LA Times Crossword 5 Nov 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Gary Larson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Furniture for Whom?

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as specific items of furniture:

  • 18A Furniture for an angler? : WATER TABLE
  • 22A Furniture for an efficiency expert? : SNAPPY DRESSER
  • 49A Furniture for a military officer? : SERVICE BUREAU
  • 56A Furniture for an event planner? : PARTY CHAIR

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

Bill’s time: 11m 20s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Mex. title : SRTA

“Señorita” (Srta.) is Spanish, and “Mademoiselle” (Mlle.) is French, for “Miss”.

15 “That’s __”: 1953 Top 10 hit : AMORE

“That’s Amore” is a pop standard written by Harry Warren and Jack Brooks in 1952. “That’s Amore” became the signature song for Dean Martin after he sang it (with some help from Jerry Lewis) in the 1953 comedy film “The Caddy”. “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore …”

17 Stuffing ingredient : SAGE

In Britain and Ireland, sage is listed as one of the four essential herbs. And those would be “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”.

18 Furniture for an angler? : WATER TABLE

We use the verb “to angle” to mean “to fish” because “angel” is an Old English word meaning “hook”.

20 German article : EINE

“Eine” is the German indefinite article used with feminine nouns.

30 Small game pieces : PAWNS

In the game of chess, the pawns are the weakest pieces on the board. A pawn that can make it to the opposite side of the board can be promoted to a piece of choice, usually a queen. Using promotion of pawns, it is possible for a player to have two or more queens on the board at one time. However, standard chess sets come with only one queen per side, so a captured rook is often used as the second queen by placing it on the board upside down.

32 Alphabetically fifth of Santa’s reindeer : DASHER

In the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, better known today by its first line “‘Twas the night before Christmas”, the narrator lists for us the names of Santa’s reindeer:

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!

42 Family group : MAFIA

Apparently, “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn several members of the American Mafia. The Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “Mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

55 Anna Pigeon mystery series writer Nevada __ : BARR

Nevada Barr is an author noted for her series of mystery novels set in National Parks that feature the park ranger and detective Anna Pigeon.

61 Actress Knightley : KEIRA

English actress Keira Knightley had her big break in the movies when she co-starred in 2002’s “Bend It Like Beckham”. Knightley played one of my favorite movie roles, Elizabeth Bennett in 2005’s “Pride and Prejudice”. Knightley won a Golden Globe for that performance, although that 2005 film isn’t the best adaptation of Austen’s novel in my humble opinion …

63 Red ink : LOSS

To be in the red is to be in debt, to owe money. The expression “in the red” is a reference to the accounting practice of recording debts and losses in red ink in ledgers. The related phrase “in the black” means “solvent, making a profit”.

65 White-tailed shore bird : ERNE

The ern (sometimes “erne”) is also known as the white-tailed eagle or the sea eagle.

Down

2 Illusionist David known for death-defying stunts : BLAINE

David Blaine is an illusionist from New York who is perhaps best known for his well-publicized feats of endurance and breaking of world records.

3 Hennessy product : COGNAC

Cognac is a famous variety of brandy named after the commune of Cognac in the very west of France. To be called “Cognac”, the brandy must be distilled twice in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in very specific French oak barrels.

4 Remove with a broom : SWEEP UP

The sweeping implement known as a “broom” used to be called a “besom”. A besom was made from a bundle of twigs tied to a stouter pole. The favored source for the twigs came from thorny shrubs from the genus Genista. The common term for many species of Genista is “broom”. Over time, “broom besoms” came to be known simply as “brooms”.

5 __ of diminishing returns : LAW

The law of diminishing returns is a theory from economics. Oversimplifying, the principle is that the more you use something, the less value you get from it. A real life example might be the addition of waitstaff to a restaurant. Adding a waiter or waitress might allow more customers to be served, reducing the time customers have to wait for a table, and hence increasing profits. Adding another waitperson might also allow more customers to be served, but now the wait time for tables has little impact on customer demand, and so profit increases, but by as much. Adding yet another wait person will have less impact on profit, and may even cause profits to decline.

