LA Times Crossword 17 Dec 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Gary Larson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Outfits

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as OUTFITS for people mentioned in the corresponding clues:

  • 15A Outfits for a climber? : HIGH GEAR
  • 18A His-and-her outfits? : BINARY NUMBERS
  • 35A Outfits for tourist town natives? : LOCAL RAGS
  • 56A Outfits for the masses? : COMMON THREADS
  • 62A Outfits for dairy farmers? : MILK DUDS

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

Bill’s time: 6m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Follower of Jefferson : MADISON

James Madison was one of the Founding Fathers, and the fourth President of the US. Madison played a key role in drafting the US Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights, and so is sometimes referred to as the Father of the Constitution. Along with future president Thomas Jefferson, Madison founded the Democratic-Republican Party, which was one of the nation’s first two major political parties along with Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Party.

Thomas Jefferson was born a British subject in 1743 in the Colony of Virginia, one of ten children born to Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph Jefferson. The Jefferson’s had four sons in all, with two dying in infancy. The remaining two sons inherited Peter’s estate, divided between them. Thomas came into 5,000 acres of land, including Monticello, and 20-40 slaves.

21 The first “A” in A.A. Milne : ALAN

Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author who is best known for his delightful “Winnie-the-Pooh” series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920. The young Milne was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin’s real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

23 Fictional 1847 autobiographer : EYRE

“Jane Eyre” is a celebrated novel written by Charlotte Brontë, under the pen name Currer Bell. The love story is perhaps represented by the oft-quoted opening lines of the last chapter, “Reader, I married him”. There is a wonderful 4-hour television adaptation made by the BBC that I highly recommend to fans of the novel …

24 __ Paulo : SAO

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. It is also the city with the highest number of helicopters in the world. This is partly driven by the horrendous traffic jams in São Paulo, but also by the wealthy having a very real fear of being kidnapped on the city’s streets.

34 Polynesian capital : APIA

Apia is the capital city, and in fact the only city, of the Pacific island-nation of Samoa. The harbor of Apia is famous for a very foolish incident in 1889 involving seven naval vessels from Germany, the US and Britain. A typhoon was approaching so the safest thing to do was to head for open water away from land, but no nation would move its ships for fear of losing face in front of others. Six of the ships were lost in the typhoon as a result and 200 American and German sailors perished. The British cruiser HMS Calliope barely managed to escape from the harbor and rode out the storm safely. Apia is also known as the home of writer Robert Louis Stevenson, for the last four years of his life.

39 Jessica of “Dark Angel” : ALBA

Actress Jessica Alba got her big break when she was cast in the Fox science fiction show “Dark Angel”. Alba had a tough life growing up as she spent a lot of time in hospital and so found it difficult to develop friendships. As a youngster she twice had a collapsed lung, frequently caught pneumonia, suffered from asthma, had a ruptured appendix and a tonsillar cyst. On top of all that, Alba acknowledges that she suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder as a child.

“Dark Angel” is a sci-fi series that ran from 2000 to 2002, and gave the star Jessica Alba her big break as an actress. Alba plays a genetically-enhanced super-soldier in post-apocalyptic Seattle. The show is a creation of celebrated producer and director James Cameron.

43 Tiger, e.g. : CAT

Tigers are the largest of all the cat species. They are referred to as “apex predators” (as are lions and humans, for example), meaning that tigers are at the top of the food chain and aren’t the prey of any other animal.

46 Belafonte #1 album on which “Day-O” was the first track : CALYPSO

“Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” is a traditional folk song from Jamaica. It is sung from the standpoint of dock workers unloading boats on the night shift, so daylight has come, and they want to go home. The most famous version of “Day-O” was recorded by Harry Belafonte, in 1956.

Singer and actor Harry Belafonte is of Caribbean descent, from Jamaica through his mother’s heritage and from Martinique through his father. Born in New York City, Belafonte came to be known as the “King of Calypso”. His most famous recording is 1956’s “The Banana Boat Song”, and I suspect that his most famous movie performance is in Otto Preminger’s “Carmen Jones”.

