LA Times Crossword 27 Nov 21, Saturday

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Constructed by: Steve Mossberg
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 14m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Wild way to go : BANANAS

The expression “to go bananas” is one that I would have imagined had a clear etymology but that doesn’t seem to be the case. A further surprise is that we’ve only been “going bananas” since the sixties, in the days of flower power. One apt theory about the hippy roots of the phrase is that there was an unfounded belief that ingesting roasted banana peels had a similar hallucinogenic effect as magic mushrooms.

8 Holds up : STYMIES

The word “stymie” comes from golf, and is a situation in which one’s approach to the hole is blocked by an opponent’s ball. We use the term more broadly as a verb to describe standing in the way of something.

22 Monk famed for his unorthodox piano playing : THELONIOUS

Thelonious Monk was a jazz pianist and composer, actually the second-most recorded jazz composer after the great Duke Ellington. That’s a pretty impressive statistic given that Ellington wrote more than 1,000 songs, whereas Monk only wrote about 70. Monk was a pioneer in the development of the jazz style called “bebop”, which gained popularity in the 1940s.

25 Samantha Bee’s network : TBS

Samantha Bee is a comedian from Toronto who found fame as a correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” starting way back in 2003. Bee left “The Daily Show” in 2015 to host her own late-night talk show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” on TBS.

29 Race on skis : SUPER G

Super Giant Slalom (Super G) is an alpine skiing event introduced in 1982. The Super G isn’t as fast as its sister event the Downhill, but is faster than the more technical Giant Slalom.

32 Impressive six-pack : RIPPED ABS

The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They might be referred to as a “six-pack”, or even a “ten-pack”, in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …

36 “The Simpsons” waiter first voiced by George Takei : AKIRA

The character Akira on “The Simpsons” is a waiter working at a Japanese restaurant called the Happy Sumo. The name “Akira” is a nod to Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. The cartoon character was originally (and more recently as well) voiced by George Takei, as well as by Hank Azaria.

Mr. Hikaru Sulu was played by George Takei in the original “Star Trek” series. Takei has played lots of roles over the years, and is still very active in television. Did you know that he appeared in the 1963 film, “Pt-109”? He played the helmsman steering the Japanese destroyer that ran down John F. Kennedy’s motor torpedo boat. From destroyer helmsman to starship helmsman …

37 Small seal : PUP

Male seals are called bulls, females are cows, and babies are pups. A group of seals comprising one or two males, with several females and their offspring, is known as a harem.

38 Aptly named subsidiary of American Eagle Outfitters : AERIE

Aerie (stylized as “aerie”) is a retailer of lingerie and general undergarments that was founded in 2006. Aptly enough, Aerie was initially a sub-brand of American Eagle. The name “Aerie” comes from “American Eagle lingerie”).

39 Wrestler John : CENA

John Cena is a professional wrestler turned rapper and actor. Although wrestling, rapping and “Cena-style” movies wouldn’t be my cup of tea, I have to admire Cena’s philanthropic record. He holds the title for the most wishes granted by a single individual for the Make-A-Wish Foundation that benefits children with life-threatening medical conditions.

46 Gossip, in modern parlance : TEA

“Tea” is a slang term used mainly in social media to denote “gossip”.

52 Swizzle : STIR

“Swizzle” drinks date back to the early 1800s. The drink gave rise to the verb “to swizzle” to mean “to stir” from the mid-1800s. The drink also gave the name to the swizzle stick, which was introduced in cocktails in 1933. I drank a rum swizzle or two on the island of Bermuda many years ago, and very nice they are too. They are so popular in Bermuda that the swizzle is often called the island’s national drink.

53 Least common hit : TRIPLE

That would be baseball.

57 Orange liqueur cocktail : SIDECAR

The sidecar is one of my very favorite cocktails. It was invented around the end of WWI, possibly in the Ritz Hotel in Paris. It’s a simple drink to make, and contains brandy, cointreau or triple sec, and lemon or lime juice. It’s really the brandy version of a margarita (or vice versa).

