LA Times Crossword 26 Nov 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Jennifer Lee & Victor Galson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: No Ifs Ands or Buts

Today’s three themed answers are common phrases with the letter strings IF, AND or BUT removed:

  • 59A “I won’t hear any excuses!” … also, a clue to the three other longest Across answers : NO IFS ANDS OR BUTS
  • 17A Odds that the pub is open? : CHANCE OF ALE TIME (CHANCE OF A LIFETIME with no “IF”)
  • 26A Well-liked blue-state pol? : POPULAR DEM (POPULAR DEMAND with no “AND”)
  • 46A Where the Goddess of Pop resides? : CHER’S BLOCK (BUTCHER’S BLOCK with no “BUT”)

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

Bill’s time: 9m 27s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 __ choy : BOK

Bok choy is a variety of Chinese cabbage. “Bok choy” translates as “white vegetable”.

9 Classic sci-fi film with a pronoun title : THEM

“Them!” is a 1954 science fiction movie about giant ants attacking humans after receiving a dose of nuclear radiation in the New Mexico desert. “Them!” was the first of a whole host of “giant bug” films, of which I think I’ve seen … none …

13 “Bah!” in Bavaria : ACH!

Bavaria in southeast Germany is the largest state in the country. The capital and largest city in Bavaria is Munich.

20 Gorilla who learned sign language : KOKO

Koko was a female lowland gorilla that lives in Woodside, California. Researcher Penny Patterson taught Koko to speak a modified form of American Sign Language (ASL) that she called Gorilla Sign Language. Koko could apparently use over a thousand signs.

The gorilla is the largest primate still in existence, and is one of the nearest living species to humans. Molecular biology studies have shown that our nearest relatives are in fact the species in the genus Pan (the chimpanzee and the bonobo), which split from the human branch of the family 4-6 million years ago. Gorillas and humans diverged at a point about 7 million years ago. The term “gorilla” derives from the Greek “gorillai” meaning “tribe of hairy women”. Wow …!

22 An abundance : OODLES

It’s thought that the term “oodles”, meaning “a lot”, comes from “kit and caboodle”.

25 Fla. resort : BOCA

The name of the city of Boca Raton in Florida translates from Spanish as “Mouse Mouth”. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive etymology of the name but one plausible explanation is a nautical one. “Boca”, as well as meaning “mouth” can mean “inlet”. “Ratón”, as well as meaning “mouse” was also used to describe rocks that chewed away at a ship’s anchor cable. So possibly Boca Raton was named for a rocky inlet.

26 Well-liked blue-state pol? : POPULAR DEM (POPULAR DEMAND with no “AND”)

On political maps, red states are usually Republican and blue states usually Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties. In election cycles, swing/battleground states are often depicted in purple.

30 “Conan” airer : TBS

“Conan” was a late-night talk show on TBS that was hosted by Conan O’Brien and aired from 2010 to 2021. “Conan” came about as a result of the so-called “War for Late Night”, when Jay Leno ceded the chair of “The Tonight Show” to “O’Brien” only to launch “The Jay Leno Show” competing on the same network.

33 Org. that launched “My MPG” in 2005 : EPA

My MPG is a program that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched in 2005. Drivers are encouraged to enter actual fuel economy numbers into a central database, comparing them with statistics entered by other drivers and with the EPA’s original test results.

34 Phoenix origin? : ASHES

A phoenix is a fabulous bird of Greek mythology, which can also be found in the mythologies of Persia, Egypt and China. The phoenix is a fire spirit, which lives from 500 to 1000 years. At the end of its lifespan, it builds a nest for itself (a pyre) and self-ignites, burning itself and the nest, creating a pile of ashes. A young phoenix arises from the ashes and the cycle starts all over again.

37 Variety for a truffle hunter? : LINDT

The delicious Swiss chocolate sold under the Lindt brand name has its origins in a small confectionery store in Zurich in the 1840s. Lindt purchased the San Francisco-based chocolate company Ghirardelli back in 1998.

