LA Times Crossword 8 Nov 21, Monday

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Constructed by: Jerry Edelstein
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Chance Encounter

We ENCOUNTER a kind of CHANCE at the end of each themed answer:

  • 60A Bumping into someone, say … and what the end of each answer to a starred clue can have? : CHANCE ENCOUNTER
  • 17A *Swing from the get-go : COME OUT FIGHTING (giving “fighting chance”)
  • 23A *Well-made : BUILT TO LAST (giving “last chance”)
  • 30A *Early pudginess usually lost by one’s teens : BABY FAT (giving “fat chance”)
  • 43A *Continue to avoid, as alcohol : STAY OFF (giving “off chance”)
  • 47A *”Don’t go yet” : WAIT A SECOND (giving “second chance”)

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

Bill’s time: 6m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Fictional hero raised by apes : TARZAN

In the stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes was actually Englishman John Clayton, Viscount Greystoke.

7 URL letters after two slashes : … WWW

In essence, the World Wide Web (WWW) is a vast collection of documents that is accessible using the Internet, with each document containing hyperlinks which point to other documents in the collection. So the “Web” is different from the Internet, although the terms are often used interchangeably. The Web is a collection of documents, and the Internet is a global network of computers on which the documents reside. The Web was effectively the invention of British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The key to Berner-Lee’s invention was bringing together two technologies that already existed: hypertext and the Internet. I, for one, am very grateful …

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a uniform resource locator (URL).

14 Single-celled creature : AMOEBA

An ameba (also “amoeba”) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

16 Pizza cooker : OVEN

Pizza was invented in Naples, where it has a long tradition that goes back to ancient Rome. During an 1889 visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Savoy was served a special pizza that was created with toppings designed to mimic the colors of the Italian flag. The ingredients of tomato (red), mozzarella (white) and basil (green) can still be found together on menus today, on a pie usually named Pizza Margherita after the queen. I do love basil on my pizza …

22 Mookie of the Dodgers : BETTS

Mookie Betts is a professional baseball outfielder from Nashville who was drafted by the Red Sox in 2011. Betts is also a professional bowler, and has competed in the PBA’s World Series of Bowling. He has bowled several perfect (300) games.

25 Make amends : ATONE

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

29 Wallach or Whitney : ELI

Eli Wallach appeared consistently and made great performances on the big and small screens from the 1950s onwards. Wallach’s most famous role was probably “the Ugly” in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. More recently he gave a very strong performance in 2006’s “The Holiday”. Sadly, Wallach passed away in June 2014, at the age of 98.

Inventor Eli Whitney is best known for inventing the cotton gin. Whitney also came up with the important concept of “interchangeable parts”. Parts that are interchangeable can be swapped out of equipment or perhaps used in related designs.

30 *Early pudginess usually lost by one’s teens : BABY FAT (giving “fat chance”)

“Fat chance” means “there’s only a slim chance”, somewhat paradoxically …

35 Econ. yardstick : GDP

A country’s Gross National Product (GNP) is the value of all services and products produced by its residents in a particular year. GNP includes all production wherever it is in the world, as long as the business is owned by residents of the country concerned. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is different, although related, and is the value of all services and goods produced within the borders of the country for that year.

38 Timeworn phrase : BROMIDE

A bromide is a compound containing a bromide ion i.e. a bromine atom with a singular negative charge. Potassium bromide was commonly used as a sedative in the 19th century, and this led to our use of the term “bromide” to mean “boring cliché” or “verbal sedative”.

42 Can metal : TIN

The Latin word for tin is “stannum”, and so tin’s atomic symbol is “Sn”. One of the ores used as a source of tin is “stannite”.

44 Pigs out (on), briefly : ODS

Overdose (OD)

54 Lou Grant portrayer Ed : ASNER

The character Lou Grant originated on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. Grant was Mary Richards’ boss at WJM-TV in Minneapolis, and was played by Ed Asner. As Lou Grant, Asner is the only actor ever to win a comedy and drama Emmy for playing the same character.

