LA Times Crossword 22 Nov 21, Monday

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Constructed by: Robert E. Lee Morris
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Potato Head

Themed answers each start a word that often HEADS “POTATO”:

  • 54A Toy that can be either Mr. or Mrs. … and what the first part of the answers to starred clues can literally be : POTATO HEAD
  • 17A *Arkansas resort known for its geothermal waters : HOT SPRINGS (giving “hot potato”)
  • 37A *FDR recovery program : NEW DEAL (giving “new potato”)
  • 11D *Affectionate bedtime words : SWEET DREAMS (giving “sweet potato”)
  • 24D *Silky-coated bird dog : IRISH SETTER (giving “Irish potato”)

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

Bill’s time: 4m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 The Grateful __: rock group : DEAD

The Grateful Dead were a rock band from the San Francisco Bay Area that was founded in 1965. “The Dead” disbanded in 1995 following the death of lead guitarist Jerry Garcia. Grateful Dead fans (the ranks of whom include my wife) refer to themselves as “Deadheads”.

5 Odometer units : MILES

An odometer measures distance traveled. “Odometer comes from the Greek “hodos” meaning “path” and “metron” meaning “measure”.

10 Ukr. and Lith., once : SSRS

Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe that was a Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) before the dissolution of the USSR. In English, we often call the country “the Ukraine”, but I am told that we should just say “Ukraine”.

The nation of Lithuania is a former Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) sitting on the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius, and 16 miles north of Vilnius is a point that is officially recognized as the geographic center of Europe.

14 Wrinkly fruit : UGLI

The ugli fruit is a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine that was first discovered growing wild in Jamaica where most ugli fruit comes from today. “UGLI” is a trademark name that is a variant of “ugly”, a nod to the fruit’s unsightly wrinkled rind.

15 Arabian Peninsula resident : OMANI

The Arabian Peninsula is shaped like a boot, with the Sultanate of Oman occupying the toe of that boot.

17 *Arkansas resort known for its geothermal waters : HOT SPRINGS (giving “hot potato”)

Hot Springs National Park is the smallest national park in the whole country. It is located beside the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas and actually includes bathhouses found in the downtown area that use the springs’ hot water.

19 Great Smokies st. : TENN

The Great Smoky Mountains are a subrange of the Appalachians and are located in North Carolina and Tennessee. The “Smokies” lie almost entirely within the bounds of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is the most-visited national park in the whole country. The name “Smoky” is a reference to the natural fog often seen hanging over the range. The fog is actually a vapor made up of volatile organic compounds released by the vegetation covering the peaks.

20 Trolley sound, in an old song : CLANG

A streetcar makes a clanging sound, as we learned in the musical film“Meet Me in St. Louis”. Judy Garland sang “The Trolley Song” in the movie:

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley
Ding, ding, ding went the bell
Zing, zing, zing went my heartstrings
From the moment I saw him I fell

25 On one’s way : EN ROUTE

“En route” is a French term that means “on the way”.

28 SoCal NFL team : LA RAMS

The Los Angeles Rams are the only franchise to have won NFL championships in three different cities, i.e. Cleveland (1945), Los Angeles (1951) and St. Louis (1999). The Rams were based in Cleveland from 1936 to 1945, in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994, in St. Louis from 1995 to 2015, and returned to Los Angeles in 2016.

30 Thor’s father : ODIN

In Norse mythology, Thor was the son of Odin. Thor wielded a mighty hammer and was the god of thunder, lightning and storms. Our contemporary word “Thursday” comes from “Thor’s Day”.

31 Dividing membranes : SEPTA

In the world of anatomy, a septum (plural “septa”) is a dividing wall within a chamber or other structure. For example, the interatrial septum separates the left and right atria of the heart, and the nasal septum separates the nostrils of the nose.

33 Letter between pi and sigma : RHO

Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter “p”, although it is equivalent to the Roman letter R.

37 *FDR recovery program : NEW DEAL (giving “new potato”)

The New Deal was the series of economic programs championed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. The New Deal was focused on three objectives, the “3 Rs”:

  1. Relief for the unemployed and poor
  2. Recovery of the economy to normal levels
  3. Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression

41 Newspaper opinion pieces : OP-EDS

“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.

