LA Times Crossword 29 Nov 21, Monday

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Constructed by: Kurt Krauss
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Extremism

Themed answers are common idioms citing “one extreme to the other”:

  • 17A How books are usually read : FRONT TO BACK
  • 30A How chapters in books are read : FIRST TO LAST
  • 46A How pages in chapters in books are read : TOP TO BOTTOM
  • 61A How words on pages in chapters in books are usually read : LEFT TO RIGHT

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

Bill’s time: 4m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman,” e.g. : OPERA

“The Flying Dutchman” (“Der fliegende Holländer” in German) is an opera by Richard Wagner. The title character is a sailor who is cursed to sail the seas forever on a ghostly ship. A chance for salvation comes round once every seven years, if the Dutchman is able to find a wife who loves him. The Flying Dutchman’s ghost ship ties up alongside a vessel sheltering from an icy storm. The captain of the anchored vessel has a daughter of marrying age. Complications ensue …

6 Bumbling : INEPT

If one is capable, one might jokingly be described as “ept”, the ostensible opposite of “inept”.

11 Frisk, as a suspect, with “down” : PAT …

Back in the 1500s, the verb “to frisk” meant “to dance, frolic”, a sense that carries through to our contemporary adjective “frisky”. “Frisk” somehow took on the meaning “pat down in a search” in the late 1700s.

14 Sharpen the image in the viewfinder : FOCUS

A focus (plural “foci”) is a point of convergence, or a center of activity. “Focus” is a Latin word meaning “hearth, fireplace”. I guess the idea is that the hearth is usually the focus of a room.

19 Tide competitor : ERA

Era was the first liquid laundry detergent produced by Procter & Gamble.

20 Gaming novice, in slang : NOOB

“Noob” is a not-so-nice slang term for a “newbie”, and often refers to someone who is new to an online community.

26 Female rodent, to Fernando : RATA

In Spanish, a “rata” (female rat) is the mate of a “rato” (male rat).

28 Out of the wind : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather. The sheltered side of an island, for example, might be referred to as the “lee” side.

29 Fútbol cheer : OLE!

“Fútbol” is the Spanish word for “football, soccer”.

33 Frisbee company : WHAM-O

Wham-O was founded in 1948, with the company’s first product being the Wham-O slingshot. Since then, Wham-O has marketed a string of hit toys including the Hula Hoop, Frisbee, Slip ‘N Slide, Silly String, Hacky Sack and Boogie Board.

35 New Hampshire college town that sounds peachy : KEENE

The New Hampshire city of Keene was named in 1753 after Sir Benjamin Keene, who was the British Ambassador to Spain at the time. Keene is home to Keene State College as well as Antioch University New England.

39 Sign-lettering aid : STENCIL

A stencil is a sheet of impervious material with perforations in the shape of letters or a design. The stencil is placed over a surface to be printed and then the printing medium is applied, so that the medium only attaches to the surface beneath the perforations.

43 __ Says: imitation game : SIMON

“Simon Says” is a kids’ game. The idea is for the players of the game to obey the “controller” who gives instructions. But the players should only obey when the controller uses the words, “Simon says …”. The game has very old roots, with a Latin version that uses the words “Cicero dicit fac hoc” (Cicero says do this).

45 Arcade pioneer : ATARI

Founded in 1972, electronics and video game manufacturer Atari was once the fastest-growing company in US history. However, Atari never really recovered from the video game industry crash of 1983.

Our word “arcade” comes from the Latin “arcus” meaning “arc”. The first arcades were passages made from a series of arches. This could be an avenue of trees, and eventually any covered avenue. I remember arcades lined with shops and stores when I was growing up on the other side of the Atlantic. Arcades came to be lined with lots of amusements, resulting in amusement arcades and video game arcades.

51 Western omelet meat : HAM

A Western omelet (sometimes “omelette”) is also known as a Southwest omelet or a Denver omelet. The usual ingredients include diced ham, onions and green bell peppers.

52 Mayberry boy : OPIE

Opie Taylor is the character played by Ron Howard on “The Andy Griffith Show”. Opie lives with widowed father Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) and his great-aunt Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (played by Frances Bavier). Ron Howard first played the role in 1960 in the pilot show, when he was just 5 years old. Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code”.