55 __-Rooter : ROTO

The Roto-Rooter is an invention of Samuel Oscar Blanc. Blanc came up with the idea in 1933 after having to deal with a sewer line in his son’s apartment that was blocked with roots from a tree, a common problem. He put together his first version of the device using a washing machine motor, roller skate wheels and a steel cable. The “rotating rooter” snaked down the sewer line, and rotating blades at the tip of the cable cut through the troublesome roots. Blanc sold his machine for decades to people who set up their own drain clearing businesses. In 1980 the Blanc family sold the Roto-Rooter company to a Cincinnati concern that started buying up independent franchises that used the Roto-Rooter and created the national service with which we are familiar today. Oh, and my advice is, save yourself the cost of the service call and just rent a machine. That’s what I do …

56 Worker protection org. : OSHA

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

63 Clark at the Daily Planet : KENT

The “Daily Planet” is the fictional newspaper for which Clark Kent and Lois Lane work in the “Superman” universe. Clark and Lois’ editor-in-chief is Perry White.

Superman’s comic book creators gave their title character’s alter-ego the name “Clark Kent” by melding the names of Clark Gable and Kent Taylor, two leading men of the cinema at the time Superman was created. However, they modeled Clark’s character more on the silent film actor Harold Lloyd.

64 NW corner key : ESC

The escape key (Esc) was originally used just to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.

67 5G __: mobile standard : LTE

In the world of telecommunications, the initialism LTE stands for Long-Term Evolution, and is wireless broadband communication standard. In general terms, LTE improves broadband speeds. As I understand it, LTE technology allows a 3G network to perform almost as well as a true 4G network, and so LTE is sometimes marketed as 4G LTE, even though it’s really “3G plus”.

Telecommunication companies started deploying 5G broadband cellular networks in 2019. The name “5G” stands for “fifth generation”. 5G network speeds are about 100 times faster than 4G speeds. However, 5G uses a higher frequency signal than 4G. Higher-frequency signals are more easily blocked by walls and other structures, and so wireless carriers are forced to install many, many small cell sites around the network’s backbone sites in order to provide “seamless” coverage.

Down

2 Mine, in Metz : A MOI

The city of Metz is in the northeast of France, and close to the German border. Given the proximity to Germany, Metz has both a strong German tradition and a strong French tradition. Metz was handed over to the French following WWI, after nearly 50 years of German rule. It quickly fell back into German hands in 1940 during WWII, with many German officers delighted to have returned to the city of their birth. Perhaps because of this long association with Germany, the US Army under General Patton encountered stiff resistance when liberating Metz in 1944. The cathedral in Metz is home to the largest expanse of stained glass in the world, almost 70,000 square feet in all.

4 Pizzazz quartet : ZEES

Pizazz (also “pizzazz”) is energy, vitality. There’s a kind of cool thing about the “pizzazz” spelling, namely that it is the only 7-letter word in English that cannot be played in Scrabble. You can get close by using the Z-tile with the two blank tiles to get to three of the required four Zs, but there’s no way to get to the fourth Z.

5 Blood-typing letters : ABO

The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which other antigens are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same type as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected. However, blood type O-neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, A, B, AB or O, and positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a universal donor.

6 Tiny Pacific republic near the equator : NAURU

Nauru is the world’s smallest island nation, and is located in the South Pacific 300 km to the east of Kiribati. The island was taken as a colony by Germany in the late 1800s, and came under the administration of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom after WWI. The Japanese invaded during WWII, but Nauru was one of the islands that was bypassed in the US advance across the Pacific towards Japan. Nauru achieved independence in 1968.

7 Pancake cousin : WAFFLE

You can’t get a Belgian waffle in Belgium, and the nearest thing is probably a Brussels waffle. Brussels waffles were introduced to the world in 1958, and arrived in the US in 1962 at the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle. The name “Brussels” was changed to “Bel-Gem” for the US market, which evolved into “Belgian”.