6 First name in “Pulp Fiction” credits : UMA

Robert Thurman was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Robert raised his children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and called his daughter “Uma” as it is a phonetic spelling of the Buddhist name “Dbuma”. Uma’s big break in the movies came with her starring role in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 hit “Pulp Fiction”. My favorite Uma Thurman film is the wonderful 1996 romantic comedy “The Truth About Cats and Dogs”.

I’m not a big fan of director Quentin Tarantino, nor his work. His movies are too violent for me, and the size of his ego just turns me right off. Having said that, I think “Pulp Fiction” is a remarkable film. If you can look past the violence, it’s really well written. And what a legacy it has. John Travolta’s career was on the rocks and he did the film for practically no money, and it turned out to be a re-launch for him. Uma Thurman became a top celebrity overnight from her role. Even Bruce Willis got some good out of it, putting an end to a string of poorly-received performances.

7 Turbine part : ROTOR

A turbine is a machine that uses the flow of a fluid (sometimes air) to create rotational work. Simple examples of turbines are windmills and waterwheels.

8 __ paper : CREPE

Crêpe paper is tissue paper treated with a glue-like material in order to give it a crisp and crimped texture similar to crêpe fabric.

9 “__ a bottle and an honest friend!” : HERE’S

“A Bottle and Friend” is a 1787 song written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns:

There’s nane that’s blest of human kind,
But the cheerful and the gay, man,
Fal, la, la, &c.

Here’s a bottle and an honest friend!
What wad ye wish for mair, man?
Wha kens, before his life may end,
What his share may be o’ care, man?

Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, man:
Believe me, happiness is shy,
And comes not aye when sought, man.

19 Heavy wts. : TNS

Here in the US, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. In the UK, a ton is 2,240 pounds. The UK unit is sometimes referred to as an Imperial ton, long ton or gross ton. Folks over there refer to the US ton then as a short ton. To further complicate matters, there is also a metric ton or tonne, which is equivalent to 2,204 pounds. Personally, I wish we’d just stick to kilograms …

24 Two-masters : YAWLS

A yawl is a two-masted sailing vessel. There is a main mast forward, and a smaller mizzen mast close to the stern. A yawl is similar to a ketch, in that both rigs have two masts. The mizzen mast is forward of the rudderpost in a ketch, and aft of the rudderpost in a yawl.

25 1962 villain played by Joseph Wiseman : DR NO

Canadian actor Joseph Wiseman was perhaps best known for playing the original “James Bond” supervillain, portraying the title character in the 1962 movie “Dr. No”.

“Dr. No” may have been the first film in the wildly successful James Bond franchise, but it was the sixth novel in the series of books penned by Ian Fleming. Fleming was inspired to write the story after reading the Fu Manchu tales by Sax Rohmer. If you’ve read the Rohmer books or seen the films, you’ll recognize the similarities between the characters Dr. Julius No and Fu Manchu. By the way, the author Ian Fleming tells us that Julius No attended medical school in Milwaukee.

29 Hindu title : SRI

“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.

31 Short beer order : SAM

Samuel Adams beers (sometimes ordered as “Sam Adams”) are named in honor of the American patriot who played a role in the American Revolution and the Boston Tea Party. Samuel Adams came from a family associated with the brewing industry, mainly involved in the production of malt.

32 Emergency room treatment, for short : DEFIB

You might find a defibrillator (defib.) in an emergency room (ER) of a hospital.

33 Parting word : ADIEU

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

34 Hieroglyphics creature : ASP

The prefix “hiero-” comes from the Greek word “hieros” meaning sacred or holy. The classic use of the prefix is in the term “hieroglyphics” (meaning “sacred carving”), the writing system that uses symbols and pictures.

35 One of a peppery trio? : PEE

There is a trio of letters P (pees) in the word “peppery”.

