LA Times Crossword 19 Dec 21, Sunday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: The Long and Short of It

Themed answers are common phrases with the letter sequence -IGHT shortened to -IT:

  • 26A Sweaters in King Arthur’s court? : KNITS OF THE ROUNDTABLE (from “Knights of the Round Table”)
  • 34A Offshore retreat for comedians? : THE ISLE OF WIT (from “The Isle of Wight”)
  • 62A Query to a U.K.-focused think tank? : GOT ANY MORE BRIT IDEAS? (from “got any more bright ideas?)
  • 72A Altered the revealing side of a dress? : MADE A SLIT ADJUSTMENT (from “made a slight adjustment”)
  • 98A Siblings who produce court orders? : WRIT BROTHERS (from “Wright Brothers”)
  • 111A Dieters’ interim report on smaller-sized clothes? : WE HAVE JUST BEGUN TO FIT (from “we have just begun to fight”)

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

Bill’s time: 20m 56s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Tab on old cash registers : NO SALE

The “No Sale” key on a cash register is the one pushed to open the cash drawer without recording a transaction, when there is “no sale”.

13 Tarkington tween : PENROD

“Penrod” is a comical novel by American author and dramatist Booth Tarkington first published in 1914. The “novel” takes the form of humorous sketches, adventures enjoyed by 11-year-old Penrod Schofield.

Novelist Booth Tarkington is best known for his novels “The Magnificent Ambersons” and “Alice Adams”, both of which were adapted into successful Hollywood movies in the 1930s and 1940s. Before really establishing himself as a writer, Tarkington spent some time in politics, and served one term in the Indian House of Representatives (from 1902 to 1903).

19 Disagreeable : ORNERY

Back in the early 1800s, the word “ornery” was an informal contraction for the word “ordinary”, and meant commonplace, but with a sense of “poor quality, coarse, ugly” as opposed to “special”. Towards the end of the century, the usage “ornery” had evolved into describing someone who was mean or cantankerous.

20 Brunch fare : OMELETS

Our word “brunch” is a portmanteau of “breakfast” and “lunch”. The term was coined as student slang in Oxford, England in the late 1890s. However, “brunch” described a combined meal closer to the breakfast hour, and the term “blunch” was used for a meal closer to lunchtime.

22 Like zebras and donkeys : EQUINE

There are seven living species of mammals in the genus Equus, each of which is referred to as “equine”. The seven species include all horses, asses and zebras. All equine species can crossbreed. For example, a mule is a cross between a male donkey and a female horse, a zorse is a cross between a zebra and a horse, and a zedonk is a cross between a zebra and a donkey.

23 __ pin: metal fastener : COTTER

A split pin is a metal fastener with two tines. It is passed through a hole, often in a metal rod, and held in place in the hole by bending the two tines. The installed pin then prevents another part from sliding off the rod. A split pin might also be called a cotter pin or cotter key.

24 They know their stuff : SAVANTS

A savant is a learned person. The term “savant” can also be short for “idiot savant”, the outdated name for someone with a mental disability but who has above-normal capabilities in perhaps calculation or musical expression.

25 Plants with flavorful and irritating varieties : SUMACS

Sumacs are a group of flowering shrubs and small trees that include poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac (nasty stuff!). The leaves of some species of sumac contain tannins that are used for tanning leather. Morocco leather is an example of the use of sumac tannins.

26 Sweaters in King Arthur’s court? : KNITS OF THE ROUNDTABLE (from “Knights of the Round Table”)

Until the early 1880s, the word “sweater” applied to clothing worn specifically for weight reduction by “sweating”.

King Arthur (and his Round Table) probably never really existed, but his legend is very persistent. Arthur was supposedly a leader of the Romano-British as they tried to resist the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons in the late 5th and early 6th centuries.

29 “Ciao!” : SEE YA!

“Ciao” is Italian for “‘bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.

30 Shiraz’s country : IRAN

The Iranian city of Shiraz has long been associated with wine, but there is no proven link between the city and the wine/grape we know today as “Shiraz” (also called “Syrah”). Having said that, some clay jars were found just outside of the city of Shiraz that contained wine; wine that was 7,000 years old!