10 Roadside overnight stop : MOTEL

The term “motel” is a portmanteau of “motor” and “hotel”.

11 Broadway role played by Madonna in film : EVITA

“Evita” was the follow-up musical to “Jesus Christ Superstar” for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Both of these works were originally released as album musicals, and very successful ones at that (I remember buying them when they first came out). “Evita” was made into a film in 1996, with Madonna playing the title role and Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce playing her husband Juan Perón.

18 Mai __ : TAI

The mai tai cocktail is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but the drink was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curaçao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice and then a float added of 6 parts dark rum. “Maita’i” is the Tahitian word for “good”.

19 “His Dark Materials” channel : HBO

“His Dark Materials” is a fantasy television series based on the epic trilogy of novels of the same name by Philip Pullman. Not for me …

24 Dalai Lama’s land : TIBET

Tibet is a plateau region that is part of China, and is located northeast of the Himalayas. Tibet declared its independence from China in 1913, but fell back under Chinese control after the Invasion of Tibet in 1951. The Tibetan leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled the country during the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion. Since then, he has led the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India.

The Dalai Lama is a religious leader in the Gelug branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The current Dalai Lama is the 14th to hold the office. He has indicated that the next Dalai Lama might be found outside of Tibet for the first time, and may even be female.

25 Palindromic “SOS” pop group : ABBA

The palindromic band ABBA recorded the palindromic song “SOS”. Crazy …

27 Bassoon relative : OBOE

The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”.

28 “Miracle” NL team of 1969, on scoreboards : NYM

The New York Mets (NYM) baseball team was founded in 1962 as a replacement for two teams that the city had lost, namely the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. For several years the Mets played very poorly, finishing no better than second-to-last in their division. Then along came the “Miracle Mets” (aka “Amazin’ Mets”) who beat the Baltimore Orioles in 1969 to claim the World Series in a huge upset.

31 Farewell to Felipe : ADIOS

The term “adiós” is Spanish for “goodbye”. “Adiós” comes from the phrase “a Dios vos acomiendo” meaning “I commend you to God”.

35 Sporty Pontiacs : GTOS

The Pontiac GTO was produced by GM from 1964 to 1974, and again by a GM subsidiary in Australia from 2004 to 2006. The original GTO’s design is credited to Pontiac chief engineer at the time John DeLorean, who later founded the DeLorean Motor Company.

37 Some emailed files : PDFS

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993. PDF documents can be shared between users and read using many different applications and platforms, making them more universally accessible than documents saved by one particular program.

45 Wall-mounted light : SCONCE

A sconce is a light fixture that today uses electric bulbs, but in the past used candles and torches. The defining feature of a sconce is that it is supported by a wall and does not have a base that stands on the ground. Usually the light is indirect, projected upwards towards the ceiling.

47 Amusingly eccentric : WACKO

Something or someone described as wacky or wacko is crazy, eccentric. The term “wacky” probably comes from “whack”, the idea being that a wacky person might have been whacked on the head a little too often.

48 Son of Jacob : ASHER

In the Book of Genesis, Asher was the second son of Jacob and Zilpah, the handmaid to Jacob’s wife Leah. Asher founded the tribe of Asr, one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

49 Silly : INANE

Our word “inane” meaning “silly, lacking substance” comes from the Latin “inanitis” meaning “empty space”.

51 Joan of __ : ARC

Joan of Arc (also “Jeanne d’Arc”, her birth name) led the French Army successfully into battle a number of times during the Hundred Years War with England. When she was eventually captured, Joan was tried in Rouen, the seat of the occupying English government in France at that time. There she was burned at the stake having been found guilty of heresy. In fact, after the fire died down, the executioner raked the coals to display the charred body, proving Joan had died, and then burned the corpse again, twice, so that relics could not be collected. The remaining ashes were then cast into the Seine River. Joan of Arc was canonized some 600 years later, in 1920, and is now one of the patron saints of France.

