LA Times Crossword 1 Dec 21, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Joe Deeney
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Home Stretch

Themed answers each include the word “H-O-M-E” STRETCHED throughout:

  • 55A Final leg … and a hint to each set of circles : HOME STRETCH
  • 17A Craven endeavor : HORROR MOVIE
  • 22A Like energy-efficient buildings, e.g. : HIGH PERFORMANCE
  • 38A Territorial complex dissolved during the Napoleonic Wars : HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
  • 46A Acclaimed 2016 Broadway soundtrack, with “The” : HAMILTON MIXTAPE

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

Bill’s time: 8m 42s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Surpasses 21, in blackjack : BUSTS

The card game known as “twenty-one” was first referred to in print in a book by Cervantes, the author famous for writing “Don Quixote”. He called the game “veintiuna” (Spanish for “twenty-one”). Cervantes wrote his story just after the year 1600, so the game has been around at least since then. Twenty-one came to the US but it wasn’t all that popular so bonus payments were introduced to create more interest. One of the more attractive bonuses was a ten-to-one payout to a player who was dealt an ace of spades and a black jack. This bonus led to the game adopting the moniker “Blackjack”.

11 NBA legend, familiarly : DR J

Julius Erving is a retired professional basketball player who is known as “Dr. J”, a nickname he picked up in high school. Dr. J was a trailblazer in many ways, being the first player associated with slam dunking and other moves above the rim.

14 Company that’s proud of its quacks? : AFLAC

In 1999, Aflac (American Family Life Assurance Company) was huge in the world of insurance but it wasn’t a household name, so a New York advertising agency was given the task of making the Aflac brand more memorable. One of the agency’s art directors, while walking around Central Park one lunchtime, heard a duck quacking and in his mind linked it with “Aflac”, and that duck has been “Aflacking” ever since …

15 Chopper topper : ROTOR

“Chopper” is an informal term used for a helicopter.

Our term “helicopter” was absorbed from the French word “hélicoptère” that was coined by Gustave Ponton d’Amécourt in 1861. d’Amécourt envisioned aircraft that could fly vertically using rotating wings that “screwed” into the air. He combined the Greek terms “helix” meaning “spiral, whirl” and “pteron” meaning “wing” to give us “helicopter”.

16 Like the top half of Monaco’s flag : RED

The Principality of Monaco is on the Mediterranean coast, and is otherwise surrounded by France, even though it is just under 10 miles from the Italian border. Monaco is the world’s most densely populated country, and the world’s second smallest country (the smallest being Vatican City). The principality has been very prosperous since the late 1800s, with the economy given a tremendous boost with the opening of several gambling casinos.

The flag of Monaco is relatively simple, comprising two horizontal bands of color, red on top and white on the bottom. Red and white have been the heraldic colors of the House of Grimaldi since the 1300s. Members of the Grimaldi family serve as head of state of the principality, which is a constitutional monarchy.

17 Craven endeavor : HORROR MOVIE

Wes Craven was a very successful film director and writer specializing in movies of the horror genre, which means that I don’t watch them! He was responsible for “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and the “Scream” films. Craven passed away in August 2015.

19 In the style of : A LA

The phrase “in the style of” can be translated as “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.

20 Solar panel spot : ROOF

Solar panels are arrays of solar cells that make use of what’s known as the photovoltaic effect. We are more likely to have learned about the photoelectric effect in school, in which electrons were ejected from the surface of some materials when it was exposed to light or other forms of radiation. The photovoltaic effect is related but different. Instead of being electrons ejected from the surface, in the photovoltaic effect electrons move around in the material creating a difference in voltage.

29 Together, in music : A DUE

“A due” is a musical term meaning “together” that translates literally from Italian as “by two”.

30 Acid found in olive oil : OLEIC

Oleic acid is a fatty acid, one found in many animal and plant sources, but most notably in olives. As such, “oleic” means “derived from the olive”. Oleic acid dissolves in basic solutions to create soaps.

31 34-Across has one of them : TILDES

34 Historic ship : NINA

The tilde diacritical mark (~) is very much associated with the Spanish language. We use the name “tilde” in English, taking that name from Spanish. Confusingly, the word “tilde” in Spanish is used more generally to mean “accent mark, diacritic”, of which a “~” is just one. What we call a “tilde” in English is usually referred to as a “virgulilla” or “tilde de la eñe” in Spanish.

The ship used by Christopher Columbus that we know as the Niña was actually the nickname of a ship actually called the Santa Clara. The nickname “Niña” probably came from the name of her owner, Juan Niña of Moguer.