A chocolate truffle is a (delicious) confectionery comprising a chocolate coating surrounded by chocolate that may be coated in cocoa powder or chopped nuts. The confection is named for the edible fungus called a truffle, which has a similar shape.

40 “Ditto” : AS DO 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 …

41 Alexander the Great, to Aristotle : TUTEE

Aristotle was actually a student of Plato in ancient Greece (and in turn, Plato was a student of Socrates). Aristotle’s most famous student was Alexander the Great.

44 Word with bobby or bowling : PIN

A bobby pin is an unobtrusive hair clip. The clip became popular starting in 1899 with the introduction of the “bob cut”, hence the name “bobby pin”.

Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.

45 AOL competitor : MSN

The Microsoft Network (MSN) used to be an Internet service provider (ISP). These days, MSN is mainly a Web portal.

46 Where the Goddess of Pop resides? : CHER’S BLOCK (BUTCHER’S BLOCK with no “BUT”)

“Cher” is the stage name used by singer and actress Cherilyn Sarkisian. Formerly one half of husband-wife duo Sonny & Cher, she is often referred to as the Goddess of Pop. In her acting career, Cher was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar of 1984 for her performance in “Silkwood”. She went further in 1988 and won the season’s Best Actress Oscar for playing Loretta Castorini in “Moonstruck”.

48 Annoying email : SPAM

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 …

56 Start of some famous last words : ET TU …

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

62 Spaceship Earth site : EPCOT

EPCOT Center (now just called “Epcot”) is the theme park beside Walt Disney World in Florida. EPCOT is an acronym standing for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, and is a representation of the future as envisioned by Walt Disney. Walt Disney actually wanted to build a living community for 20,000 residents at EPCOT, but he passed away without that vision being realized.

Spaceship Earth is perhaps the structure that comes to mind when we think of Epcot in the Walt Disney World Resort. It is the large, white, 18-story geodesic sphere.

63 “The Tortoise and the Hare” author : AESOP

“The Tortoise and the Hare” is perhaps the most famous fable attributed to Aesop. The cocky hare takes a nap during a race against the tortoise, and the tortoise sneaks past the finish line for the win while his speedier friend is sleeping.

64 Reuben requirement : RYE

There are conflicting stories about the origin of the Reuben sandwich. One such story is that it was invented around 1914 by Arnold Reuben, an immigrant from Germany who owned Reuben’s Deli in New York.

65 Sonic the Hedgehog owner : SEGA

Sonic the Hedgehog is a title character in a videogame and the mascot of Sega, the computer game developer. Sonic was set up as a rival to Nintendo’s mascot Mario.

66 Holy hymn : PSALM

The Greek word “psalmoi” originally meant “songs sung to a harp”, and gave us the word “psalms”. In the Jewish and Western Christian traditions, the Book of Psalms contains 150 individual psalms, divided into five sections.

67 They loop around the Loop : ELS

The Chicago “L” is the second largest rapid transit system in the US, with the New York City Subway being the largest. The “L” is also the second oldest, again with the New York City Subway system having the honor of being around the longest. Note that the official nickname for the system is the “L” (originally short for “elevated railroad”), although the term “El” is also in common use (especially in crosswords as “ELS”). The L is managed by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

The historic commercial center of Chicago is known as the Loop. One theory is that the “loop” got its name from the cable loops in the city’s old cable car system. An alternative theory is that the term only arose with the construction of the elevated railway “loop” that forms the hub of the city’s “L” system.

Down

2 Half of dieciséis : OCHO

In Spanish, “ocho” (eight) is half of “dieciséis” (sixteen).

3 Some casual wear : KHAKI PANTS

“Khaki” is an Urdu word that translates literally as “dusty”. The word was adopted for its current use as the name of a fabric by the British cavalry in India in the mid-1800s.

5 Afternoon rests : SIESTAS

We use the word “siesta” to describe a short nap in the early afternoon, and imported the word into English from Spanish. In turn, the Spanish word is derived from the Latin “hora sexta” meaning “the sixth hour”. The idea is that the nap is taken at the sixth hour after dawn.