Mayberry is the fictional North Carolina town in which the “The Andy Griffith Show” is set. Mayberry is said to be based on Griffith’s own hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina.

53 “__ she blows!” : THAR

“Thar she blows!” is a phrase that originated on whaling ships. A lookout spotting a whale surfacing to breathe might see the spray from the blowhole caused by the expulsion of carbon dioxide. Thar (there) she blows!

54 The “A” in A.D. : ANNO

The designations Anno Domini (AD, “year of Our Lord”) and Before Christ (BC) are found in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The dividing point between AD and BC is the year of the conception of Jesus, with AD 1 following 1 BC without a year “0” in between. The AD/BC scheme dates back to AD 525, and gained wide acceptance soon after AD 800. Nowadays a modified version has become popular, with CE (Common/Christian Era) used to replace AD, and BCE (Before the Common/Christian Era) used to replace BC.

58 Old fast fliers: Abbr. : SSTS

The first supersonic transport (SST) to fly was the Tupolev Tu-144, which was constructed in the Soviet Union. The Tu-144 first flew in 1968, but did not carry passengers until 1977. The aircraft was permanently grounded as a passenger craft in 1978 due to concerns about safety (there had been two Tu-144 crashes). The second SST to fly was the Anglo-French Concorde, which operated at a profit for over 27 years until it was withdrawn from service in 2003. There was one Concorde crash, in Paris in July 2000. Since then, there have been no commercial SST services.

60 __ Arbor, Michigan : ANN

Ann Arbor, Michigan was founded in 1824 by John Allen and Elisha Rumsey. Supposedly, Allen and Rumsey originally used the name “Annsarbour” in recognition of stands of bur oak that were on the land they had purchased and in recognition of their wives, both of whom were called “Ann” (i.e. Anns’ Arbor)

66 Uruguay uncle : TIO

The official name of Uruguay is the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, which reflects the nation’s location on the eastern coast of South America. It is a relatively small country, the second-smallest on the continent, after Suriname. In 2009, Uruguay became the first country in the world to provide a free laptop and Internet access to every child. Now there’s a thought …

67 Actress Demi : MOORE

Demi Moore was born Demetria Guynes and took the name Demi Moore when she married her first husband, Freddy Moore. Moore’s second husband was Bruce Willis. She changed her name to Demi Guynes Kutcher a few years after marrying her third husband, Ashton Kutcher. However, Kutcher and Moore split in 2013.

68 “Farewell, mon ami” : ADIEU

“Adieu” is French for “goodbye, farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

69 UFO pilots : ETS

One might speculate that an unidentified flying object (UFO) is flown by an extraterrestrial (ET).

70 No right __: road sign : ON RED

If you’re sitting behind a car that doesn’t make a right on red, it may just be a rental car driven by someone from Europe. Speaking as someone who learned to drive over there, I must admit I held up a few people at red lights when I first visited this country. That’s because in Europe we aren’t allowed to make any move past a red light, unless there is an accompanying green arrow. So, if you’re driving overseas, take care …

Down

1 “We’re __ to See the Wizard” : OFF

“We’re Off to See the Wizard” is a celebrated song from the 1939 musical film “The Wizard of Oz”. It was composed by Harold Arlen, with lyrics by Yip Harburg.

2 Iberian land: Abbr. : POR

Portugal is the most westerly country in Europe, and is located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula alongside Spain. The name “Portugal” comes from the Latin “Portus Cale”, the name used by ancient Romans for Porto, now the country’s second largest city. Portugal was a far-reaching power in the 15th and 16th centuries, at the center of the world’s first truly global empire. A legacy of the Portuguese Empire is that today there are more than 240 million Portuguese speakers across the world.

The Iberian Peninsula in Europe is largely made up of Spain and Portugal. However, also included is the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrénées, a small part of the south of France, and the British Territory of Gibraltar. Iberia takes its name from the Ebro, the longest river in Spain, which the Romans named the “Iber”.

6 Weather map line : ISOBAR

An isobar is a line on a weather map connecting points of equal barometric pressure.

9 Brownish purple : PUCE

The name of the purple shade known as “puce” has a strange derivation. “Puce” came into English from French, in which language “puce” means “flea”. Supposedly, puce is the color of a flea!