35 QB’s try : ATT

In football, one statistic (stat) used to track the performance of a quarterback (QB) is attempts (ATT).

38 Territorial complex dissolved during the Napoleonic Wars : HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE

The Holy Roman Empire (HRE) existed from 962 to 1806 AD and was a territory of varying size over the centuries that centered on the Kingdom of Germany. The HRE was a successor to the western half of the Ancient Roman Empire.

Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I) led a series of conflicts against several European powers from 1803 until 1815, which are referred to collectively as the Napoleonic Wars. In all, Bonaparte fought about sixty battles throughout his military career, losing seven in all. Perhaps the most significant of those defeats was the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, after which Napoleon was exiled to the British island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died in 1821.

41 Senator Klobuchar : AMY

Amy Klobuchar was elected to the US Senate in 2006, and became the first elected female senator for Minnesota when she took her seat in the following January. Former Second Lady of the US Muriel Humphrey was Minnesota’s first female senator. Ms. Humphrey was appointed to serve out the balance of her husband’s term after Hubert Humphrey died.

42 Orator’s art: Abbr. : RHET

Rhetoric is the art of speaking or writing effectively, primarily with the intent to persuade. Aristotle defined three persuasive techniques that can be used to persuade an audience:

  • Ethos is an ethical appeal, an attempt to convince the audience of the good moral character and credibility of the speaker.
  • Logos is an appeal to logic, an attempt to convince an audience by using logic and reason.
  • Pathos is an emotional appeal, an attempt to convince an audience by appealing to their emotions.

43 WWI president : WILSON

Woodrow Wilson was a professor at Princeton from 1890 to 1902 at which time he was promoted to president of the university. Professor Wilson had earned his PhD. at Johns Hopkins University in 1886, so that when he was elected 28th President of the United States in 1912, he became the only US President to hold a PhD.

44 Dough : MOOLA

Lettuce, cabbage, kale, dough, bread, scratch, cheddar, simoleons, clams and moola(h) are all slang terms for money.

45 Resistance units : OHMS

The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm’s Law.

46 Acclaimed 2016 Broadway soundtrack, with “The” : … HAMILTON MIXTAPE

“Hamilton” is a 2015 musical based on the life of US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, as described in the 2004 biography by Ron Chernow. The show opened off-Broadway in February 2015, and transferred to Broadway in August of the same year. Advance ticket sales for the Broadway production were unprecedented, and reportedly amounted to $30 million. The representations of the main characters are decidedly ground-breaking. The show is rooted in hip-hop and the main roles such as Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are all played by African-American and Hispanic actors.

Even though tapes are no longer used, the term “mixtape” still describes any homemade collection of musical tracks. The less retro term for the same thing might be “playlist”.

52 “By Jove!” : EGAD!

“By Jove!” is a mild oath that calls on the Roman god Jove, who was also known as Jupiter.

62 Cartoonist Chast : ROZ

Roz Chast had her first cartoon published in “The New Yorker” in 1978, and has had more than 800 published since then.

66 Passing words? : OBITS

Our word “obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”. The Latin term was used for “record of the death of a person”, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

67 Tranquilizing brand : XANAX

Xanax is a brand name for the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam. It is one of the most commonly misused prescription drugs in the US, with wide acceptance in the illegal recreational drug market.

Down

2 Eerie sky sight : UFO

In 1952, the USAF revived its studies of reported sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in a program called Project Blue Book. Project Blue Book ran from 1952 until it was shut down in 1969 with the conclusion that there was no threat to national security and that there were no sightings that could not be explained within the bounds of modern scientific knowledge.

3 Canon letters : SLR

The initialism “SLR” stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually, cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

The Japanese company Canon is largely known in the US for producing quality cameras. The company started out as Precision Optical Industry Laboratory in 1937 making camera bodies. The name was changed in 1947 to Canon.

5 Org. whose income taxes are passed through to shareholders : S CORP

S corporations don’t pay any income taxes, and are permitted not to do so under Subchapter S of Chapter 1 on the Internal Revenue Code. Instead, taxes are paid by the shareholders of that corporation.

6 Tanks and such : ARMOR

During WWI, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill formed the Landship Committee to oversee development of armoured fighting vehicles. The vehicles in development were referred to using the codeword “tank” for secrecy. Within a few months, the committee was renamed to the “Tank Supply Committee”. The codeword eventually became the overt name for the weapon.