52 Corp. alias letters : DBA

Doing business as (DBA)

53 Subway fare? : HERO

The SUBWAY chain of fast food restaurants is the largest single-brand restaurant in the world. I’m a big fan of SUBWAY sandwiches, especially the toasted ones …

55 Sword with a three-sided blade : EPEE

The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. It is similar to a foil and sabre, although the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. The épée is similar to a foil and sabre, although the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.

62 Outfits for dairy farmers? : MILK DUDS

“Duds” is an informal word meaning “clothing”. The term comes from the word “dudde” that was used around 1300 as the name for a cloak.

65 Deejay, at times : EMCEE

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

66 Swung wildly : FLAILED

To flail about is to swing wildly, either literally or figuratively. The verb comes from the noun “flail”, which is an implement for threshing grain.

Down

2 Handel’s “__, Galatea e Polifemo” : ACI

“Aci, Galatea e Polifemo” is a cantata written by Georg Frideric Handel that was first performed in Naples, in 1708.

3 Poisonous plant reputed to repel canines : DOGBANE

Dogbanes are a group of plants that have the reputation of repelling, or even killing, dogs. One common example of a dogbane is oleander, which contains cardiac glcosides that alter the function of cardiac muscle cells. It’s not just dogs that can be harmed by dogbanes.

4 Chinese book of divination : I CHING

“I Ching” is an ancient Chinese text dating back to the 2nd millennium BC. The text deals with aspects of cosmology and divination, and perhaps served as a guide for making predictions of the future. The statements in the “I Ching” consist of 64 hexagrams, sets of six lines composed in horizontal stacks.

6 Music halls of old : ODEA

In ancient Greece, an odeon (also “odeum”) was like a small theater, with “odeon” literally meaning “building for musical competition”. Odea were used in both Greece and Rome for entertainments such as musical shows and poetry readings.

8 Ring bearer? : SATURN

Saturn is easily visible from Earth with the unaided eye, but we need some help to see the planet’s famous rings. Galileo was the first person to see Saturn’s rings, when he turned his primitive telescope towards the night sky in 1610. However, he misinterpreted what he was observing and assumed that the rings were in fact two smaller planets located at either side of the larger Saturn.

10 Many an Omani : ARAB

Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and is neighbored by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Oman is a monarchy, and the official name of the state is the Sultanate of Oman. All of the country’s legislative, executive and judiciary power resides with the hereditary sultan.

12 Like many “Argo” militants : TEHRANI

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.

“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I highly recommend “Argo”, although I found the scenes of religious fervor to be very frightening …

19 Emmy-winning scientist : NYE

That would be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Bill’s show ran on PBS for four years, from 1993-97.

20 ’90s-’00s Cubs star : SOSA

Sammy Sosa was firmly in the public eye in 1998 when he and Mark McGwire were vying to be the first to surpass the home run record held by Roger Maris. McGwire fell out of public favor due to stories of steroid abuse (stories which he later admitted were true) while Sosa fell out of favor when he was found to be using a corked bat in a 2003 game.

21 GEICO highlights : ADS

GEICO was founded in 1936 with a very specific mission, to provide auto insurance for employees of the federal government and their families, hence the name Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO). GEICO is a private company, despite the word “government” in its name. The founders’ idea was to focus on government employees as they believed such a group represented a lower risk profile than the rest of the population. Nowadays any qualifying person can take out a policy with GEICO.

26 Book jacket text, often : BIO

In the US, the convention is to write the title on the spine of a book from top-to-bottom. In most of Europe, the convention is to write the title from bottom-to-top. We have a lot of books in the “library” in our house from both sides of the Atlantic, and so there is much movement of the head from left to right as we glance along our bookshelves.

30 Student housing VIPs : RAS

A resident assistant/adviser (RA) is a peer leader found in a residence hall, particularly on a college campus.

38 Perceive : GET

To perceive is to notice or become aware of. The term “perceive” comes from the Latin “per” (thoroughly) and “capere” (to grasp). So, to perceive is to grasp thoroughly.