31 PC shortcut key : ALT

The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.

32 Earth goddess : GAEA

The Greek goddess personifying the earth was Gaea (also “Gaia”, and meaning “land” or “earth” in Greek). The Roman equivalent goddess was Terra Mater, “Mother Earth”.

34 Offshore retreat for comedians? : THE ISLE OF WIT (from “The Isle of Wight”)

The Isle of Wight is the largest island in England, and lies about five miles off the south coast of the country. For many centuries, the island was a kingdom in its own right. One popular tourist attraction on the Isle of Wight is Osborne House, a former royal residence that was built as a summer home for Queen Victoria, and that was designed by the queen’s consort Prince Albert. Queen Victoria died in Osborne House, in 1901.

43 NL West team : PADRES

The San Diego Padres baseball team was founded in 1969, and immediately joined the ranks of Major League Baseball as an expansion team. The Padres took their name from a Minor League team that had been in the city since 1936. The name is Spanish for “fathers” and is a reference to the Franciscan Friars from Spain who founded San Diego in 1769.

49 Director Kazan : ELIA

Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. He was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when he was given the 1998 Academy Honorary Award citing his lifetime achievement in the industry. Kazan also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.

53 Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House, e.g. : MUSEUM

The Anne Frank House is a museum in central Amsterdam. It was in this canal house that Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for over two years. The house was opened as a museum in 1960, and is now one of the most visited museums in the Netherlands.

Anne Frank has to be one of the most famous victims of the Holocaust. This is largely because the story of this young girl lives on in her widely published diary, and in adaptations of the diary for stage and screen. Anne Frank was a German until she lost her nationality in 1941 when the Nazis came to power. By this time she was living with her family in Amsterdam, as the Franks chose to flee Germany in 1933. When the Germans occupied the Netherlands, the family went into hiding in rooms concealed behind a bookcase in Otto Frank’s office building (Otto was Anne’s father). There the family hid for two whole years until they were betrayed. The family was split up, and Anne and her sister died from typhus in a concentration camp in 1945.

56 Swindle : ROOK

To rook is to cheat. The earlier use of “rook” as a noun was as a disparaging term for a swindler or cheat. Somehow, it was insulting to refer to a person as a rook, as in the type of bird.

57 “Best ever” acronym : GOAT

Greatest of all time (GOAT)

60 Spectrum maker : PRISM

When light passes through a prism, it splits up (disperses) into differing wavelengths. It then becomes clear that white light is actually a mixture of different colors, which show up as a beautiful spectrum.

62 Query to a U.K.-focused think tank? : GOT ANY MORE BRIT IDEAS? (from “got any more bright ideas?)

The terms “United Kingdom”, “Great Britain” and “England” can sometimes be confused. The official use of “United Kingdom” originated in 1707 with the Acts of Union that declared the countries of England and Scotland as “United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain”. The name changed again with the Acts of Union 1800 that created the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” (much to the chagrin of most of the Irish population). This was partially reversed in 1927 when the current name was introduced, the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, in recognition of an independent Irish Free State in the south of the island of Ireland.

69 Buffalo QB Josh : ALLEN

Josh Allen is a quarterback who was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the 2018 NFL Draft.

70 Utah ski resort : ALTA

Alta ski resort actually lies within the Salt Lake City Metropolitan Area. The first ski lift in the resort was opened way back in 1939. Today, Alta is one of only three ski resorts in the country that prohibits snowboarding (along with Deer Valley, Utah and Mad River Glen, Vermont. The ski resort of Snowbird, located next to Alta, has been in operation since 1971.

81 Mazda two-seater : MIATA

The Mazda MX-5 is sold as the Miata in North America, and as the Roadster in Japan. I’ve always liked the looks of the Mazda Miata, probably because it reminds me so much of old British sports cars. The Miata is built in Hiroshima, Japan. The name “Miata” comes from an Old High German word meaning “reward”.

82 Adverb for Descartes : ERGO

The great French philosopher Rene Descartes made the famous statement in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum”. This translates into French as “Je pense, donc je suis” and into English as “I think, therefore I am”. Anything pertaining to the philosophy of Descartes can be described by the adjective “Cartesian”.

