speaker of the House.

5 Be an accessory to : ABET

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (literally “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

6 Loo : LAV

Our word “lavatory” (sometimes “lav”) originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s, “lavatory” came to mean a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.

10 Piece that often includes one or two cadenzas : CONCERTO

A concerto is a musical work that is usually composed of three movements, and is often written for a solo instrument accompanied by an orchestra.

The musical term “cadenza” describes a passage that is sung or played by a soloist. A cadenza is often encountered in a concerto, when the orchestra stops playing and the soloist performs alone. The soloist’s performance can be improvised or written, at the composer’s discretion.

12 Bud : MAC

“Mac” is a casual and generic form of address to a man. The term comes from the Gaelic “mac” that is commonly used in Scottish and Irish names, and which means “son of”.

13 Caribou cousin : ELK

The elk (also “wapiti”) is one of the largest species of deer in the world, with only the moose being bigger. Early European settlers were familiar with the smaller red deer back in their homelands, so when they saw the “huge” wapiti they assumed it was a moose, and incorrectly gave it the European name for a moose, namely “elk”. The more correct name for the beast is “wapiti”, which means “white rump” in Shawnee. It’s all very confusing …

“Caribou” is the North American name for “reindeer”.

18 Literature’s Dolores Haze, familiarly : LOLITA

Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Lolita” has a famously controversial storyline, dealing with a middle-aged man’s obsession and sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl named Dolores Haze. 38-year-old professor Humbert Humbert privately refers to Dolores as “Lolita”. Although “Lolita” is considered a classic today, after Nabokov finished it in 1953 the edgy subject matter made it impossible for him to find a publisher in the US (where Nabokov lived). In 1955, he resorted to publishing it in English at a printing house in Paris. Publication was followed by bans and seizures all over Europe. A US printing house finally took on the project in 1958, by which time the title had such a reputation that it sold exceptionally quickly. “Lolita” became the first book since “Gone with the Wind” to sell over 100,000 copies in its first three weeks in stores.

25 Sun screen : PARASOL

A parasol is a light umbrella that is used as a sunshade. The term “parasol” ultimately comes from Latin “para-” meaning “defense against”, and “sol” meaning “sun”.

26 Preservers of proclivities : GENES

A proclivity is a predisposition toward something, an inclination.

31 Holiday drink : NOG

It’s not really clear where the term “nog” (as in “eggnog”) comes from although it might derive from the word “noggin”, which was originally a small wooden cup that was long associated with alcoholic drinks.

36 “Same here!” : DITTO!

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 …

39 “Throw it indoors” toy : NERF BALL

Nerf is a soft material used in a whole series of toys designed for “safe” play indoors. The Nerf product is used to make darts, balls and ammunition for toy guns. “NERF” is an acronym, standing for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam.

40 Actress Long : NIA

Nia Long is an American actress who is probably best known for playing Will Smith’s sometime girlfriend and fiancee Lisa Wilkes on the TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”.

45 “__ Pinafore” : HMS

“H.M.S. Pinafore” is one of my favorite of the Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas (and a production we staged at high school, many moons ago). “Pinafore” was one of the first big hits for Gilbert & Sullivan (in their native Britain, and in America), and they followed it up with “The Pirates of Penzance” and “The Mikado”.

50 Some church donations : TITHES

Traditionally, a tithe is a payment of one tenth of a person’s annual income and is usually given to a church. Tithing is a practice taught in many traditions, and according to a 2002 survey, about 3% of American adults donate 10% or more of their income to a church.

52 Dumb sound? : SCHWA

A schwa is an unstressed and toneless vowel found in a number of languages including English. Examples from our language are the “a” in “about”, the “e” in “taken” and the “i” in pencil.

53 Nickname akin to Topher : CHRIS

Chris, Toph and Topher are nicknames for Christopher.

58 Many a Monopoly prop. : AVE

The street names in the original US version of the board game Monopoly are locations in or around Atlantic City, New Jersey.

59 Chum : PAL

A chum is a friend. The term “chum” originated in the late 1600s as an alternative spelling for “cham”. In turn, “cham” was a shortened form of “chambermate”, a roommate at university.

63 First name in supervillains : 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 Pageantry : POMP
5 Italian sports cars, briefly : ALFAS
10 Showed up : CAME
14 Garage mechanic’s goal, maybe : PURR
15 Dance studio fixture : BARRE
16 Product of Queensland : OPAL
17 Bird’s perspective? : ORIOLE VIEW (sounds like “aerial view”)
19 Place in the woods? : NECK
20 Child : TOT
21 Pt. of AAA : ASSOC
23 Put off : REPEL
26 Nurtured by a bird? : GROUSEFED (sounds like “grassfed”)
30 Take a good look at : EXAMINE
32 Convert to something better : PARLAY
33 Respectful title : SIR
34 Muscly : TONED
37 Shock, in a way : TASE
38 Amorous bird? : TANAGER IN LOVE (sounds like “Teenager in Love”)
42 Scots Gaelic : ERSE
43 Composer expelled from the Paris Conservatoire in 1882 : SATIE
44 Impressed word : OOH!
46 In one’s slip? : MOORED
49 Sizable snit : TANTRUM
51 Bird painting? : OWL FRESCO (sounds like “alfresco”)
54 Main points : GISTS
55 Park __ : BENCH
56 Verizon rival : ATT
57 “__, Can You Hear Me?”: “Yentl” song : PAPA
60 Bird-wrestling move? : THRUSH HOLD (sounds like “threshold”)
65 Round figure : OVAL
66 Couldn’t sleep __ : A WINK
67 Vase-shaped pitcher : EWER
68 Hollow : DELL
69 Uses light surgically : LASES
70 Causing head-turning, perhaps : SEXY

