LA Times Crossword 22 Dec 21, Wednesday

Advertisement

Constructed by: George Jasper
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Railsplitter

Themed answers each comprise the letters “RAIL” SPLIT between start and finish:

  • 52A Abraham Lincoln nickname, and a hint to a hidden word in each answer to a starred clue : RAILSPLITTER
  • 20A *Generate funds for a corporate project, say : RAISE CAPITAL
  • 34A *Condition of steaming water with lots of bubbles breaking quickly : RAPID BOIL
  • 40A *Drambuie and Scotch cocktail : RUSTY NAIL

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

Bill’s time: 5m 41s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Abe Lincoln feature : BEARD

There is a story that just before Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, he received a letter from a 12-year-old girl who criticized Lincoln’s appearance and his pockmarked, gaunt face. The little girl, Grace Bedell from New York, promised to get her brothers to vote for Lincoln if he would just grow a beard. However, Lincoln waited until after the election to grow his famous whiskers, a distinctive look that would forever be associated with his presidency.

10 Yarn relative : TALE

The phrase “to spin a yarn”, meaning “to tell a tall tale”, originated in the early 1800s with seamen. The idea was that sailors would tell stories to each other while engaged in mindless work such as twisting yarn.

14 Pool owner’s bane : ALGAE

Algae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they use photosynthesis to create sugars from light and carbon dioxide, but they differ in that they have simpler anatomies, and for example lack roots.

16 One slain in Genesis : ABEL

In the story of Cain and Abel in the Book of Genesis, Cain murders his brother Abel. Subsequently, God asks Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain replies, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

18 Dollywood’s st. : TENN

Dollywood is a theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee that is owned by country singer Dolly Parton. The park opened in 1961 under the name Rebel Railroad. That name was changed to Goldrush Junction in 1970, Goldrush in 1976, Silver Dollar City Tennessee in 1977 and finally to Dollywood in 1986 when Parton became a co-owner.

19 Princess friend of Gabrielle : XENA

The Xena character, played by New Zealander Lucy Lawless, was introduced in a made-for-TV movie called “Hercules and the Amazon Women”. Lawless reprised the role in a series called “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”. Xena became so popular that a series was built around her character, with Lawless retained for the title role. The fictional Xena supposedly came from the “non-fictional” Greek city of Amphipolis.

Renee O’Connor is an actress from Katy, Texas who is best known for playing Gabrielle on the television show “Xena: Warrior Princess”.

26 Archaeological artifact : RELIC

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

27 Ranges of colors : SPECTRA

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.

29 “Fantastic” J.K. Rowling critters : BEASTS

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a 2016 spin-off and prequel to the incredibly successful “Harry Potter” series of films. The film is an adaptation of a book of the same name written by J. K. Rowling that purports to be a guide book about the magical creatures in the “Harry Potter” universe. Harry Potter carries a copy of the guide book as one of his school books in the original novel “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”.

37 EPA pollution std. : AQI

The air quality index (AQI) is monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

39 Outdoor gear brand : REI

REI is a sporting goods store, with the initialism standing for Recreational Equipment Inc. REI was founded in Seattle by Lloyd and Mary Anderson in 1938 as a cooperative that supplies quality climbing gear to outdoor enthusiasts. The first full-time employee hired by the Andersons was Jim Whittaker, who was the first American to climb Mount Everest.

40 *Drambuie and Scotch cocktail : RUSTY NAIL

The rusty nail cocktail is a mixture of Drambuie and Scotch, and is usually served over ice. Without the ice, the drink is sometimes called a straight-up nail. There is also a Canadian version of a rusty nail that uses rye whiskey instead of scotch that’s called a Donald Sutherland, after the celebrated Canadian actor.

43 Hogwarts motto language : LATIN

In the “Harry Potter” series of books, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has the motto “Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus”. This translates from Latin as “Never tickle a sleeping dragon”.

48 “__ Survive”: disco classic : I WILL

Gloria Gaynor is a singer who had most success during the disco era, most notably with “I Will Survive” in 1979. Gaynor released “I Will Survive” as a B-side to “Substitute”, a cover version to a Righteous Brothers song. “Substitute” made it to #107 in the charts in December 1978. “I Will Survive” hit the #1 spot three months later.

52 Abraham Lincoln nickname, and a hint to a hidden word in each answer to a starred clue : RAILSPLITTER

Before Abraham Lincoln was elected president, his political campaign used the nickname “Railsplitter” to emphasize the candidate’s humble upbringing. Lincoln had worked at splitting fence rails in his youth.

56 Not pizzicato : ARCO

“Arco” is a musical direction instructing a string player to return to normal bowing technique after a passage played using some other technique (perhaps pizzicato).