83 Police force acronym : SWAT

“SWAT” is an acronym standing for Special Weapons and Tactics. The first SWAT team was pulled together in the Los Angeles Police Department in 1968.

86 Venue for the premiere of Handel’s “Water Music” : THAMES

“Water Music” is a collection of orchestral suites written by George Frideric Handel in 1717. The work was written at the request of British King George I as he wanted a concert that he could listen to on the River Thames. On the occasion of the first performance, the king and his entourage were seated on the royal barge, and the musicians nearby on a second barge. The barges floated down the river for many, many hours as King George was having such a good time. He commanded the musicians to play the whole concert three times.

90 Genesis casualty : ABEL

The story of Cain and Abel not only appears in the Christian and Hebrew Bibles, it also features in the Qur’an. In the Muslim account the brothers are named Qabil and Habil.

92 Capital of Yemen : SANA’A

Sana (also “Sana’a”) is the capital city of Yemen. Sitting at an elevation of 7,380 feet, Sana is one of the highest capital cities in the world. Within the bounds of today’s metropolis is the old fortified city of Sana, where people have lived for over 2,500 years. The Old City is now a World Heritage Site. According to legend, Sana was founded by Shem, the son of Noah.

98 Siblings who produce court orders? : WRIT BROTHERS (from “Wright Brothers”)

A writ is an order issued by some formal body (these days, usually a court) with the order being in “written” form. Warrants and subpoenas are examples of writs.

Wilbur was the older of the two Wright brothers, and he was born in 1867 in Millville, Indiana. By the time that Orville was born in 1871, the family was living in Dayton, Ohio. The Wrights spent a few years of their youth back in Richmond, Indiana, before settling in Dayton for the rest of their lives. The brothers both died in Dayton; Wilbur in 1912 and Orville in 1948.

103 Like the lower half of the Polish flag : RED

The flag of Poland comprises just two stripes, the top being white, and the bottom red.

121 Prison with a Greek eponym : ATTICA

The Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York is used to incarcerate the toughest of the state’s convicts. Famous people who have spent time in Attica include David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) and Mark David Chapman (who killed John Lennon). Attica was the site of a famous riot in 1971 involving almost 1,000 inmates. Control of the prison was restored by the authorities after several days of unrest that left 39 people dead, including ten guards and other prison employees.

The historic region of Attica is home to the city of Athens. Attica comprises a peninsula in the southwest of the country that juts out into the Aegean Sea. As a result, the region is sometimes referred to as the Attic peninsula.

127 Members of the genus Vipera : ADDERS

The adder, a snake in the viper family, is the only venomous snake found on the island of Great Britain. Adders are also found in Norway and Sweden, north of the Arctic Circle.

Down

1 Saves, with “away” : SOCKS …

We’ve been “socking away” money, i.e. saving money, since the early 1940s. The etymology of “sock away” is related to the idea of hiding cash in one’s sock.

2 Pot boiler in “Macbeth” : CRONE

The Three Witches in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” are referred to in the text as the “weird sisters”. They cook up an ugly brew in their cauldron:

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravined salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digged i’ th’ dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat and slips of yew
Slivered in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-delivered by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab.
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

4 Female driver Ortiz of “Fast & Furious” films : LETTY

“The Fast and the Furious” (also “Fast & Furious”) is a series of action movies about street racing and car heists. The original 2001 film spawned several sequels, making it Universal Pictures most successful franchise of all time.

5 Augur : PRESAGE

The verb “to augur” means “to bode, serve as an omen”. The term comes from the name of religious officials in ancient Rome called augurs whose job it was to interpret signs and omens.

6 Rookie : TYRO

A tyro (also “tiro”) is a beginner or a novice. “Tyro” comes into English from Latin, in which language “tiro” means “recruit”.

The term “rookie”, used for a raw recruit, first appeared in Rudyard Kipling’s collection of songs and poems called the “Barrack-Room Ballads”, which was originally published in 1892.

7 Cosa __ : NOSTRA

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.

8 Missouri River city : OMAHA

Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska. It is located on the Missouri River, about 10 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River. When Nebraska was still a territory Omaha was its capital, but when Nebraska achieved statehood the capital was moved to the city of Lincoln.