Down

1 Dr.’s network : PPO
2 CSNY’s “__ House” : OUR
3 Med. scan : MRI
4 President __ : PRO TEM
5 Be an accessory to : ABET
6 Loo : LAV
7 Religious brother : FRIAR
8 Kid’s retort : ARE SO!
9 Clinches : SEWS UP
10 Piece that often includes one or two cadenzas : CONCERTO
11 Mimic : APE
12 Bud : MAC
13 Caribou cousin : ELK
18 Literature’s Dolores Haze, familiarly : LOLITA
22 Spanish she-bear : OSA
23 Follower of hi or lo : -RES
24 Airline seating for the able-bodied : EXIT ROW
25 Sun screen : PARASOL
26 Preservers of proclivities : GENES
27 Alters the taste of : FLAVORS
28 Depart cautiously : EASE OUT
29 Alter the color of : DYE
31 Holiday drink : NOG
35 Historical segment : ERA
36 “Same here!” : DITTO!
39 “Throw it indoors” toy : NERF BALL
40 Actress Long : NIA
41 Horse race margin : LENGTH
42 Soul-baring pop music genre : EMO
45 “__ Pinafore” : HMS
47 Before, to a bard : ERE
48 Employee benefit option : DENTAL
50 Some church donations : TITHES
52 Dumb sound? : SCHWA
53 Nickname akin to Topher : CHRIS
56 Sets as a price : ASKS
57 Pea place : POD
58 Many a Monopoly prop. : AVE
59 Chum : PAL
61 French article : UNE
62 Be indebted to : OWE
63 First name in supervillains : LEX
64 Drip-__ : DRY

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Nov 21, Friday”

  1. Another quick run today… hmmmm. I’m scared something is coming…

    Chris, Toph and Topher are nicknames for Christopher?? Really??

    Found out what a Tanager was today also.

  2. Had trouble with the NE corner for far too long. Sometimes you just can’t see it for some inexplicable reason. Finally straightened it out and the puzzle was finished.

    1. Maybe the NE corner was hard to decipher because wool, coal, lead, zinc, and gold are also four-letter products of Queensland (Wikipedia doesn’t even list opal as one of Queensland’s exports). This one never should have made it past the editor. Nor should 65A. An oval, by definition, is not round.

      1. @Tim in Sequim …

        One of the definitions of “round” is “lacking sharp angles; having gentle curves”, as in the sentence “Our child’s bed has round corners for safety.” So, yes, an OVAL is a “Round figure”.

        And, just now, Googling “opals from Queensland” gave me this: “Queensland produces boulder opal, an unique type of opal which is found attached to a host rock, ironstone. Boulder opal is unique to Queensland, and occurs in deposits in weathered sedimentary Cretaceous rocks in the west of the state.”

        So … I think I’ll trust the editors … 😳.

      2. @Tim in Sequim …

        Also, the Wikipedia article titled “Economy of Queensland” contains this sentence: “Gemstones such as sapphire, opal and chrysoprase are also mined in commercial quantities.”

  3. 11 mins 29 sec, and no errors.

    Three of the theme clues DON’T sound like what they’re purported to, so this entire grid is “for the birds”.

    1. @Allen …

      None of the theme answers sounds exactly like the bird-referencing phrase it suggests. So what? You’re missing the point … 😳.

  4. 29:53 – oooh, so close. 1 cheat, couldn’t see past the “E” in EMO/ERSE. Duh.

    Darn, would’ve been my 1st ever Friday with no cheats.

    Oh well, wait til next week.

    Congrats to those who did it, great times.

    Be Well.

  5. The best 63D Lex Luther in my humble opinion was Gene Hackman, who with his arsenal of nuclear ballistic missiles fiendishly targeted for destruction several major American cities along with the New Jersey town of Hackensack since it was where his mother-in-law lived.

  6. A slip, in nautical terms, is the same as a berth, a place to keep a boat or a ship at a dock or a wharf. The ramp used to put boats into the water is called a launch.

  7. 15:41 with no errors or lookups. Had r o change ECOMOMY>EXITROW and HARDD>SCHWA. Funny how the mind works, sometimes. No real trouble with the theme. It helped with some of the answers.

  8. Fun, slightly tricky Friday; took me 20:57 with no errors or peeks. Loved the theme and it helped a little bit. Learned a bit about concertos today.

    Liked Madness’ version of “Our House” better, but CSNY are awesome.

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