52 Not Rx : OTC

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs don’t need a prescription (Rx).

57 Kind of poker : STUD

“Stud poker” is the name given to many variants of poker, all of which are characterized by the dealer giving each player a mix of cards face-down and face-up. The cards facing upwards are called “upcards”. The cards facing downwards are called “hole cards”, cards only visible to the individual who holds that particular hand. This gives rise to the phrase “ace in the hole”, a valuable holding that only the player with the ace is aware of.

59 Greek war god : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

61 Electric fish : EEL

“Electrophorus electricus” is the biological name for the electric eel. Despite its name, the electric “eel” isn’t an eel at all, but rather what is called a knifefish, a fish with an elongated body that is related to the catfish. The electric eel has three pairs of organs along its abdomen, each capable of generating an electric discharge. The shock can go as high as 500 volts with 1 ampere of current (500 watts), and that could perhaps kill a human.

62 Former Egypt-Syria confed. : UAR

The United Arab Republic (UAR) was a union between Egypt and Syria established in 1958. The UAR dissolved in 1961 when Syria pulled out of the arrangement.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Fictional hero raised by apes : TARZAN
7 URL letters after two slashes : … WWW
10 Prefix meaning “huge” : MEGA-
14 Single-celled creature : AMOEBA
15 “So I was right all along” : AHA
16 Pizza cooker : OVEN
17 *Swing from the get-go : COME OUT FIGHTING (giving “fighting chance”)
20 Bonuses for the waitstaff : TIPS
21 Whitewater ride : RAFT
22 Mookie of the Dodgers : BETTS
23 *Well-made : BUILT TO LAST (giving “last chance”)
25 Make amends : ATONE
29 Wallach or Whitney : ELI
30 *Early pudginess usually lost by one’s teens : BABY FAT (giving “fat chance”)
33 Go out, as the tide : EBB
35 Econ. yardstick : GDP
38 Timeworn phrase : BROMIDE
39 In the same family : RELATED
41 Dined : ATE
42 Can metal : TIN
43 *Continue to avoid, as alcohol : STAY OFF (giving “off chance”)
44 Pigs out (on), briefly : ODS
46 Bird homes : NESTS
47 *”Don’t go yet” : WAIT A SECOND (giving “second chance”)
54 Lou Grant portrayer Ed : ASNER
55 __-Rooter : ROTO
56 Worker protection org. : OSHA
60 Bumping into someone, say … and what the end of each answer to a starred clue can have? : CHANCE ENCOUNTER
63 Clark at the Daily Planet : KENT
64 NW corner key : ESC
65 __ versus nurture : NATURE
66 Valuable rocks : ORES
67 5G __: mobile standard : LTE
68 Eats into : ERODES

Down

1 Diplomat’s asset : TACT
2 Mine, in Metz : A MOI
3 Blowout victory : ROMP
4 Pizzazz quartet : ZEES
5 Blood-typing letters : ABO
6 Tiny Pacific republic near the equator : NAURU
7 Pancake cousin : WAFFLE
8 Wood shavers : WHITTLERS
9 What happy tails do : WAG
10 Roadside overnight stop : MOTEL
11 Broadway role played by Madonna in film : EVITA
12 Restroom label : GENTS
13 Common teen phase : ANGST
18 Mai __ : TAI
19 “His Dark Materials” channel : HBO
23 Are suited for : BEFIT
24 Dalai Lama’s land : TIBET
25 Palindromic “SOS” pop group : ABBA
26 Sharp-tasting : TART
27 Bassoon relative : OBOE
28 “Miracle” NL team of 1969, on scoreboards : NYM
31 Farewell to Felipe : ADIOS
32 Most easily chewed, as meat : TENDEREST
34 Not at all spicy : BLAND
35 Sporty Pontiacs : GTOS
36 Nimble-fingered : DEFT
37 Some emailed files : PDFS
40 Sailor’s yes : AYE
45 Wall-mounted light : SCONCE
47 Amusingly eccentric : WACKO
48 Son of Jacob : ASHER
49 Silly : INANE
50 Campers’ shelters : TENTS
51 Joan of __ : ARC
52 Not Rx : OTC
53 “… said __ ever” : NO ONE
56 Aware of, as a plot : ONTO
57 Kind of poker : STUD
58 “__ we go again!” : HERE
59 Greek war god : ARES
61 Electric fish : EEL
62 Former Egypt-Syria confed. : UAR

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 8 Nov 21, Monday”

  1. 3:44!