41 Aptly named backing group for the Turners : IKETTES

The Ikettes were the female backing vocalists for the Ike & Tina Turner Revue in the sixties. The Ikettes replaced the Artettes in 1960.

47 Yankee Don who pitched the only no-hitter (a perfect game) in World Series history : LARSEN

The only perfect game thrown during a World Series took place in 1956. Don Larsen of the New York Yankees threw a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5. There’s a famous video clip depicting the game’s catcher, Yogi Berra, leaping into Larsen’s arms after the last out.

48 Iceland is in it : EUROPE

The continent of Europe was named for Europa, a Phoenician princess of Greek mythology.

Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in the whole of Europe, with two-thirds of the nation’s population residing in and around the capital city of Reykjavik. Iceland was settled by the Norse people in AD 874, and was ruled for centuries by Norway and then Denmark. Iceland became independent in 1918, and has been a republic since 1944. Iceland is not a member of the EU but is a member of NATO, having joined in 1949 despite not having a standing army.

50 Letters after either Cowboy St. senator’s name : R-WY

Republican – Wyoming (R-WY)

Wyoming is nicknamed the “Equality State”, and the state’s motto is “equal rights”. Wyoming was the first state to give women the vote, and the first to allow women to serve on juries. It was also the first state to have a female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, who took office in 1925. Unofficially, Wyoming is also referred to as the “Cowboy State”.

John Barrasso is a US senator from Wyoming, and has been in office since 2007. Barrasso is a physician, receiving his MD degree in 1978 from Georgetown. In that capacity, he also worked as a rodeo physician for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Senator Barrasso still authors a regular newspaper column called “Keeping Wyoming Healthy”.

Cynthia Lummis became a US senator from Wyoming in 2021, and in so doing became the first woman to represent the state in the US Senate.

51 Maker of NyQuil and DayQuil : VICKS

Vicks is a brand of medications manufactured by Procter & Gamble. The range of Vicks products includes NyQuil and DayQuil, and VapoRub.

52 “… __ wed” : I THEE

“With this ring, I thee wed”.

54 Technology start : NANO-

Nanotechnology is the study of the manipulation of matter at the atomic and molecular level. Nanotechnology is essential to the electronic and biomaterials industries.

57 Org. that takes many forms : IRS

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

58 Issa of “Awkward Black Girl” : RAE

Issa Rae is a Stanford University graduate who created a YouTube web series called “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl”. Rae also plays the title role in the series, a young lady named “J”. “Awkward Black Girl” was adapted into an HBO comedy-drama called “Insecure”, in which Issa Rae stars.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Simple starts : ABCS
5 Move unsteadily : LURCH
10 Mex. title : SRTA
14 Yawn-inducing : SLOW
15 “That’s __”: 1953 Top 10 hit : AMORE
16 Close relative, often : HEIR
17 Stuffing ingredient : SAGE
18 Furniture for an angler? : WATER TABLE
20 German article : EINE
21 Kind of barbecue : OPEN-PIT
22 Furniture for an efficiency expert? : SNAPPY DRESSER
26 Worldly : SECULAR
27 Highways: Abbr. : RTES
30 Small game pieces : PAWNS
32 Alphabetically fifth of Santa’s reindeer : DASHER
34 Phone download : APP
37 Hidden : CLOAKED
39 One attached to a binding, perhaps : SKI
40 Organized set : SERIES
42 Family group : MAFIA
44 Cheat, in a way : PEEK
45 Gather dust : LIE IDLE
49 Furniture for a military officer? : SERVICE BUREAU
54 Against : NOT WITH
55 Anna Pigeon mystery series writer Nevada __ : BARR
56 Furniture for an event planner? : PARTY CHAIR
59 Plus : ALSO
60 You won’t get cards without it : ANTE
61 Actress Knightley : KEIRA
62 Barely go (through) : SEEP
63 Red ink : LOSS
64 Touch, say : SENSE
65 White-tailed shore bird : ERNE