42 “__! The Herald Angels Sing” : HARK

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is one of my favorite Christmas carols. It was written in 1739 by Charles Wesley, although he scored it as a very slow and somber tune. A number of musicians modified the music over the years (including Felix Mendelssohn) giving us the more uplifting air that we know today.

43 More than gratified : SATED

“Sate” is a variant of the older word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.

45 Garlicky shrimp dish : SCAMPI

The Italian dish known as “scampi” is a serving of shrimp in garlic butter and dry white wine.

47 Film critic with a cameo in 1978’s “Superman” : REX REED

Rex Reed is a film critic who used to co-host “At the Movies”, the show that originally featured Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

It took a bit of effort to sign up an actor to play the title role in 1978’s “Superman: The Movie”. Apparently, Robert Redford was offered the job first, but turned it down, as did Burt Reynolds. Paul Newman was offered his choice of several roles, including Superman, but also declined. Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner auditioned, but was unsuccessful. Patrick Wayne, son of John Wayne, was given the part but had to drop out when his father was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Others expressed strong interest in playing the role, including singer Neil Diamond and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but they were also turned down. Unknown actor Christopher Reeve was eventually given the part, but he had to undergo physical training by David Prowse to build the necessary physique. Prowse had been turned down for the role because he wasn’t American (he was English). He was considered as Superman having started his run of playing Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” original trilogy.

49 Holmes’ friend and flatmate : WATSON

In the “Sherlock Holmes” stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the famous detective has lodgings at 221b Baker Street in London. Holmes shares rooms with his friend and chronicler Dr. Watson. The landlady in the residence is the amiable Mrs. Hudson.

51 Muslim religious leaders : IMAMS

An imam is a Muslim leader, and often the person in charge of a mosque and/or perhaps a Muslim community.

53 Palo __, Calif. : ALTO

The city of Palo Alto, California takes its name from a specific redwood tree called El Palo Alto (Spanish for “the tall stick”) that is located within the bounds of the city. The tree is 110 feet tall and over a thousand years old.

54 Toy that can be either Mr. or Mrs. … and what the first part of the answers to starred clues can literally be : POTATO HEAD

Mr. Potato Head is an enduring and popular toy that has been around since its invention by George Lerner in 1949. In its original form, the toy was a collection of eyes, ears, and other facial features, that were designed to be stuck into a real potato. Mr. Potato Head also has the distinction of being the first toy ever to be advertised on television.

61 Paris airport : ORLY

Orly is a town on the outskirts of Paris, to the south of the city. It is home to the Paris-Orly Airport, the second busiest international airport for the city after the more recently built Charles de Gaulle Airport. That said, Orly is home to more domestic flights than Charles de Gaulle.

64 The “P” in IPA : PALE

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

Down

2 Freud’s “The __ and the Id” : EGO

Sigmund Freud created a structural model of the human psyche, breaking it into three parts: the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is that part of the psyche containing the basic instinctual drives. The ego seeks to please the id by causing realistic behavior that benefits the individual. The superego almost has a parental role, contradicting the id by introducing critical thinking and morals to behavioral choices.

3 Space bar neighbor : ALT

The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.

4 Sony audio product unveiled in 1984 : DISCMAN

The Discman was Sony’s first portable CD player and was introduced in 1984. The Discman was a follow-up to the incredibly successful Walkman portable audio cassette players. Eventually, the Discman name was dropped and today’s Sony portable CD players are called Walkmans.

7 Oscar winner Jessica : LANGE

Actress Jessica Lange is also an accomplished and published photographer. She was married for ten years to Spanish photographer Paco Grande. After separating from Grande, Lange was partnered with the great Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, with whom she had her first child.

8 The “E” in ESL: Abbr. : ENG

English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

18 Professor in Clue : PLUM

Clue is a board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …

21 Reef material : CORAL

Polyps are tiny sea creatures that are found attached to underwater structures or to other polyps. Polyps have a mouth at one end of a cylindrical “body” that is surrounded by tentacles. Some polyps cluster into groups called stony corals, with stony corals being the building blocks of coral reefs. The structure of the reef comprises calcium carbonate exoskeletons secreted by the coral polyps.