39 Like some appliances : AC/DC

Anyone with a laptop with an external power supply has an AC/DC converter, that big “block” in the power cord. It converts the AC current from a wall socket into the DC current that is used by the laptop.

43 Tablet alternative : CAPSULE

Gelatin capsules (gelcaps) might be an issue for those on a strict vegan diet. The gelatin used in the capsule is made from collagen extracted from animal skin and bone.

45 “The Waste Land” monogram : TSE

T. S. Eliot (TSE) wrote his poem called “The Waste Land” in 1922. “The Waste Land” opens with the famous line, “April is the cruellest month …”

49 Food bit : ORT

Orts are small scraps of food left after a meal. “Ort” comes from Middle English, and originally described scraps left by animals.

51 Website with “Ask Me Anything” interviews : REDDIT

Reddit.com is a networking and news website that started up in 2005. It is essentially a bulletin board system with posts that are voted up and down by users, which determines the ranking of posts. The name “Reddit” is a play on “read it”, as in “I read it on Reddit”. One popular feature of the Reddit site is an online forum that is similar to a press conference. Known as an AMA (for “ask me anything”), participants have included the likes of President Barack Obama, Madonna, Bill Gates, Stephen Colbert and Gordon Ramsay. President Obama’s AMA was so popular that the high level of traffic brought down many parts of the Reddit site.

54 Unit of resistance : OHM

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.

57 Laptop navigation aids : MICE

The computer mouse was invented at the Stanford Research Institute in 1963, by one Douglas Engelbart. Sadly for him, his patent ran out before mice became standard equipment on computers, so he never made any money from his amazing invention.

58 Jazz phrase : RIFF

A riff is a short rhythmic phrase in music, especially one improvised on a guitar.

59 “Enchanted” movie girl : ELLA

“Ella Enchanted” is a fantasy novel written by Gail Carson Levine, and published in 1997. It is a retelling of the story of Cinderella, with lots of mythical creatures added. A film adaptation was released in 2004 that features Anne Hathaway in the title role.

60 Aliases : AKAS

Also known as (aka)

64 Radical ’60s org. : SDS

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was an activist group in the sixties. The SDS organized the largest student strike in the history of the United States on 26 April 1968, with about a million students staying away from class that day. The “Students for a Democratic Society” name was revived in 2006 with the foundation of a new US-based student organization with left wing beliefs. Today’s SDS was founded by a pair of high school students from Greenwich Village, New York.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Follower of Jefferson : MADISON
8 Turn on : START
13 Polluter’s crime : ECOCIDE
14 Mountaintop home : AERIE
15 Outfits for a climber? : HIGH GEAR
17 Refuse : TRASH
18 His-and-her outfits? : BINARY NUMBERS
21 The first “A” in A.A. Milne : ALAN
23 Fictional 1847 autobiographer : EYRE
24 __ Paulo : SAO
25 Typographical ornament : DINGBAT
29 Evasive tactics : END RUNS
31 Spot : SEE
32 Infuriates : IRES
34 Polynesian capital : APIA
35 Outfits for tourist town natives? : LOCAL RAGS
39 Jessica of “Dark Angel” : ALBA
42 Long-gone time : YORE
43 Tiger, e.g. : CAT
46 Belafonte #1 album on which “Day-O” was the first track : CALYPSO
50 Turns on : BETRAYS
52 Corp. alias letters : DBA
53 Subway fare? : HERO
55 Sword with a three-sided blade : EPEE
56 Outfits for the masses? : COMMON THREADS
61 They hold your horses : REINS
62 Outfits for dairy farmers? : MILK DUDS
65 Deejay, at times : EMCEE
66 Swung wildly : FLAILED
67 Transfers, as a house : DEEDS
68 Secures : FASTENS