60 Qatar, for one : EMIRATE

Qatar is a sovereign state in the Middle East occupying the Qatar Peninsula, itself located in the Arabian Peninsula. Qatar lies on the Persian Gulf and shares one land border, with Saudi Arabia to the south. Qatar has more oil and gas reserves per capita of population than any other country in the world. In 2010, Qatar had the fastest growing economy in the world, driven by the petrochemical industry. Qatar is scheduled to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, although the nation’s eligibility to do so is under question after a far-reaching bribery scandal was uncovered at the sport’s governing body.

Down

2 Charging option : AMEX

“Amex” is short for “American Express”, the name of the financial services company that is best known for its credit card, charge card and traveler’s check businesses. The company name is indicative of its original business. American Express was founded in 1850 in Buffalo, New York as an express mail service.

5 View from The Hague : NORTH SEA

“Den Haag” is the Dutch name for the city in the Netherlands that we know in English as “The Hague”. Even though the Hague is the seat of the Dutch parliament and is where Queen Beatrix resides, it is not the country’s capital city. That honor goes to Amsterdam.

The North Sea is an offshoot of the Atlantic Ocean that is located between Britain and Scandinavia.

6 Palate cleanser at Indian restaurants : ANISEED

Liquorice (also “licorice”) and aniseed have similar flavors, but they come from unrelated plants. The liquorice plant is a legume like a bean, and the sweet flavor is an extract from the roots. The flavor mainly comes from an ether compound called anethole, the same substance that gives the distinctive flavor to anise. The seedpods of the anise plant are what we know as “aniseed”. The anise seeds themselves are usually ground to release the flavor.

8 Hofbräuhaus vessel : STEIN

A stein is a type of beer glass. The term “stein” is German in origin, and is short for “Steinkrug” meaning “stone jug”. “Stein” is German for “stone”.

Hofbräuhaus is a state-owned brewery located in Munich that owns the “HB” brand of beers. Munich’s Hofbräuhaus am Platzl is a world-famous beer hall that is a major tourist attraction in the city. It was also the location where Adolf Hitler made a speech that effectively founded the Nazi Party in 1919.

9 To wit : THAT IS

The verb “to wit” means “to know”. The verb really isn’t used anymore except in the phrase “to wit” meaning “that is to say, namely”.

11 Whitman who voices Tinker Bell in the Disney Fairies franchise : MAE

Actress Mae Whitman played “the daughter” in some successful movies early in her career. She was Meg Ryan’s daughter in “When a Man Loves a Woman”, George Clooney’s daughter in “One Fine Day” and Bill Pullman’s daughter in “Independence Day”. More recently, she played the lead in the 2015 teen comedy film “The Duff”.

13 Multi-instrumentalist McKeown : ERIN

Erin McKeown is an American folk-rock singer-songwriter. She graduated from Brown University with a degree in ethnomusicology, after switching majors from ornithology!

20 Pinball component that keeps the ball moving : POP BUMPER

Our modern game of pinball evolved from an earlier table game called bagatelle that used balls, pins and holes (and I remember playing bagatelle as a boy in a pub in Ireland). The first pinball machine was made by a British inventor who settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. He modified the game of bagatelle, adding a coiled spring and a plunger to introduce balls at the end of the table, a device that is still in use today. From there, manufacturers developed coin-operated versions of pinball, which became popular during the depression as they provided a little entertainment for a few pennies. One distributor of the coin-operated pinball machines started manufacturing them himself as he couldn’t source new games fast enough. He called his pinball game Ballyhoo, and eventually named his company Bally, a brand name well known in the gambling industry to this day.

26 Hog lover : BIKER

The Harley-Davidson motorcycle company was founded in the very early 1900s by two childhood friends, William Harley and Arthur Davidson, . Their first design was in effect an engine hooked up to a pedal bicycle, but the 116 cc cylinder capacity simply couldn’t generate enough power to get up the hills of their native city of Milwaukee. The pair came up with a redesigned model that had a cylinder capacity of 405 cc, which the partners built in a shed at the back of Davidson’s house. In 1906, the partners built their first factory, located where the company’s headquarters is to this day, on Juneau Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Famously, Harley motorcycles are nicknamed “hogs”.