Down

1 Weigh : ASSESS
2 Illusionist David known for death-defying stunts : BLAINE
3 Hennessy product : COGNAC
4 Remove with a broom : SWEEP UP
5 __ of diminishing returns : LAW
6 First name in “Pulp Fiction” credits : UMA
7 Turbine part : ROTOR
8 __ paper : CREPE
9 “__ a bottle and an honest friend!” : HERE’S
10 Woodworking tools : SHAPERS
11 New beginnings : REBIRTHS
12 List : TILT
13 Equals : ARE
19 Heavy wts. : TNS
23 Word after fire or first : … PLACE
24 Two-masters : YAWLS
25 1962 villain played by Joseph Wiseman : DR NO
28 Startled cry : EEK!
29 Hindu title : SRI
31 Short beer order : SAM
32 Emergency room treatment, for short : DEFIB
33 Parting word : ADIEU
34 Hieroglyphics creature : ASP
35 One of a peppery trio? : PEE
36 Does a laundry task : PRESORTS
38 Mustard family member : KALE
41 Aptly named backing group for the Turners : IKETTES
43 Flight center : AIRBASE
46 Place to get wheels : DEALER
47 Yankee Don who pitched the only no-hitter (a perfect game) in World Series history : LARSEN
48 Iceland is in it : EUROPE
50 Letters after either Cowboy St. senator’s name : R-WY
51 Maker of NyQuil and DayQuil : VICKS
52 “… __ wed” : I THEE
53 Mountain __ : CHAIN
54 Technology start : NANO-
56 Amigo : PAL
57 Org. that takes many forms : IRS
58 Issa of “Awkward Black Girl” : RAE

12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 5 Nov 21, Friday”

  1. Got me again today. 37A I had CLOUDED. That gave me SUM for 31D and DALE for 38D. SAM sure seems obvious now! KALE makes more sense also. All of it crucial to the center of the grid.

    Just missed it by that much!

  2. All the pathetic old alchys reaching for another snifter of cognac are doubtless inspired to imbibe by today’s clue.

  3. 33:28

    Difficult. My brain was simply not on the same wavelength as the theme. There were several places where I nearly did a lookup, but managed to brute force my way through the alphabet to find the right letter.

    Today I learned about Nevada BARR, YAWLS, the IKETTES, and Don LARSEN.

  4. I found yesterday’s puzzle to be harder than today’s for whatever reason. Since Bill’s solve time was almost 2 minutes greater today than yesterday I doubt he would agree with me. It’s funny how some days your mind just clicks to the answer and other days you struggle like a horse in deep mud. Neigh I say!

  5. Boy, this one was tough – 32:43 but with no errors or lookups. Nothing was coming to me until the bottom sections, a slow to back to the top, and then finished in the middle. Several answers took a while for an answer to come due to unfamiliarity or too many possibilities.

    Had to alter several first guesses: DULL>SLOW, BLADE>ROTOR, APE>ASP, SITIDLE>LIEIDLE, DEAL>ANTE, DEBT>LOSS, KIREA>KEIRA, TERN>ERNE. Like @Pam in MA, just on a different wavelength than the constructor.

    1. Can someone please explain why “equals” is “are”? I must be missing something, because I keep thinking “equals” should be “is,” and “equal” would have been “are.”

  6. 19 minutes, 18 seconds, and no errors. Wasn’t sure I could finish this one. Then, I was surprised when the finished dialog suddenly appeared. Just tough, and full of clues that were not that helpful.

  7. Tough but in the end doable Friday; took 48:01 with no errors or peeks, but just barely. Had to pull BLAINE from somewhere and just made a good guess on BARR. Changed brandy to COGNAC and pbr to SAM. Finally finished on SERVICE…, VICKS and CHAIN.

    Started to relax and get a snack when things slowed down and it became apparent that it wasn’t going to come easily. Still, easier than yesterday for me too. Theme helped!

    Sailed on plenty of sloops and ketches but never a yawl or a schooner (although I’ve drank a few of those).

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