9 2000s teen drama set in SoCal : THE OC

“The O.C.” is a teen drama that aired for four seasons on Fox finishing up in 2007. I never watched it, but I understand that it is set in Newport Beach in Southern California. And, “O.C.” stands for “Orange County”.

Southern California (SoCal)

12 Viral video, e.g. : MEME

A meme (from “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

16 “__ Misérables” : LES

The 1980 musical “Les Misérables” is an adaptation of the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The show opened in London in 1985, and is the longest running musical in the history of London’s West End. My wife and I saw “Les Miz” in the Queen’s Theatre in London many years ago, but were only able to get tickets in the very back row. The theater seating is very steep, so the back row of the balcony is extremely high over the stage. One of the big events in the storyline is the building of a street barricade over which the rebels fight. At the height we were seated we could see the stagehands behind the barricade, sitting drinking Coke, even smoking cigarettes. On cue, the stagehands would get up and catch a dropped rifle, or an actor who had been shot. It was pretty comical. I didn’t really enjoy the show that much, to be honest. Some great songs, but the musical version of the storyline just didn’t seem to hang together for me.

18 Restaurant chain with a signature black cod dish : NOBU

Nobu Matsuhisa is a celebrity chef from Japan. Nobu was invited to open a Japanese restaurant in Lima, Peru in 1973, and while in South America developed his own Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine. He moved to the US a few years later, and now there are “Nobu” and “Matsuhisa” restaurants all over the world.

19 Device for Circe : LOOM

Circe was a minor goddess in Greek mythology. The goddess of magic, she was fond of transforming those who did not please her into animals by using magical potions. In Homer’s “Odyssey”, Odysseus was given the herb called “moly” to protect him from the magical powers of Circe.

26 Fur piece : PELT

A pelt is the skin of a furry animal.

27 Poppy product : OPIUM

The opium poppy is the source of the narcotic alkaloids known as opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sap of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally-occurring drugs of morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.

29 Big name in lawn care : DEERE

John Deere invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837. Prior to Deere’s invention, farmers used an iron or wooden plow that constantly had to be cleaned as rich soil stuck to its surfaces. The cast-steel plow was revolutionary as its smooth sides solved the problem of “stickiness”. The Deere company that John founded uses the slogan “Nothing Runs Like a Deere”, and has a leaping deer as its logo.

32 Not easily moved : STOIC

Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). We get our adjective “stoic”, meaning “indifferent to pleasure or pain”, from the same root.

35 Fitness system popular since the ’90s : TAE BO

Tae Bo isn’t an ancient martial art, even though it perhaps sounds like one. The discipline was developed as a form of aerobic exercise in the 1990s by taekwondo expert Billy Blanks who gave it the name Tae Bo, a melding of “taekwondo” and “boxing”.

43 Harvard has a renowned one, briefly : B-SCHOOL

A B-school is a business school.

Harvard Business School is located in Allston, Massachusetts, on the other side of the Charles River to Harvard University. It was founded in 1908 as part of the School of Humanities, and gained independent status within a few years.

46 Delevingne of “Carnival Row” : CARA

Cara Delevingne is a model and actress from England. One might say that Delevingne was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She is descended from two Lord Mayors of London, her maternal grandmother was lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret, and her godmother is actress Joan Collins.

“Carnival Row” is a fantasy TV show starring Orlando Bloom. The program is about mythical creatures that immigrated to a city, creating tension with the inhabitants of the metropolis.

47 Leopold’s nefarious partner : LOEB

Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were two well-heeled students at the University of Chicago who famously murdered a 14-year-old boy, apparently just on a whim, to show that they could commit the perfect crime. The crime turned out to be not quite so perfect and the pair were caught and put on trial for the murder in 1924. The trial was big news, especially after the defendants engaged high-profile attorney Clarence Darrow to represent them. In fact, the court proceedings were dubbed “The Trial of the Century”. The crime itself was the inspiration for the 1929 play called “Rope” by Patrick Hamilton, which in turn was the inspiration for the 1948 Hitchcock film of the same name.

49 Bucatini, for one : PASTA

Bucatini (also “perciatelli”) are pieces of pasta that resemble spaghetti with a hole running through the middle. The term “bucatini” comes from the Italian “buco” meaning “hole”.