31 “Little Women” (2019) writer/director Gerwig : GRETA

Greta Gerwig is an actress from Sacramento whose best-known role is probably opposite Russell Brand in the remake of the film “Arthur”. Gerwig has turned to directing, and was at the helm for the 2019 movie “Little Women”.

The 2019 big-screen adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Acanlen as the March sisters. This one was very well received by critics and audiences alike.

33 Sanskrit for “life force” : PRANA

“Prana” is a Sanskrit word meaning “breath, life force”.

38 Leia’s home planet : ALDERAAN

The full name of the character played by Carrie Fisher in the “Star Wars” series of films is Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, and later Leia Organa Solo. Leia is the twin sister of Luke Skywalker, and the daughter of Anakin Skywalker (aka “Darth Vader”) and Padmé Amidala. Leia is raised by her adoptive parents Bail and Breha Organa. She eventually marries Han Solo.

43 ER procedure : CT SCAN

A CT (or “CAT”) scan produces (via computer manipulation) a three-dimensional image of the inside of an object, usually the human body. It does so by taking a series of two dimensional x-ray images while rotating the camera around the patient. The issue with CT scans is that they use x-rays. High doses of radiation can be harmful, causing damage that is cumulative over time.

51 California’s __ Valley : SIMI

Simi Valley, California is perhaps best known as home to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The library is a great place to visit, and there you can tour one of the retired Air Force One planes.

54 Shoddy : POOR

Something described as shoddy is of inferior quality, especially if it has a deluasive appearance of high quality.

55 Breather : LUNG

The lungs are the two main organs in the human respiratory system. It is in the lungs that oxygen is extracted from the air and transferred into the bloodstream. At the same time, carbon dioxide is removed from the bloodstream and released into the atmosphere.

56 Modern artisan marketplace : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

59 Church based in SLC, Utah : LDS

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is known colloquially as the Mormon Church.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Wild way to go : BANANAS
8 Holds up : STYMIES
15 Suggestive comment to a nearby lover : I’M ALONE
16 Overseas play area? : THEATRE
17 Bad mark : DEMERIT
18 Enters gingerly : EASES IN
19 Wields : EXERTS
20 __ party : PITY
21 “There’s more, right?” : AND?
22 Monk famed for his unorthodox piano playing : THELONIOUS
25 Samantha Bee’s network : TBS
28 Go very slowly : SEEP
29 Race on skis : SUPER G
32 Impressive six-pack : RIPPED ABS
35 Reminder of a bad scrape : SCAR
36 “The Simpsons” waiter first voiced by George Takei : AKIRA
37 Small seal : PUP
38 Aptly named subsidiary of American Eagle Outfitters : AERIE
39 Wrestler John : CENA
40 Common sense approach to determining authenticity : SMELL TEST
42 Blank state : TRANCE
45 Walk with effort : PLOD
46 Gossip, in modern parlance : TEA
47 Adoption site : CAT SHELTER
50 Work the aisles, slangily : USH
52 Swizzle : STIR
53 Least common hit : TRIPLE
57 Orange liqueur cocktail : SIDECAR
59 Show the door : LEAD OUT
60 Qatar, for one : EMIRATE
61 Fantasy beasts : DRAGONS
62 No longer green, perhaps : RIPENED
63 Working well with others : SYNERGY

Down

1 Wait for : BIDE
2 Charging option : AMEX
3 Reputation : NAME
4 Heads-up : ALERT
5 View from The Hague : NORTH SEA
6 Palate cleanser at Indian restaurants : ANISEED
7 A concert may feature one or more : SET
8 Hofbräuhaus vessel : STEIN
9 To wit : THAT IS
10 Finger-pointing words : YES, YOU
11 Whitman who voices Tinker Bell in the Disney Fairies franchise : MAE
12 “No telling” : IT’S A SECRET
13 Multi-instrumentalist McKeown : ERIN
14 Mail : SEND
20 Pinball component that keeps the ball moving : POP BUMPER
23 Vaults : LEAPS
24 Knock over : UPSET
25 Development site : TRACT
26 Hog lover : BIKER
27 Iron-rich potluck staple : SPINACH DIP
30 Up : RAISE
31 “Little Women” (2019) writer/director Gerwig : GRETA
33 Sanskrit for “life force” : PRANA
34 One often cast in fantasy movies : SPELL
38 Leia’s home planet : ALDERAAN
41 Hard-to-win game : LOTTERY
43 ER procedure : CT SCAN
44 Type of sale frequented by antiquers : ESTATE
48 Brought on board : HIRED
49 Chip feature, maybe : RIDGE
50 App buyer : USER
51 California’s __ Valley : SIMI
54 Shoddy : POOR
55 Breather : LUNG
56 Modern artisan marketplace : ETSY
58 Poetic preposition : ERE
59 Church based in SLC, Utah : LDS