9 Ordinal for Uranus : SEVENTH

One of the unique features of the planet Uranus is that its north and south poles lie where most other planets have their equators. That means that Uranus’ axis of rotation is almost in its solar orbit.

10 Bygone fruit spray : ALAR

The chemical name for Alar, a plant growth regulator and color enhancer, is “daminozide”. Alar was primarily used on apples but was withdrawn from the market when it was linked to cancer.

11 Longtime TV host who gives automotive advice in “Popular Mechanics” : LENO

Jay Leno was born James Leno in New Rochelle, New York. Jay’s father was the son of Italian immigrants, and his mother was from Scotland. Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and actually dropped out of school on the advice of a high school guidance counsellor. However, years later he went to Emerson College and earned a Bachelor’s degree in speech therapy. Leno also started a comedy club at Emerson in 1973. Today Jay Leno is a car nut and owns about 200 vehicles of various types. You can check them out on his website: www.jaylenosgarage.com.

12 Caesar’s penultimate words : ET TU

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

13 Mortar partner : PESTLE

I’ve loved the sound of the words “mortar” and “pestle”, ever since I was first introduced to them in the chemistry lab. The Romans called a receptacle for pounding or grinding things a “mortarium”, giving us “mortar”. Mortarium was also the word for the product of pounding and grinding, which gives us our “mortar” that’s used with bricks to build a wall. And further, short stubby cannons used in the 16th century resembled a grinding bowl and so were called “mortars”, which evolved into our contemporary weapon of the same name. As far as the pestle is concerned, it is also derived from its Latin name “pistillum”, which comes from the word for “crush”.

14 Congo line? : EQUATOR

The Republic of the Congo is an African nation located on the western coast of the continent, straddling the equator. The Congo made up most of the French Congo starting in 1882, and became fully independent from France in 1960.

16 Currency of 30-Across : RIAL
(30A Shiraz’s country : IRAN)

The rial is the currency of Iran (as well as Yemen, Oman and Tunisia). Generally, there are 1,000 baisa in one rial.

18 __ Arc, Arkansas : DES

The city of Des Arc, Arkansas takes its name from the Bayou des Arc located two miles to the north. The term “arc” is French for “curve, bow”.

21 Common ID : SSN

The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an identity number to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So starting in 1986, the IRS made it a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, seven million dependents “disappeared” in 1987. Today, a SSN is required for a child of any age in order to receive a tax exemption.

28 South Asian lentil dish : DAL

I love dal dishes, which are prepared from various peas or beans (often lentils) that have been stripped of their outer skins and split. Dal is an important part of Indian cuisines. I suppose in Indian terms, split pea soup (another of my favorites) would be called a dal.

35 Sam-I-Am offering : HAM

Dr. Seuss’s famous children’s book “Green Eggs and Ham” was first published in 1960. “Green Eggs and Ham” now ranks twelfth in the list of top selling children’s books. By the way, “Harry Potter” books hold the top four slots in that list. The text of “Green Eggs and Ham” has a lot of “I am” going on. It starts with:

I am Sam
I am Sam
Sam I am

and ends with:

I do so like
green eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,
Sam-I-am

36 Rutgers URL ending : EDU

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, was founded in 1766 as Queen’s College and was one of the nine Colonial Colleges that existed prior to the American Revolution. The Rutgers name was chosen in 1812 in honor of Colonel Henry Rutgers, a Revolutionary War hero and university benefactor.

40 What beaux do : WOO

A beau (plural “beaux”) is the boyfriend of a belle, a young lady. “Beau” and “belle” are the masculine and feminine forms of the French word for “handsome, beautiful”.

41 Texter’s letters for two cents? : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

43 Simon who played Scotty in 2009’s “Star Trek” : PEGG

Simon Pegg is an English actor and comedian who has hit the big time in Hollywood in the past few years. He played “Scotty” in a couple of “Star Trek” movies and tech wizard Benji Dunn in some of the “Mission: Impossible” films.

44 Distant : ALOOF

I suppose one might guess from the “feel” of the word “aloof” that it has nautical roots. Originally “aloof” meant “to windward” and was the opposite of “alee”. A helmsman might be instructed to stay aloof, to steer the boat into the weather to keep a distance from a lee-shore. It is from this sense of maintaining a distance that aloof came to mean “distant” in terms of personality. Interesting, huh …?