10 Toll rds. often named for states : TPKS

Back in the 15th century, a turnpike (tpk.) was a defensive barrier across a road. By the 17th century the term was used for a barrier that stopped travelers until a toll was paid. By the 18th century a turnpike was the name given to a road with a toll.

11 Spanish rice dish : PAELLA

Paella is sometimes referred to as the Spanish national dish, but not by Spaniards. In Spain, paella is regarded as a typical regional dish from Valencia. The name “paella” means “frying pan” in Valencian, and is a reference to the shallow vessel traditionally used to cook the dish over an open fire.

18 Pop singer Amos : TORI

Tori Amos is an American pianist and singer. She started playing the piano at two years old, and was composing piano pieces by age five. Amos was playing in piano bars (chaperoned by her father) when she was 14. I’m going to have to find some of her music …

22 “America’s Got __” : TALENT

NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” is part of a global franchise based in the UK. The original show is called “Britain’s Got Talent”, and the whole franchise is owned by Simon Cowell. The first host of “America’s Got Talent” was Regis Philbin (2006), followed by Jerry Springer, Nick Cannon, Tyra Banks and Terry Crews.

25 Paper purchase : REAM

A ream is 500 sheets of paper. As there were 24 sheets in a quire, and 20 quires made up a ream, there used to be 480 sheets in a ream. Ever since the standard was changed to 500, a 480-sheet packet of paper has been called a “short ream”. We also use the term “reams” to mean a great amount, evolving from the idea of a lot of printed material.

31 Vietnamese New Year : TET

The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is “Tet Nguyen Dan” meaning “Feast of the First Morning”, with the reference being to the arrival of the season of spring. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

37 Embassy rep. : AMB

In the world of diplomacy, an ambassador is the representative of one head of state to another. There can only be one ambassador in an embassy. A consul, of which there may be several in an embassy, is an official representative of the government of one state in the territory of another.

40 “Let It Snow” lyricist : CAHN

“Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” is a holiday song written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne. Perhaps a little ironically, the pair wrote the song in Hollywood, California in July 1945, on one of the hottest days of the year.

41 Tehran’s land : IRAN

Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was referred to as Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

Tehran is the capital of Iran and is the largest city in the Middle East, with a population of about 8.5 million. Iran has been around a really long time and Tehran is actually the country’s 31st national capital.

42 “Stretch” vehicle : LIMO

The word “limousine” derives from the name of the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

48 Steinways, e.g. : PIANOS

Steinway & Sons is a supplier of handmade pianos based in New York City and in Hamburg, Germany. The company was founded in Manhattan in 1853 by German immigrant Henry E. Steinway. One element of Steinway’s business model is to offer a “piano bank” service. Performing artists can “borrow” a particular piano from the bank for a particular concert or tour. About 400 pianos are in the bank, and are located all over the world. The value of the bank’s collection of pianos is estimated at over $25 million.

56 Red Muppet : ELMO

The “Sesame Street” character named Elmo has a birthday every February 3rd, and on that birthday he always turns 3½ years old. The man behind/under Elmo on “Sesame Street” for many years was Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.

62 Luigi’s three : TRE

In Italian, “uno e due” (one and two) is “tre” (three).

63 Supermodel Carangi : GIA

Gia Carangi was a fashion model, one often described as the world’s first supermodel. Carangi was from Philadelphia, and had her first modelling jobs appearing in newspaper ads. She started to abuse heroin in 1980, at 20 years of age. She contracted AIDS, and died at 26 years old. Carangi was one of the first famous women to succumb to the disease, in 1986. HBO made a biopic about Carangi’s life called “Gia” in 1998. Angelina Jolie played the title role.