    I had an inkling of “Today I am going to beat 4:00”. That inkling usually doesn’t pay off.

    It felt like many jewels were imbedded in this little puzzle. I always appreciate it when AMOEBA is spelled correctly. Other interesting words: BROMIDE, BEFIT, DEFT, SCONCE. It seems unfair to cross Lou ASNER and flank ASHER with WACKO and INANE. Changes included ROUT->ROMP, NEPAL->TIBET, ISAAC->ASHER.

    Today I learned about Mookie BETTS, and ASHER.

    And the theme crossed over it all.

  2. No errors, no Googles. Had Maxi before MEGA. Did not alctually know BETTS, NAURU, or what LTE and PDFS stnd for.

  3. A pretty good Monday – 6:31 with no errors or lookups. Can’t believe I equaled Bill’s time. Had a couple of changes along the way: ROUT>ROMP, INON>ONTO. Easy to see the theme

  4. From some of the comments on Sunday’s “QUIET CAR” theme, it appears that I’m not the only one who still doesn’t get it. Could someone please expound on Bill’s explanation?

  5. As usual, an easy, relaxing Monday puzzle.
    38A – I’ve never heard BROMIDE being used as a timeworn phrase. My recollection of bromide is that it was an ingredient in “Bromo-Seltzer”, an old-time antacid powder.

  6. @Pam
    WTG! I’m sure you’re finding with these Monday puzzles that it doesn’t take much to go wrong at all to swing times a minute or two.

    @Mikey Mike
    See 116A. A “quiet car” is a train car where people are expected to be quiet. No loud talking, no loud music, etc, etc. With trains, people are often on them for extended periods of time, so cars are set out for certain purposes. Obviously, there’s stuff like dining cars to get a meal while on an extended ride or places to sleep, but people may want to work too and be able to do stuff in peace, hence the “quiet car” gets some interest. Unfortunately, as I’ve commented many times, puzzles are often Northeast culture centric (wherein anyone else in the country would very likely not know) and this is a good example of it.

    https://www.amtrak.com/quiet-car

    1. I understand about the “quiet cars” on trains. What is throwing me is Bill’s explanation that, in the answer, the car is a “QUIET (ignored) CAR”.

      If the theme of “Shh!” and the “ignored” indicate that the automobile in the answer should ignored or not spoken, then I get it. But, if that’s the case, I would have to agree with several other comments that this may be one of the worst themes ever.

      1. You got it correctly. For each clue, it works in the answer if the CAR is “quiet”, e.g. “ignored” or “not spoken”. So [Discerning] = WISE, [Building manager] = SUPER and so forth. I understood the theme readily when the crosses revealed the answer, but indeed felt that a lot of it, including the revealer was very contrived and inane. For the requirement that crosswords have themes, a lot of pretty dumb stuff makes the light of day simply because there’s only a limited selection of things out there that both make sense and are clever. As for me, I’ve given up trying to make any logical sense out of any part of these things long ago.

  7. Drat, screwed up an easy Monday with a mis-key on the last letter. Typed in d instead of S in the SE corner. Since I didn’t get the banner, I spent a few minutes searching and finally found it after 14:06 – with no errors or peeks.

    I did get stuck on LTE, which I maintain is incorrect and refers to 4G. 5G is 5G, not 5GLTE. Didn’t immediately associate ESC with the NW corner either…but finally went with what was expected.

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