45 Unicellular alga : DIATOM

The diatom is a very common type of plankton. Most diatoms are composed of just one cell, but can band together and form filaments or ribbons that are in effect colonies of individual diatoms.

46 Onomatopoeic rapping : RAT-A-TAT-TAT

Onomatopoeia is the naming of something by vocally imitating the sound associated with it. Examples of onomatopoeia are “chirp”, “clash”, “click” and “hiccups”.

51 Network for film buffs : TCM

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is one of my favorite television channels as it delivers just what its name promises, i.e. classic movies.

52 Gold in La Paz : ORO

The administrative capital of Bolivia, La Paz, is officially named Nuestra Senora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace). La Paz is the seat of the Bolivian government, even though the constitutional capital of the country is Sucre.

54 Sch. near Providence : URI

The University of Rhode Island (URI) was chartered as an agricultural school back in 1888. Rhody the Ram was chosen as the school’s mascot in 1923, a nod to URI’s agricultural past. As a result, the school’s sports teams are known as the Rams. URI’s main campus today is located in the village of Kingston, with smaller campuses in Providence, Narragansett and West Greenwich.

Providence is the capital of the state of Rhode Island. The city was founded way back in 1636 by a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony called Roger Williams. Williams believed that it was “God’s merciful providence” that revealed the location of today’s city as a haven for him and his followers, and so gave the new settlement the name “Providence”.

61 Something taken on a bus : SEAT

We use the term “bus” for a mode of transportation as it is an abbreviated form of the original “omnibus”. We imported “omnibus” via French from Latin, in which language it means “for all”. The idea is that an omnibus is a “carriage for all”.

64 Sammie with crunch : BLT

“Sammie” is an informal term meaning “sandwich”.

65 Twenty quires : REAM

A quire is a measure of paper quantity. There are usually 25 sheets in a quire, and 20 quires (500 sheets) in a ream. To complicate things, a quire sometimes only contains 15, 18, 20 or 24 sheets, depending on the type of paper.

66 Bay of Bengal’s ocean : INDIAN

The Bay of Bengal, in the Indian Ocean, is the largest bay in the world.

67 Sound system : STEREO

Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers that are often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

71 Madonna companion, in much art : ANGEL

Mary, mother of Jesus is referred to by several names, including “Madonna”. “Madonna” is a medieval Italian term meaning “Our Lady”.

74 Dresden “Drat!” : ACH!

The German city of Dresden was almost completely destroyed during WWII, especially as a result of the famous firebombing of the city in 1945. Restoration work in the inner city in recent decades led to it being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, in 2006 when the city built a highway bridge close to the city center, UNESCO took Dresden off the list. This marked the only time a European location has lost World Heritage status.

75 Word on old tablets : SHALT

According to the Book of Exodus, God inscribed the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets and gave them to Moses on Mount Sinai.

77 The VW Amarok, e.g. : UTE

The Amarok is a pickup truck introduced by Volkswagen in 2010. The name “Amarok” is a reference to a gigantic wolf of Inuit mythology.

78 __ fresca: pico de gallo : SALSA

Pico de gallo is a Mexican condiment made from tomato, onion and chili peppers. “Pico de gallo” is Spanish for “beak of rooster”. Apparently this name was given as eating of the condiment with the thumb and forefinger resembled the pecking of a rooster. An alternative name for pico de gallo is “salsa fresca”, which translates literally as “fresh sauce”.

83 Bismarck-to-Tucson dir. : SSW

Bismarck is the second most populous city in North Dakota (after Fargo), and the state capital. The site that became the city was originally known as Missouri Crossing, as it was the location where the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed the river. Missouri Crossing became Edwinton after an employee of the Northern Pacific Railway. The railway company renamed the city Bismarck in honor of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, as Northern Pacific was hoping for German investment.

Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona (after Phoenix). The founding father of the city was Hugh O’Conor, yet another Irishman, but one who was raised in Spain. O’Conor was a mercenary working for Spain when he authorized the construction of a military fort called Presidio San Augustín del Tucsón in 1775, which eventually grew into the city that we know today. The Spanish name “Tucsón” comes from the local name “Cuk Ṣon”, which translates as “(at the) base of the black (hill)”.