22 Honolulu hello : ALOHA

The Hawaiian word “aloha” has many meanings in English: affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. More recently, “aloha” has come to mean “hello” and “goodbye”, but only since the mid-1800s.

Honolulu is the largest city in Hawaii, and the state capital. Located on the island of Oahu, the name “Honolulu” translates from Hawaiian as “place of shelter, calm port, sheltered bay”.

23 1976 Olympic great Comaneci : NADIA

Nadia Comaneci won three golds in the 1976 Summer Olympics and was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of ten in the gymnastics competition. Comaneci published a book called “Letters to a Young Gymnast” in 2003, and now lives in the United States.

24 *Silky-coated bird dog : IRISH SETTER (giving “Irish potato”)

An Irish setter is a breed of dog …
… or maybe someone from Dublin who sets crosswords …

27 Actress Hayworth : RITA

Rita Hayworth was born in Brooklyn as Margarita Carmen Cansino. Her father was a flamenco dancer from Spain and so his daughter fell naturally into dancing. The family moved to Hollywood where Hayworth’s father set up a dance studio, and there worked with the likes of James Cagney and Jean Harlow. The young Hayworth had a slow start in movies, finding herself typecast because of her Mediterranean features. When she underwent extensive electrolysis to change her forehead and dyed her hair red, she started to get more work (how sad is that?). In 1941 she posed for that famous pin-up picture which accompanied GIs all over the world.

31 Stockholm native : SWEDE

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the country. Over one fifth of all Swedish residents live in Stockholm.

32 Advanced teaching deg. : EDD

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

34 Silent Marx brother : HARPO

Harpo Marx was the second-oldest of the Marx brothers. Harpo’s real name was Adolph, and he earned his nickname because he played the harp. Famously, Harpe didn’t speak on screen, a routine that he developed after reading a review that he performed really well when he just didn’t speak! He would usually whistle or toot a hand-held horn instead of speaking.

35 Pest control biggie : ORKIN

Orkin is a pest-control company. If you want to learn more about insects, you might want to visit the O. Orkin Zoo, a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The exhibit has over 300 live insects, all displayed in their natural habitats.

37 __ Dame : NOTRE

“Notre Dame” is French for “Our Lady”.

38 Fencing tool : EPEE

The French word for sword is “épée”. In competitive fencing the épée is connected to a system that records an electrical signal when legal contact is made on an opponent’s body.

42 Milliner’s store : HAT SHOP

A milliner is someone who makes, designs or sells hats. Back in the 1500s, the term described someone who sold hats made in Milan, Italy, hence the name “milliner”.

44 Algebraic givens : AXIOMS

In the world of mathematics, an axiom is a proposition, one that is taken as basic and self-evident.

Algebra (alg.) is a branch of mathematics in which arithmetical operations are performed on variables rather than specific numbers (x,y etc). The term “algebra” comes from the Arabic “al jebr” meaning “reunion of broken parts”.

46 Army garb, for short : CAMO

Our word “camouflage” (often abbreviated to “camo”) evolved directly from a Parisian slang term “camoufler” meaning “to disguise”. The term was first used in WWI, although the British navy at that time preferred the expression “dazzle-painting” as it applied to the pattern painted on the hulls of ships.

48 “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 …

50 Actress Blanchett : CATE

Cate Blanchett is a great actress from Australia, and a winner of an Academy Award for playing Katherine Hepburn in “The Aviator”. Winning for that role made Blanchett the first person to win an Academy Award for playing an actor (Hepburn) who had also won an Oscar. Now that, that is trivial information …

52 Brits’ raincoats : MACS

When I was growing up in Ireland, we had to take our macs to school in case it rained (and it usually did!). “Mac” is short for “macintosh”, a waterproof raincoat made of rubberized fabric. The coat was named after its inventor, Scotsman Charles Macintosh.

54 Kegler’s org. : PBA

A kegler is a person who plays ten-pin bowling. “Kegel” is a German word meaning “bowling pin”.

55 Dory propeller : OAR

A dory is a small boat that’s around 20 feet long with a shallow draft, a flat bottom and a sharp bow. Dories are commonly used for fishing.