63 A comet was often considered a bad one : OMEN

Comets and asteroids are similar, both being relatively small celestial bodies orbiting the sun. Comets differ from asteroids in that they have a coma or tail, especially when they are close enough to the sun. The coma and tail are temporary fuzzy atmospheres that develop due to the presence of solar radiation. Comets are sometimes referred to as “dirty snowballs”, a reference to their composition: rock, dust, water ice and frozen gases.

64 WWII sea threat : U-BOAT

The term “U-boat” comes from the German word “Unterseeboot” (undersea boat). U-boats were primarily used in WWII to enforce a blockade against enemy commercial shipping, with a main objective being to cut off the supplies being transported to Britain from the British colonies and the US. The epic fight for control of the supply routes became known as the Battle of the Atlantic.

65 Fork over, with “up” : PONY …

“To pony up” means “to pay”. Apparently, the term originated as a slang use of the Latin “legem pone” that was once used for “money”. “Legem Pone” was the title of the Psalm that was read out on March 25 each year, and March 25 was the first payday of the year in days gone by.

66 __ Room: White House banquet site : EAST

The magnificent East Room is the largest room in the White House. It was also one of the last rooms to be finished, so Abigail Adams hung laundry there when it was in its unfinished state. Nowadays of course the East Room is used for entertaining and formal ceremonies. I’ve never had the privilege of touring the White House, but I have been in a replica of the East Room that can be visited at the Nixon Presidential Library in Southern California.

67 Reddish cent : PENNY

The official name of our smallest denomination coin is “cent”, and our use of the word “penny” is just a colloquialism derived from the British coin of the same name. In the UK, the plural of penny is “pence”, whereas we have “pennies” in our pockets.

The original one-cent coin was introduced in the US in 1793 and was made of 100% copper, giving rise to the nickname “copper” for a 1-cent coin. The composition varied over time, and was 100% bronze up to the 1940s. During WWII there was a shortage of copper to make bronze, so the US Mint switched to zinc-coated steel for production of one-cent coins in 1943. The “steelie” is the only coin ever issued by the US mint that can be picked up by a magnet. Today’s one-cent coin consists mainly of zinc.

Something that is not worth a red cent has very little value. The “red” reference is to the color of a copper penny.

Down

1 Limbo need : BAR

The limbo dance originated on the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean. The name “limbo” is an alteration of our word “limber”, which isn’t surprising given what one has to do to get under that bar!

2 Jeff Lynne rock gp. : ELO

Jeff Lynne is a singer-songwriter who is best known as the leader of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Lynne went on to form the Traveling Wilburys supergroup, along with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty.

4 Wearying grind : RAT RACE

We use “rat race” figuratively to describe an endless, pointless pursuit. The term comes from the laboratory, where one might imagine rats racing around a maze in search of some cheese.

5 Makes potable, as seawater : DESALTS

Something that is potable is fit to drink. The term “potable” derives from the Latin verb “potare” meaning “to drink”, which is also the root for our word “potion”.

6 Bldg. divisions : APTS

A building (bldg.) might be divided into apartments (apts.).

7 Take the helm : STEER

In its broadest sense, the term “helm” describes the whole of a ship’s steering mechanism, including the rudder and tiller. In a more specific sense, the helm is the handle, tiller or wheel that is used to control the steering gear.

8 Prevention measure : OUNCE

According to Benjamin Franklin, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

10 One hailed in cities : TAXICAB

We call cabs “taxis”, a word derived from “taximeter cabs” that were introduced in London in 1907. A taximeter was an automated meter designed to record distance travelled and fare to be charged. The term “taximeter” evolved from “taxameter”, with “taxa” being Latin for “tax, charge”.

11 Be on the lookout for? : ABET

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (literally “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

12 Headey of “Game of Thrones” : LENA

English actress Lena Headey is best known for playing Cersei Lannister on the fantasy series “Game of Thrones”. Although a British citizen, Headey was actually born in Bermuda, where her father was stationed as a police officer.

13 Airline to Tel Aviv : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. El Al is known for its high levels of security, both on the ground and in the air. Reportedly, the airline’s passenger aircraft have been operating with anti-missile technology for several years.

Ben Gurion International (TLV) is Israel’s main airport, and is located in the city of Lod just a few miles southeast of Tel Aviv. The airport is named for David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister.

21 Tel Aviv home: Abbr. : ISR

The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. “Tel Aviv” translates into “Spring Mound”, and is a name that was chosen in 1910. Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 as a housing development outside the port city of Jaffa. Tel Aviv and Jaffa merged in 1950.

28 “Rigoletto” highlight : ARIA

“Rigoletto” is one of Giuseppe Verdi’s most famous and oft-performed operas. The storyline comes from Victor Hugo’s play “Le roi s’amuse” (usually translated as “The King’s Fool”). Rigoletto is the king’s fool, the jester.