84 Journalist Hemingway’s assignment : WAR

Ernest Hemingway moved around a lot. He was born in Illinois, and after leaving school headed to the Italian front during WWI. There he served as an ambulance driver, an experience he used as inspiration for “A Farewell to Arms”. He returned to the US after being seriously wounded, but a few years later moved to Paris where he worked as a foreign correspondent. He covered the Spanish War as a journalist, from Spain, using this experience for “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. During the thirties and forties he had two permanent residences, one in Key West, Florida and one in Cuba. In the late fifties he moved to Ketchum, Idaho, where he committed suicide in 1961.

85 Singer DiFranco : ANI

Ani DiFranco is a folk-rock singer and songwriter. DiFranco has also been labeled a “feminist icon”, and in 2006 won the “Woman of Courage Award” from National Organization for Women.

88 Summer at the Sorbonne : ETE

“Sorbonne” is the name usually used for the old University of Paris, and some of the institutions that have succeeded it. The institution was named for French theologian Robert de Sorbonne who founded the original Collège de Sorbonne in 1257. That’s quite a while ago …

89 Bygone geopolitical abbr. : SSR

The former Soviet Union (officially “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” or “USSR”) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and comprised fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

95 Meteorological lines : ISOBARS

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

102 Brutus Buckeye is its mascot: Abbr. : OSU

Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus was founded back in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The athletic teams of OSU are called the Buckeyes, named after the state tree of Ohio. In turn the buckeye tree gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, a dark nut with a light patch thought to resemble a “buck’s eye”. The school’s athletic mascot was introduced in 1965, and is an anthropomorphic buckeye nut named Brutus Buckeye.

105 Intrinsically : PER SE

“Per se” is a Latin phrase that translates as “by itself”. We use “per se” pretty literally, meaning “in itself, intrinsically”.

110 Marquee names : STARS

A marquee is a large sign that is placed over the entrance to a theater. The marquee usually displays the names of the film or play currently showing, as well as the principal actors performing.

112 Cupid analog : EROS

The name of Eros, the Greek god of love, gives rise to our word “erotic” meaning “arousing sexual desire”. Eros was referred to in Latin as both “Amor” (meaning “love”) and “Cupid” (meaning “desire”).

113 Sreenivasan of PBS News : HARI

Hari Sreenivasan is an American broadcast journalist who was born in Mumbai, but emigrated to the US as a child. Sreenivasan moved from CBS to PBS in 2013, joining the team presenting PBS NewsHour.

115 Chicago pizzeria franchise, familiarly : UNO’S

The chain of pizza parlors known today as Uno Chicago Grill used to be called Pizzeria Uno, or just “Uno’s”. Apparently, Uno’s created the world’s first deep-dish pizza.