56 MLB hurler’s stat : ERA

Earned run average (ERA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 The Grateful __: rock group : DEAD
5 Odometer units : MILES
10 Ukr. and Lith., once : SSRS
14 Wrinkly fruit : UGLI
15 Arabian Peninsula resident : OMANI
16 Scrape, in tot-ese : OWIE
17 *Arkansas resort known for its geothermal waters : HOT SPRINGS (giving “hot potato”)
19 Great Smokies st. : TENN
20 Trolley sound, in an old song : CLANG
21 Top of a wave : CREST
22 Ill will : ANIMUS
25 On one’s way : EN ROUTE
28 SoCal NFL team : LA RAMS
29 Put on television : AIRED
30 Thor’s father : ODIN
31 Dividing membranes : SEPTA
33 Letter between pi and sigma : RHO
36 Bath towel word : HIS
37 *FDR recovery program : NEW DEAL (giving “new potato”)
39 Musical ability : EAR
40 Sound of contentment : AAH!
41 Newspaper opinion pieces : OP-EDS
42 “__! The Herald Angels Sing” : HARK
43 More than gratified : SATED
45 Garlicky shrimp dish : SCAMPI
47 Film critic with a cameo in 1978’s “Superman” : REX REED
49 Holmes’ friend and flatmate : WATSON
50 Adorable one : CUTIE
51 Muslim religious leaders : IMAMS
53 Palo __, Calif. : ALTO
54 Toy that can be either Mr. or Mrs. … and what the first part of the answers to starred clues can literally be : POTATO HEAD
59 Abound : TEEM
60 Baking tray of cookies : BATCH
61 Paris airport : ORLY
62 Makes a mistake : ERRS
63 Cropped up : AROSE
64 The “P” in IPA : PALE

Down

1 “How silly of me!” : DUH!
2 Freud’s “The __ and the Id” : EGO
3 Space bar neighbor : ALT
4 Sony audio product unveiled in 1984 : DISCMAN
5 Marshy tract : MORASS
6 “You can count on me!” : I’M IN!
7 Oscar winner Jessica : LANGE
8 The “E” in ESL: Abbr. : ENG
9 Family nickname : SIS
10 “I totally agree” : SO TRUE
11 *Affectionate bedtime words : SWEET DREAMS (giving “sweet potato”)
12 Lather, __, repeat : RINSE
13 In the mail : SENT
18 Professor in Clue : PLUM
21 Reef material : CORAL
22 Honolulu hello : ALOHA
23 1976 Olympic great Comaneci : NADIA
24 *Silky-coated bird dog : IRISH SETTER (giving “Irish potato”)
26 Places where moms grab puppies when they pick them up : NAPES
27 Actress Hayworth : RITA
31 Stockholm native : SWEDE
32 Advanced teaching deg. : EDD
34 Silent Marx brother : HARPO
35 Pest control biggie : ORKIN
37 __ Dame : NOTRE
38 Fencing tool : EPEE
42 Milliner’s store : HAT SHOP
44 Algebraic givens : AXIOMS
45 Wrap snugly : SWATHE
46 Army garb, for short : CAMO
47 Head of state : RULER
48 “Same here” : DITTO
50 Actress Blanchett : CATE
52 Brits’ raincoats : MACS
54 Kegler’s org. : PBA
55 Dory propeller : OAR
56 MLB hurler’s stat : ERA
57 Every one : ALL
58 Salon coloring : DYE

12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 22 Nov 21, Monday”

  1. Finally a decent puzzle that can be worked. Forts one in ages that seems like the author is not trying to make sure no one can solve it

  2. Easy. Didn’t notice theme.
    All the initials throw me. @Anon Mike – Bill told us – the doctorate is at the end. (Now, even every disease is initialized.)
    OP ED should be indicated as an abbrev. We can’t let abbreviating take off like a bat out of hell. Too late.
    Have a great Xgiving. We’re going to Cooperstown. No one could cook like my mother or mother-in-law, so why try? AAH – or as we used to say – Ahh.

  3. Sure, Monday puzzles are easier than those during the rest of the week but this one went beyond easy. I work the puzzles as a form of relaxation with my morning coffee and don’t time myself. If I did, this puzzle would have resulted in the amount of time it takes me to write down it’s 185 letters with a slight pause at 22A and 31A. Oh well, it was a relaxing endeavor. 😉

    May each of you enjoy a happy Thanksgiving with family and friends.

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