51 Capital __ : ONE

Capital One is a financial services company based in McLean, Virginia. The company is known for its mass marketing of credit cards. In fact, it is one of the US Post Office’s largest customers due to the volume of direct mail solicitations sent out.

52 Source of bitter flavor in beer : HOPS

The foodstuff that we call “hops” are actually the female flowers of the hop plant. The main use of hops is to add flavor to beer. The town in which I used to live here in California was once home to the largest hop farm in the world. Most of the harvested hops were exported all the way to the breweries of London, where they could fetch the best price.

55 Greek peak : OSSA

Mount Ossa in Greece is located between Mount Pelion in the south, and the famed Mount Olympus in the north. Mount Ossa is also known as Kissavos.

57 “G2G” : TTYL

Talk to you later (ttyl)

In Internet slang and text speak, “g2g” means “got to go”, or possibly “good to go” or “get together”.

60 Wet __ : NAP

“Wet nap” is a term commonly used for a wet wipe, a manufactured paper tissue that comes pre-moistened. Wet naps are often provided after a meal at some restaurants after a finger-food dish, or perhaps as a refresher on an airplane. I think that “nap” is short for “napkin”, and that “Wet-Nap” is a brand name.

61 Tach readout : RPM

The tachometer takes its name from the Greek word “tachos” meaning “speed”. A tachometer in a car measures engine revolutions per minute (rpm).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 __ choy : BOK
4 Lines not meant for everyone : ASIDE
9 Classic sci-fi film with a pronoun title : THEM
13 “Bah!” in Bavaria : ACH!
14 Jockey, e.g. : RIDER
15 Shack : HOVEL
17 Odds that the pub is open? : CHANCE OF ALE TIME (CHANCE OF A LIFETIME with no “IF”)
20 Gorilla who learned sign language : KOKO
21 Like a rogue : SLY
22 An abundance : OODLES
23 “Su-u-ure” : I BET
25 Fla. resort : BOCA
26 Well-liked blue-state pol? : POPULAR DEM (POPULAR DEMAND with no “AND”)
30 “Conan” airer : TBS
33 Org. that launched “My MPG” in 2005 : EPA
34 Phoenix origin? : ASHES
35 Milk dispensers : TEATS
37 Variety for a truffle hunter? : LINDT
39 Even so : YET
40 “Ditto” : AS DO I
41 Alexander the Great, to Aristotle : TUTEE
42 Casino group, often : TRIBE
44 Word with bobby or bowling : PIN
45 AOL competitor : MSN
46 Where the Goddess of Pop resides? : CHER’S BLOCK (BUTCHER’S BLOCK with no “BUT”)
48 Annoying email : SPAM
50 Sweet talk : COOS
51 “Heavens to Betsy!” : OH DEAR!
54 Lead in to la-la : OOH-
56 Start of some famous last words : ET TU …
59 “I won’t hear any excuses!” … also, a clue to the three other longest Across answers : NO IFS ANDS OR BUTS
62 Spaceship Earth site : EPCOT
63 “The Tortoise and the Hare” author : AESOP
64 Reuben requirement : RYE
65 Sonic the Hedgehog owner : SEGA
66 Holy hymn : PSALM
67 They loop around the Loop : ELS

Down

1 Here again : BACK
2 Half of dieciséis : OCHO
3 Some casual wear : KHAKI PANTS
4 Bend : ARC
5 Afternoon rests : SIESTAS
6 Pop star : IDOL
7 Go against : DEFY
8 Jazz __ : ERA
9 2000s teen drama set in SoCal : THE OC
10 Much-anticipated appointments : HOT DATES
11 Good fighter? : EVIL
12 Viral video, e.g. : MEME
16 “__ Misérables” : LES
18 Restaurant chain with a signature black cod dish : NOBU
19 Device for Circe : LOOM
24 Overjoy : ELATE
25 Rouse to action : BESTIR
26 Fur piece : PELT
27 Poppy product : OPIUM
28 Blues partner : RHYTHM
29 Big name in lawn care : DEERE
31 Cause of back trouble, maybe : BAD POSTURE
32 Not easily moved : STOIC
35 Fitness system popular since the ’90s : TAE BO
36 Roll into the hole, as a putt : SINK
38 Visibility inhibitor : DENSE FOG
43 Harvard has a renowned one, briefly : B-SCHOOL
46 Delevingne of “Carnival Row” : CARA
47 Leopold’s nefarious partner : LOEB
49 Bucatini, for one : PASTA
51 Capital __ : ONE
52 Source of bitter flavor in beer : HOPS
53 More than chop : DICE
54 Poems of admiration : ODES
55 Greek peak : OSSA
57 “G2G” : TTYL
58 Employs : USES
60 Wet __ : NAP
61 Tach readout : RPM