118 Valley with vintners : NAPA

The first commercial winery in Napa Valley, California was established way back in 1858. However, premium wine production only dates back to the 1960s, with the region really hitting the big time after its success at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. The story of that famous blind wine tasting is told in the entertaining 2008 film “Bottle Shock”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Make a face, perhaps : SCULPT
7 Tab on old cash registers : NO SALE
13 Tarkington tween : PENROD
19 Disagreeable : ORNERY
20 Brunch fare : OMELETS
22 Like zebras and donkeys : EQUINE
23 __ pin: metal fastener : COTTER
24 They know their stuff : SAVANTS
25 Plants with flavorful and irritating varieties : SUMACS
26 Sweaters in King Arthur’s court? : KNITS OF THE ROUNDTABLE (from “Knights of the Round Table”)
29 “Ciao!” : SEE YA!
30 Shiraz’s country : IRAN
31 PC shortcut key : ALT
32 Earth goddess : GAEA
34 Offshore retreat for comedians? : THE ISLE OF WIT (from “The Isle of Wight”)
43 NL West team : PADRES
47 Thing thrown from a tree? : SHADOW
48 Hotel selection : ROOMS
49 Director Kazan : ELIA
50 Clog (up) : STOP
53 Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House, e.g. : MUSEUM
56 Swindle : ROOK
57 “Best ever” acronym : GOAT
58 Harsh-smelling : ACRID
60 Spectrum maker : PRISM
62 Query to a U.K.-focused think tank? : GOT ANY MORE BRIT IDEAS? (from “got any more bright ideas?)
68 Pic, in Peru : FOTO
69 Buffalo QB Josh : ALLEN
70 Utah ski resort : ALTA
72 Altered the revealing side of a dress? : MADE A SLIT ADJUSTMENT (from “made a slight adjustment”)
80 Work with pupils : TEACH
81 Mazda two-seater : MIATA
82 Adverb for Descartes : ERGO
83 Police force acronym : SWAT
86 Venue for the premiere of Handel’s “Water Music” : THAMES
90 Genesis casualty : ABEL
91 Come across : MEET
92 Capital of Yemen : SANA’A
94 Allows access : LETS IN
96 Diner counter array : STOOLS
98 Siblings who produce court orders? : WRIT BROTHERS (from “Wright Brothers”)
101 Tusked beast : BOAR
103 Like the lower half of the Polish flag : RED
104 Allows access, poetically : OPES
106 Major appliances : OVENS
111 Dieters’ interim report on smaller-sized clothes? : WE HAVE JUST BEGUN TO FIT (from “we have just begun to fight”)
119 March : PARADE
120 Out of the loop : UNAWARE
121 Prison with a Greek eponym : ATTICA
122 Worshipper : ADORER
123 Lead off : GO FIRST
124 Kitchen gadget : PEELER
125 Defy : RESIST
126 Biological quintet : SENSES
127 Members of the genus Vipera : ADDERS

Down

1 Saves, with “away” : SOCKS …
2 Pot boiler in “Macbeth” : CRONE
3 Remove, as a knot : UNTIE
4 Female driver Ortiz of “Fast & Furious” films : LETTY
5 Augur : PRESAGE
6 Rookie : TYRO
7 Cosa __ : NOSTRA
8 Missouri River city : OMAHA
9 Ordinal for Uranus : SEVENTH
10 Bygone fruit spray : ALAR
11 Longtime TV host who gives automotive advice in “Popular Mechanics” : LENO
12 Caesar’s penultimate words : ET TU
13 Mortar partner : PESTLE
14 Congo line? : EQUATOR
15 More than cold : NUMB
16 Currency of 30-Across : RIAL
17 In the distant past : ONCE
18 __ Arc, Arkansas : DES
21 Common ID : SSN
27 Quaint word of revulsion : FIE!
28 South Asian lentil dish : DAL
33 Evaluate : ASSAY
35 Sam-I-Am offering : HAM
36 Rutgers URL ending : EDU
37 Android alternative : IOS
38 Won all the games : SWEPT
39 Official note from the boss : FORMAL MEMO
40 What beaux do : WOO
41 Texter’s letters for two cents? : IMO
42 “That’s unfortunate” : TSK
43 Simon who played Scotty in 2009’s “Star Trek” : PEGG
44 Distant : ALOOF
45 Unicellular alga : DIATOM
46 Onomatopoeic rapping : RAT-A-TAT-TAT
47 Notebook type : SPIRAL
51 Network for film buffs : TCM
52 Gold in La Paz : ORO
54 Sch. near Providence : URI
55 Term starter : MID-
59 Chopped liver purveyor : DELI
61 Something taken on a bus : SEAT
63 Transfer point : NODE
64 Sammie with crunch : BLT
65 Twenty quires : REAM
66 Bay of Bengal’s ocean : INDIAN
67 Sound system : STEREO
71 Madonna companion, in much art : ANGEL
73 Put away : EAT
74 Dresden “Drat!” : ACH!
75 Word on old tablets : SHALT
76 Hook partner : JAB
77 The VW Amarok, e.g. : UTE
78 __ fresca: pico de gallo : SALSA
79 Little ones : TOTS
83 Bismarck-to-Tucson dir. : SSW
84 Journalist Hemingway’s assignment : WAR
85 Singer DiFranco : ANI
87 “No big deal” : MEH!
88 Summer at the Sorbonne : ETE
89 Bygone geopolitical abbr. : SSR
93 Wears down : ABRADES
95 Meteorological lines : ISOBARS
97 Put on display, with “out” : TROTTED …
99 Go back : REVERT
100 Dedicated verse : ODE
101 Engenders : BEGETS
102 Brutus Buckeye is its mascot: Abbr. : OSU
105 Intrinsically : PER SE
107 Made an official choice : VOTED
108 IRS option : E-FILE
109 More amiable : NICER
110 Marquee names : STARS
111 Enjoy the kiddie pool : WADE
112 Cupid analog : EROS
113 Sreenivasan of PBS News : HARI
114 Oft-corked container : JUG
115 Chicago pizzeria franchise, familiarly : UNO’S
116 Security source : SAFE
117 Hotel bed request : TWIN
118 Valley with vintners : NAPA
119 Course goal for many : PAR