8 Dune buggy, briefly : ATV

All-terrain vehicle (ATV)

Dune buggies are motorized vehicles designed for use on sand dunes and sandy beaches. They are typically made by adding large wheels and wide tires to the chassis of an existing road vehicle. Volkswagen Bugs are a common choice for the base vehicle, which led to the name dune “buggy”.

9 L’état, à Louis XIV : MOI

“L’État, c’est moi” is a French phrase, supposedly spoken by Louis XIV on his deathbed. It translates to “I am the State”, and would appear to mean that Louis considered himself to be “above his station” as it were. However, many dispute the quotation, and argue that Louis actually said on his deathbed that even though he was dying, the State would live on.

10 Bard’s before : ERE

The original bards were storytellers, poets and composers of music in medieval Britain and Ireland, with the term coming from the Old Celtic word “bardos” that described a poet or singer. I guess the most famous bard was William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon.

12 Museum piece : RELIC

A relic is something that has survived from the past, reminding us of that past.

13 Website for Jewish singles : JDATE

Spark Networks is a company that owns several special-interest dating sites online. The most famous is probably ChristianMingle.com, but there is also BlackSingles.com, LDSSingles.com, JDate.com and CatholicMingle.com.

21 Half a Northwest airport : -TAC

Sea-Tac Airport (SEA) is more fully known as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Sea-Tac is the main hub for Alaska Airlines.

22 Yoga term meaning “force” : HATHA

Hatha yoga is a yoga system developed in 15th century India. Traditional Hatha yoga is a more “complete” practice than often encountered in the west, involving not just exercise but also meditation and relaxation. “Hatha” is a Sanskrit word meaning “force”.

25 Actress Lamarr : HEDY

Hedy Lamarr was an American actress who was actually born in Vienna in modern-day Austria. Not only was Lamarr a successful Hollywood performer, during WWII she was the co-inventor of a frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum method of transmitting radio signals that is still used to this day in wireless communication. Impressive …

26 Director of many “This Is Us” episodes : OLIN

Ken Olin was one of the stars on the hit television series “thirtysomething”, playing Michael Steadman. After “thirtysomething”, Olin moved behind the camera and is now a producer and director.

“This Is Us” is a television drama that debuted in 2016. The storyline centers on three siblings and their parents. Two of the siblings are the surviving members of a triplet pregnancy. The parents decide to adopt a child born on the same day as the surviving siblings. The adopting family is white, and the adopted child is black.

27 What people who need People might do? : RENEW

There used to be a “People” page in each issue of “Time” magazine. This page was spun-off in 1974 as a publication of its own, which we now call “People” magazine. “People” is noted for its annual special editions with features such as “Best & Worst Dressed” and “Sexiest Man Alive”. The “Sexiest Man Alive” edition now appears at the end of November each year. The first choice for “Sexiest Man” was Mel Gibson, in 1985.

28 Coconut Grove city : MIAMI

Coconut Grove is an old neighborhood in Miami that is often referred to simply as “the Grove”. The name “Coconut Grove” dates back to 1873. The list of former residents of the Grove includes Madonna, Sylvester Stallone and LeBron James.

32 Swashbuckling Flynn : ERROL

Actor Errol Flynn was born in 1909 in Tasmania, where he was raised. In his twenties, Flynn lived in the UK where he pursued his acting career. Around the same time he starred in an Australian film “In the Wake of the Bounty” and then appeared in a British film “Murder at Monte Carlo”. It was in the latter film that he was noticed by Warner Brothers who brought him to America. Flynn’s non-American heritage shone through even while he was living the American dream in California. He regularly played cricket, along with his friend David Niven, in the Hollywood Cricket Club.

A swashbuckler is a flashy swordsman. The term “swashbuckler” probably derives somehow from “swash” meaning “fall of a blow”, and “buckler” meaning “small round shield”.

33 Très chic : SO HOT

“Très chic” is a French term meaning “very stylish”.

35 Tyler of “Archer” : AISHA

Aisha Tyler is an actor and comedian who was a co-host on “The Talk” for several years starting in 2011. She began hosting the reboot of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” in 2013.

“Archer” is an animated sitcom that first hit the screens in 2009. Haven’t seen this one …

39 Ten-time NBA All-Star Anthony, to fans : MELO

Carmelo Anthony is a basketball player who played college basketball with the Syracuse Orange before entering the NBA draft in 2003 after just one year at university. Above and beyond basketball, Anthony is a soccer fan. He founded the professional club Puerto Rico FC in 2015, but the team went on an indefinite hiatus following severe damage to the club’s home arena by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

40 Story arc : PLOT

A story arc is a continuing storyline in say a television show that runs through a number of episodes. Story arcs are also found in comics, books, video games, and other forms of media.