65 Boy king : TUT

“King Tut” is a name commonly used for the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun may not have been the most significant of the pharaohs historically, but he is the most famous today largely because of the discovery of his nearly intact tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter. Prior to this find, any Egyptian tombs uncovered by archaeologists had been ravaged by grave robbers. Tutankhamun’s magnificent burial mask is one of the most recognizable of all Egyptian artifacts.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman,” e.g. : OPERA
6 Bumbling : INEPT
11 Frisk, as a suspect, with “down” : PAT …
14 Sharpen the image in the viewfinder : FOCUS
15 Give a recap : SUM UP
16 Grow older : AGE
17 How books are usually read : FRONT TO BACK
19 Tide competitor : ERA
20 Gaming novice, in slang : NOOB
21 Snuggles : NESTLES
23 Quite : VERY
26 Female rodent, to Fernando : RATA
28 Out of the wind : ALEE
29 Fútbol cheer : OLE!
30 How chapters in books are read : FIRST TO LAST
33 Frisbee company : WHAM-O
35 New Hampshire college town that sounds peachy : KEENE
36 Akin : SIMILAR
39 Sign-lettering aid : STENCIL
43 __ Says: imitation game : SIMON
45 Arcade pioneer : ATARI
46 How pages in chapters in books are read : TOP TO BOTTOM
51 Western omelet meat : HAM
52 Mayberry boy : OPIE
53 “__ she blows!” : THAR
54 The “A” in A.D. : ANNO
55 Numbs : DEADENS
58 Old fast fliers: Abbr. : SSTS
60 __ Arbor, Michigan : ANN
61 How words on pages in chapters in books are usually read : LEFT TO RIGHT
66 Uruguay uncle : TIO
67 Actress Demi : MOORE
68 “Farewell, mon ami” : ADIEU
69 UFO pilots : ETS
70 No right __: road sign : ON RED
71 Intended : MEANT

Down

1 “We’re __ to See the Wizard” : OFF
2 Iberian land: Abbr. : POR
3 Environmentalist’s prefix : ECO-
4 Like undercooked eggs : RUNNY
5 Regarding : AS TO
6 Weather map line : ISOBAR
7 Worn-down pencil : NUB
8 Comes out of, as a scent from blossoms : EMANATES
9 Brownish purple : PUCE
10 Toll rds. often named for states : TPKS
11 Spanish rice dish : PAELLA
12 Goes along (with) : AGREES
13 Service with cups and saucers : TEA SET
18 Pop singer Amos : TORI
22 “America’s Got __” : TALENT
23 Swears : VOWS
24 K-12, for short : ELHI
25 Paper purchase : REAM
27 “Naughty, naughty!” : TSK!
30 Manuscript sheet : FOLIO
31 Vietnamese New Year : TET
32 Wee hour : ONE AM
34 Lightly sprayed : MISTED
37 Embassy rep. : AMB
38 Cheers on : ROOTS FOR
40 “Let It Snow” lyricist : CAHN
41 Tehran’s land : IRAN
42 “Stretch” vehicle : LIMO
44 Extreme degree : NTH
46 Until now : TO DATE
47 Gift giver’s cry : OPEN IT!
48 Steinways, e.g. : PIANOS
49 Sampled, as food : TASTED
50 Approximately : OR SO
54 “All kidding __ … ” : ASIDE
56 Red Muppet : ELMO
57 Brightly colored : NEON
59 Ore carrier : TRAM
62 Luigi’s three : TRE
63 Supermodel Carangi : GIA
64 Barnyard layer : HEN
65 Boy king : TUT

12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 29 Nov 21, Monday”

  1. Got ahead of myself.. stuck TONI in for TORI on 18D..
    I thought NATA looked funny for 26A.
    Happy cyber monday!!!

  2. Gotta love the Monday puzzle! 7:17 with no lookups or errors. Clever theme in how it adds a level of detail to each successive clue about reading a book.

  3. Enjoyable easy puzzle, but like Mike A. above, didn’t know Tori Amos (18d) or Noob (20a). Good news, one look up solved both!

  4. 4:34 – my all-time record! No peeks/errors

    Aw, just missed Bill by 5 secs.

    @Glenn – 3:26 – Holy cow, I can’t even type that fast! WTG!

    Thought this was the easiest LAX Monday I ever saw. Either that, or they picked the words I knew …

    Be Well

    1. Way to go on the PR. 🙂 I think on times, especially on Mondays, a lot of it starts becoming more *how* you do a puzzle than whether you know the answers or not. Believe it or not, a lot of people can do half what I posted (you can find examples on Youtube even). I know entry speed is a factor, but can’t be *that* much of one.

      Anyway, I’m not into this to compete but just better myself. As far as others go, I’m always happy to see them succeed on here. No matter what level they’re at, skill-wise.

  5. Nice and easy Monday; took 5:53 with no peeks or errors. Didn’t know KEENE and GIA but they were almost unnoticeable with crosses.

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