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 19 Dec 21, Sunday”

  1. 19:17

    A fun puzzle! I got about the first third very fast, then settled down to filling in the spaces. The theme helped me fix a lot of crosses, especially along WRITBROTHERS. The biggest correction was CHILD->ANGEL. If the answer was CHILD, would the clue have been an unqualified “Madonna companion?”

    I guess I’ve learned about PENROD. What a strange name.

    “Quire” is a cool word.

  2. Took a swing and struck out on the ending to Tarkington tween and the first letter to ____ Arc, Arkansas. Put in a “w instead of the correct (completely unknown) “d” which means one wrong letter and two aggravating errors! D’oh!

  3. 26 minutes, 46 seconds, needed Check Grid for 8 typos.

    It’s a Wechsler, which is why it was so thoroughly unenjoyable. Half the grid is in foreign language and terms, the other half is cynically clued to confuse and addle … and top it off with a stupid theme based on yet another idiotic “rule” … “no GH” ? WTF???

  4. I just love Jeffrey Wechsler’s puzzles! They are always so clever and interesting. I got the theme right away and got everything except WRIT Brothers — I kept thinking it was going to be something to do with “write”

  5. I loved this one. Had a few tough parts that I eventually fixed. There is a local landscaping company that is called Gaia, so that’s what I put in. Took a while to give that up.

  6. PS My dad loved PENROD as a boy, and I read it abt 50 yrs ago on his recommendation. I don’t remember much abt it, but I did recognize the answer once I had a couple of letters in place.

  7. Started late, finished late. Had one “look-up” i.e. Pegg…and one error
    because I didn’t pay attention. “themes instead of Thames for 86across.But
    I really enjoyed the puzzle and theme.

  8. I started without looking at author. ….
    Had several blanks then looked at author.
    Oh…….
    Had to think a lot but boy that was fun!

    Did not know “Sammy” was a sandwich.

    Posted late today.. lots of other things going on today.

  9. Very fun and mostly easy Sunday; took 32:26 with no peeks or errors. Didn’t know a few things (PENROD, DES, PEGG, DIATOM, TCM) and a two I only kinda vaguely sensed (BLT, ATTICA). Guessed right on the “D” in the NE corner to finish.

    Always enjoy Wechsler challenges.

    @Glenn – Yeah, I expect most/all of those are rechargeable batteries. I just bought a new head lamp that is rechargeable and you can check where it is on charge, before you start, so you don’t run out during the ride. I used to do a brutal 40 mile ride, once a month and then switched to a much easier 40 mile ride (flatter), but I gave up for a long while scared of people on cell phones. It seems people are mostly more responsible now, so I may take up the easier ride again in the new year.

    Okay…time for a sammy…hmm, no, that still doesn’t sound right 🙂

  10. 34:25 with no errors or lookups. A clever theme with GH missing from the common phrases and terms (which helped with some of the answers).

    Had to change OSAGE>OMAHA, GAIA>GAEA, DRAM>REAM, VAN>UTE, KING>TWIN. I can’t imagine who would ask for a twin bed at a hotel, unless a rollaway bed is, by definition, a twin size.

    Did not know LETTY, PENRID, UNOS (but probably have seen it in a puzzle before), DES Arc, QUIRE.

  11. I thought the “long and short” referred to the vowel change when the gh was removed. For example, knit (short i) to knight (long i). Brit (short) to bright (long i) and so on.

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