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 26 Nov 21, Friday”

  1. No errors.. I started top left. When I got to 17A things started to get confusing.. so I went to 59A to see what was what. Got it right away… filled in all the themes but 46A right away then sat down there waiting for my BUT to appear or disappear. Clue answers like TRIBE and BESTIR eluded me for some time. BUT they fell and all was good In crossword land…

  2. No errors but when I saw Bill’s explanation for “Lindt” I kind of banged
    my head with a “duh”! as Lindt truffles are my favorite candy treats….but
    of course I thought of truffles as the in-ground fungus type thing and
    not the candy brand

  3. 11:21, 1 error (2 words). Very nearly a DNF for the nonsensical theme entries and some pretty bad cluing on top of it. Horrifically bad.

  4. 35+ minutes, 2 errors (I couldn’t remember OSSA & didn’t have the patience to A-B-C my way through O_H). That said, had a lot of fun with this and especially enjoyed the truffle clue.

  5. So much not to like with this puzzle. Perhaps my turkey-addled brain caused this dislike. We can start our complaints with the themed words. Bah!! And then proceed with the “rogue” clue and later on the “bend” clue, etc. Lazy editing, IMO.

  6. 11:17

    Really needed the theme to figure out the last three squares. Once ONCEINAL(if)ETIME come, it was a matter of finding where the missing AND, the BUT goes.

    I was relieved that the truffle type turned out to be the chocolate kind.

    BESTIR is an interesting word. OODLES is a silly one. Nice to see KOKO the gorilla.

  7. I missed the Cher’s block –couldn’t figure that out. Also, wasn’t it Penelope that used the “loom” as a device to keep the suitors away, not Circe?

    Jeri

    1. Jeri

      Yes, Penelope was known for her use of the loom to keep suitors at bay. However, Circe was also known for her weaving.

      “Weaving: Circe is an extraordinary talented weaver who works at a huge loom. In Homer’s The Odyssey, she wove a vast divine tapestry that was described as “finely-made, lovely, and shining”. In The Sea of Monsters, her hands were said to “weave colored thread back and forth with amazing skill”, and a tapestry of hers was described to shimmer like it was three-dimensional.”

  8. 16:38 with no errors or lookups is a good Friday for me. I had no problem with the themed clues. The theme was helpful to resolve 7D DEnY vs DEfY and the C in CARA as I had no idea about “Carnival Row.”

    Had to adjust DENY>DEFY, GOATS>TEATS, and METOO>SODOI>ASDOI. Using “Rogue” as a clue for SLY also seems weak to me. Had not heard the term “wet nap” before.

  9. 22:33 – maybe 6 cheats. Lotsa stuff I out-and-out just didn’t know.

    At least I got it done, for a Friday.

    Jack (where’s he been lately, hope he’s OK) mentioned once how clues seem to crop up together on the same day. I saw BESTIR in 2 other puzzles today. Hmm …

    Be Well

  10. Mostly easy Friday for me; took 16:17 with no peeks or errors. Didn’t know a few things (NOBU, THEOC, LINDT) but just filled in what I knew and waited for crosses and made careful guesses to get to the finish. Actually think I have heard of “The OC”, just never seen it.

    I was *shocked* to learn that chocolate truffles contain no actual truffles! I thought there would be at least some token amount…where’s the truth in advertisement!!

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