48 Passover staple : MATZO

Matzo is an unleavened bread that is very brittle. The bread is crushed, creating a Matzo meal that is then formed into balls using eggs and oil as a binder. The balls are usually served in a chicken stock.

50 Wednesday kin : ITT

In the television sitcom “The Addams Family”, the family had a frequent visitor called Cousin Itt. Itt is a short man with long hair that runs from his head to the floor. Cousin Itt was played by Italian actor Felix Silla.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re altogether ooky,
The Addams Family.

Wednesday Addams is the daughter in the television sitcom “The Addams Family”. In the original cartoon strip, members of the Addams family had no given names. The names were introduced for the television show.

51 Copy, in a way : XEROX

A xerox is a copy made on a xerography machine. Xerography is a dry photocopying technique that was invented in 1938 by Chester Carlson, although he originally referred to the process as electrophotography. Joseph Wilson commercialized Carlson’s process some years later, coining the term “Xerography” using the Greek words for “dry” and “writing”. Wilson changed the name of his own photographic company to Xerox.

55 “Industry” network : HBO

“Industry” is a TV drama that started airing jointly on the BBC in the UK and on BBO in the US in 2020. It follows the lives of recent graduates competing for permanent positions at a prestigious investment bank in London.

57 Customizable Nintendo avatar : MII

Nintendo introduced customizable avatars for the company’s video game consoles starting in 1997. The first customizable avatars for the Wii system were introduced in 2006, and were given the inventive name “Miis”.

58 Green of “Casino Royale” : EVA

Despite the English-sounding name, Eva Green is a French actress. Green played Bond girl Vesper Lynd in the 2006 movie “Casino Royale” opposite Daniel Craig.

2006’s “Casino Royale” is the 21st film in the “James Bond” series, and the first to star Daniel Craig in the lead role. The film was directed by New Zealander Martin Campbell, someone who was my next door neighbor for a couple of years (my claim to fame!). Campbell also directed “GoldenEye” in 1995, which introduced Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. I find it interesting that Campbell was asked back to oversee the introduction of Daniel Craig to the role.

60 Windy City train letters : CTA

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

It seems that the derivation of Chicago’s nickname “Windy City” isn’t as obvious as I would have thought. There are two viable theories. Firstly, that the weather can be breezy with wind blowing in off Lake Michigan. The effect of the wind is exaggerated by the grid-layout adopted by city planners after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The second theory is that “windy” means “being full of bluster”. Sportswriters from the rival city of Cincinnati were fond of calling Chicago supporters “windy” in the 1860s and 1870s, meaning that they were full of hot air in their claims that the Chicago White Stockings were superior to the Cincinnati Red Stockings.

61 Curse : HEX

“Hexen” is a German word meaning “to practice witchcraft”. The use of the word “hex” in English started with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 1800s.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Surpasses 21, in blackjack : BUSTS
6 Top-level performance : A-GAME
11 NBA legend, familiarly : DR J
14 Company that’s proud of its quacks? : AFLAC
15 Chopper topper : ROTOR
16 Like the top half of Monaco’s flag : RED
17 Craven endeavor : HORROR MOVIE
19 In the style of : A LA
20 Solar panel spot : ROOF
21 Blockhead : TWIT
22 Like energy-efficient buildings, e.g. : HIGH PERFORMANCE
29 Together, in music : A DUE
30 Acid found in olive oil : OLEIC
31 34-Across has one of them : TILDES
34 Historic ship : NINA
35 QB’s try : ATT
38 Territorial complex dissolved during the Napoleonic Wars : HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
41 Senator Klobuchar : AMY
42 Orator’s art: Abbr. : RHET
43 WWI president : WILSON
44 Dough : MOOLA
45 Resistance units : OHMS
46 Acclaimed 2016 Broadway soundtrack, with “The” : … HAMILTON MIXTAPE
52 “By Jove!” : EGAD!
53 Ticket datum : GATE
54 __-country : ALT
55 Final leg … and a hint to each set of circles : HOME STRETCH
62 Cartoonist Chast : ROZ
63 Precipice : BRINK
64 Like an egg : OVATE
65 Table for __ : TWO
66 Passing words? : OBITS
67 Tranquilizing brand : XANAX