20 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 27 Nov 21, Saturday”

  1. 17:25, no errors. Nice difficulty and challenge, but not without it’s problems given the origins I suspect this puzzle has.

    @Lou lu
    I miss seeing Jack and John Daigle around. Definitely admire them both.

  2. I was okay until I hit the intersection of THELONIOUS and POPBUMPER.. I played a lot of pinball in my day but I never heard POPBUMPER….

    Never heard of PRANA..

    took a long time.. almost an hour .. but NO ERRORS.. wowza..

  3. LAT: Almost an hour and a half. Quite a struggle but surprisingly no errors in spite of several guesses. The upper (NE) corner down to the middle right (E) caused me half my time.

  4. Hard to imagine a more worthless set of clues. DNF, not even close.

    And POPBUMPER?? No one has “ever heard of it”.

    I will extend some credit for working “Thelonious” into the grid … but the rest of the grid was utter garbage.

  5. “it’s” always means “it is” or “it has.”
    Took me nearly 37 minutes. Also never heard of pop bumper along with several other things in this puzzle.

    1. “It’s” always means “it is” or “it has.”

      And? (Which is to say: I don’t see the relevance of your comment.)

      If you’re referring to 12-Down: “No telling!” and “It’s a secret!” are equivalent phrases that might be used to warn someone not to talk about a particular issue.

  6. Put down the puzzle to try and clear my head for the NW corner. After my weekly Trader Joe’s run I came home and got it straightened out when I scratched out Visa and twigged to Amex. That got me going and then the grid was done.

  7. 38:27 – 3 or 4 lookups.

    And for me, darn proud of it! I’m gettin’ there.

    One of my first Saturdays that was not a “technical DNF.” I’m gettin’ there.

    As a jazz enthusiast it took me wayyyy too long to see THELONIOUS ….

    I put far too many quarters in pinball machines in my sordid past, and I never heard of a POPBUMPER either, but got the crosses. The “BUMPER” part was easy.

    Be Well.

  8. 1 error where 2 foreign words cross…what else is new?
    I have been really struggling with crosswords lately.
    Stay safe😀

  9. My 1st thought for 32A “Impressive six-pack” was the standard description “washboard”. It fit so I inked it in. Everything went downhill from there. It didn’t help when I put “pet shelter” instead of “cat shelter” for 47A. This puzzle was not my cup of tea.

  10. Too tough for me today; took 41:24 before I called it a day with about 70% fill that was almost all right. Too many things I had no idea on (ANISEED, MAE, ERIN, TBS, PRANA, ALDERAAN, TEA, AKIRA) and some I only kind of knew (CENA, USH. _OPBUMPER). Also tried tOP BUMPER and then bOP BUMPER. I actually guessed BANANAS right away, but never put it in…sigh! Live and learn.

  11. Gaah! What a struggle this one was, esp. with the NW corner and W side. A little stymied in other areas. Started it on Saturday and came back to it on Sunday – 37:46 with lookups for “Wild way to go” (BECRAZY wasn’t it) and “Sanskrit for life force” (KARMA wasn’t it).

    Had to change out the two above, and DEEPLUS>DEMERIT, ATLANTIC>NORTHSEA, SLALOM>SUPERG, PETSHELTER>CATSHELTER, REST>LUNG, RIPERED>RIPENED. Did not know of Erin McKeown, Simpsons’ Akira, Prana, pop bumper (it’s just a bumper), or that “tea” is gossip; and “ush” is just an answer looking for a clue.

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