Down

1 Not so hot : MEH
2 Handel’s “__, Galatea e Polifemo” : ACI
3 Poisonous plant reputed to repel canines : DOGBANE
4 Chinese book of divination : I CHING
5 Register, with “up” : SIGN …
6 Music halls of old : ODEA
7 Close : NEAR
8 Ring bearer? : SATURN
9 Called : TERMED
10 Many an Omani : ARAB
11 Revolts : RISES UP
12 Like many “Argo” militants : TEHRANI
16 White alternative : RYE
19 Emmy-winning scientist : NYE
20 ’90s-’00s Cubs star : SOSA
21 GEICO highlights : ADS
22 Tell tales, maybe : LIE
26 Book jacket text, often : BIO
27 Semicircle, say : ARC
28 Leaves for a spot : TEA
30 Student housing VIPs : RAS
33 Wily : SLY
35 Set down : LAY
36 Take badly? : ROB
37 “__ you done?” : ARE
38 Perceive : GET
39 Like some appliances : AC/DC
40 Worked : LABORED
41 Words of confession : BLAME ME
43 Tablet alternative : CAPSULE
44 Supportive response : AYE
45 “The Waste Land” monogram : TSE
47 Called : PHONED
48 It’s sometimes necessary to come to them : SENSES
49 Food bit : ORT
51 Website with “Ask Me Anything” interviews : REDDIT
54 Unit of resistance : OHM
57 Laptop navigation aids : MICE
58 Jazz phrase : RIFF
59 “Enchanted” movie girl : ELLA
60 Aliases : AKAS
63 Thieves’ place : DEN
64 Radical ’60s org. : SDS

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 17 Dec 21, Friday”

  1. No errors but took longer than I realized.
    I’m still a little confused about the theme.

    LOCAL RAGS is a common phrase?

    Anyway, still had fun..

  2. I have never watched Argo, but I do know someone, an American businessman, who was working in Tehran when it all happened. He was never bothered by the militants at all. He had his local employees watch the airport and after a while the security relaxed. He immediately went and got on the first flight out to anywhere.

  3. No errors, no lookups; however, after I was done, I checked my trusty dictionary to see if “dingbat” had the meaning the 25A clue gave. I had never heard that word used in that context. Loved “milkduds”!!

  4. 16: 30 and DNF, with 8 unfilled or in error.

    >Horrible< clues. Referring to an "outfit" as a "number" is unforgiveable. That's just one example.

    Also, this forced theme really "clashes" with my sensibilities.

    1. But, Allen, my dictionaries tell me that the word “number” has been used to refer to an article of clothing since the late 1800’s.

      It’s also used in a number of other weird ways: “the doctor sure did a number on me”; “that hot number standing at the bar”; “that bullet had his number on it”; “for my next number, I’m going to play …”. (I found all of these on “The Straight Dope Message Board”.)

      1. Generational certainly. I can still hear both my parents using number for outfit. “That’s some number you’ve got on!”

  5. 20:49 – 4 cheats, no errors.

    I just didn’t know DOGBANE and ICHING and they were right next to each other. Not good enough (yet) to get without a few cheats.

    Kind of hard (for me) but fun, especially when the longs “click/”

    @Jack – 20:11 for a Friday – WTG!

    Be Well

    1. After exposure to poison ivy, I’ve often used a poultice of “DOGBANE” to treat the resulting “ICHING” … 🤪.

      (A joke … perhaps a very dumb joke … but I’m in a weird mood … so perhaps you can humor me … 😜.)

      And I’ll echo that “Be Well”. My daughter and granddaughter, both of whom were fully vaccinated, are recovering nicely from breakthrough cases of Covid. I have the feeling that we’re all going to have the same experience at some point … 😳.

  6. Nice, mostly easy Friday for me; took 15:50 with no peeks or errors. All the stuff I didn’t know, or only vaguely knew, fell in all the right places for a cross to make them non issues.

    Cute theme and it helped get me two of them. Besides being a very beautiful woman, Jessica Alba also founded the Honest Company, which makes all kinds of safe, eco-friendly products.

    @Nonny – Yuck, yuck and yeah I’m starting to think it’s inevitable on Covid. They’re working on a new version, which is supposed to target Omicron, but it’s going to take 3 months at least… At least I got a booster.

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