Down

1 “Harrumph!” : BAH!
2 Eerie sky sight : UFO
3 Canon letters : SLR
4 Pitch : TAR
5 Org. whose income taxes are passed through to shareholders : S CORP
6 Tanks and such : ARMOR
7 Digress : GO OFF ON A TANGENT
8 Dune buggy, briefly : ATV
9 L’état, à Louis XIV : MOI
10 Bard’s before : ERE
11 Outlined, maybe : DRAWN
12 Museum piece : RELIC
13 Website for Jewish singles : JDATE
18 Sushi topper : ROE
21 Half a Northwest airport : -TAC
22 Yoga term meaning “force” : HATHA
23 “Under the weather,” say : IDIOM
24 Water-formed ditch : GULLY
25 Actress Lamarr : HEDY
26 Director of many “This Is Us” episodes : OLIN
27 What people who need People might do? : RENEW
28 Coconut Grove city : MIAMI
32 Swashbuckling Flynn : ERROL
33 Très chic : SO HOT
35 Tyler of “Archer” : AISHA
36 Tread heavily : TROMP
37 Future, e.g. : TENSE
39 Ten-time NBA All-Star Anthony, to fans : MELO
40 Story arc : PLOT
44 Prefix with day : MID-
46 Symbol of affection : HEART
47 Lit up : AGLOW
48 Passover staple : MATZO
49 Hides : MASKS
50 Wednesday kin : ITT
51 Copy, in a way : XEROX
55 “Industry” network : HBO
56 Celestial sphere : ORB
57 Customizable Nintendo avatar : MII
58 Green of “Casino Royale” : EVA
59 Shade on the beach : TAN
60 Windy City train letters : CTA
61 Curse : HEX

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 1 Dec 21, Wednesday”

  1. Well the theme wasn’t overly helpful but the fact that HOME was built into the circled letters was helpful.. when I was done, I felt like I was a victim of a barrage of bad “dad” jokes… . There seemed to be an additional theme by the author for short, remote or abbrev. meanings for clues that were groaners. TILDES SCORP ADUE HATHA TAR MII RHET.. then throw In two words with X’s that intersect..

    After all that, I messed up on MELO and RHET.. I had MILO

  2. One error box…had edate instead of jdate for 13 down so 11 across
    was wrong, too. Otherwise enjoyable puzzle with some proper name
    lookups.

  3. 13:04

    The theme helped fill in some stray HOME letters. There were many clues that took me a while to get. Fittingly, the last to come to mind was OBITS.

  4. It took a while to finally get the SW corner to come out correctly. Mostly it was a self inflicted wound as I had inked in “I say” for the 52 Across clue of “By Jove” and when I finally got that mistake straightened out then the remainder of the corner came together.

  5. 13:09 with one letter error (MATsO/ROs). The theme helped me figure out the “Hamilton” MIXTAPE. Did not realize that was the name of the sound track. A terrific play, by the way.

    Also new to me were AISHA, HATHA, and MII. I intuited JDATE.

  6. 5:30, no errors.

    As I’ve mentioned before, there’s a lot of these I genuinely don’t “know”, which is especially proven in that it generally takes me a lot of time to break into these puzzles, especially later in the week. Half thinking of going back and reciting all of them in one just to illustrate that you don’t just play the clues in all of these to solve them.

  7. @ Nolanski: I’m sure you meant “s” instead of “z” to identify your errors.

    When I was young, I was a fan of Errol Flynn and his “swashbuckling” episodes and read his biography “My Wicked, Wicked Ways”. While it could never be deemed a biographic classic, Mr. Flynn led a very adventurous, virile and, as the title indicates, a somewhat wicked lifestyle. If you ever come across the book, go ahead and pick it up. It’s a short read that you’ll find interesting, amusing, and a little bit skeptical.

  8. Did this on 6 hours sleep; took 15:19 with one dumb error: A GArE/rOI. I half read French king and automatically put in rOI, since I couldn’t come up with something suitable for the across on the first pass. Actually struggled with SCORe, since there is an organization to help businesses called SCORE, but finally changed it to P for the across. Didn’t see S CORP until I came here. Didn’t notice the theme at all.

    At least I got my booster shot today, explaining my getting up so early. Off to bed…zzz

  9. Should have just quit. Don’t speak French, don’t know any football or basketball stars. Never heard of an S Corp. Never heard of Archer. Don’t know musical terms. Sad and depressing for a Wednesday. Gave up after 40 minutes. I’m in between skin cancer surgeries and so maybe my mind is elsewhere. Actually, reading these comments is a big downer for me, so I think I’ll quit while I’m not ahead.

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