30 Combat mission : SORTIE

A sortie is an attack by an armed unit, and usually a breakout by forces that are besieged, The term “sortie” comes directly from French and means “a going out”. “Sortie” is also used for a mission by a combat aircraft.

32 “The __ and arrows of outrageous fortune”: Hamlet : SLINGS

There has been centuries of debate about how one interprets Hamlet’s soliloquy that begins “To be or not to be …”. My favorite opinion is that Hamlet is weighing up the pros and cons of suicide (“to not be”).

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles …

35 “Thrilla in Manila” victor : ALI

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier had three memorable fights. The first was billed as the “Fight of the Century” and took place in 1971 in Madison Square Garden. It was a fight between two great boxers, both of whom were undefeated up till that point. Frazier won in a unanimous decision after fifteen rounds. A couple of years later, in 1973, Frazier lost his title to George Foreman. Ali and Frazier had a non-title rematch in 1974, with Ali coming out ahead this time, also in a unanimous decision. Later that year, Ali grabbed back the World Heavyweight Title in “The Rumble in the Jungle”, the famous “rope-a-dope” fight against George Foreman. That set the stage for the third and final fight between Ali and Frazier, “The Thrilla in Manila”. Ali won the early rounds, but Frazier made a comeback in the middle of the fight. Ali took control at the end of the bout, so much so that Frazier wasn’t able to come out of his corner for the 15th and final round. He couldn’t come out of his corner because both of his eyes were swollen shut, giving Ali a victory due to a technical knockout (TKO).

42 Sailing deviations : YAWS

The word “yaw” means to deviate from the line of a course and is used mainly at sea and in the air. “Yaw” is derived from the Old Norse word “jaege” which means “to drive, chase”. As such, “yaw” is etymologically related to our word “yacht”.

44 Chalk up : ASCRIBE

Back in the 1500s, a person who purchased an item in a store might have that debt “chalked up”, written in chalk on a board on the wall. It is from this practice that we get our verb “to chalk up” meaning “to ascribe, credit”. An extension of this usage is found in the phrase “to chalk up a victory”.

49 Andean grazer : LLAMA

Many female mammals lick off their newborn. That’s not an option for llamas as their tongues only reach out of their mouths about half an inch. Instead, llama dams nuzzle their young and hum to them.

53 Woody’s son : ARLO

Arlo Guthrie is the son of Woody Guthrie. Both father and son are renowned for singing protest songs about social injustice. Arlo is most famous for his epic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”, a song that lasts a full 18m 34s. In the song Guthrie tells how, after being drafted, he was rejected for service in the Vietnam War based on his criminal record. He had only one incident on his public record, a Thanksgiving Day arrest for littering and being a public nuisance when he was 18-years-old.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Abe Lincoln feature : BEARD
6 Starting from : AS OF
10 Yarn relative : TALE
14 Pool owner’s bane : ALGAE
15 Spitting sound : PTUI!
16 One slain in Genesis : ABEL
17 Dyeing targets for some : ROOTS
18 Dollywood’s st. : TENN
19 Princess friend of Gabrielle : XENA
20 *Generate funds for a corporate project, say : RAISE CAPITAL
23 Pinkish hues : CORALS
26 Archaeological artifact : RELIC
27 Ranges of colors : SPECTRA
29 “Fantastic” J.K. Rowling critters : BEASTS
33 Fortunate ones : HAVES
34 *Condition of steaming water with lots of bubbles breaking quickly : RAPID BOIL
37 EPA pollution std. : AQI
38 Kept from squeaking : OILED
39 Outdoor gear brand : REI
40 *Drambuie and Scotch cocktail : RUSTY NAIL
43 Hogwarts motto language : LATIN
45 Watch closely : PEER AT
46 Poking fun at : TEASING
48 “__ Survive”: disco classic : I WILL
51 In-group privilege : ACCESS
52 Abraham Lincoln nickname, and a hint to a hidden word in each answer to a starred clue : RAILSPLITTER
56 Not pizzicato : ARCO
57 Domesticated : TAME
58 Loses on purpose? : DIETS
62 Trudge (through) : SLOG
63 A comet was often considered a bad one : OMEN
64 WWII sea threat : U-BOAT
65 Fork over, with “up” : PONY …
66 __ Room: White House banquet site : EAST
67 Reddish cent : PENNY

Down

1 Limbo need : BAR
2 Jeff Lynne rock gp. : ELO
3 Had __ at: tried : A GO
4 Wearying grind : RAT RACE
5 Makes potable, as seawater : DESALTS
6 Bldg. divisions : APTS
7 Take the helm : STEER
8 Prevention measure : OUNCE
9 Auction ender : FINAL BID
10 One hailed in cities : TAXICAB
11 Be on the lookout for? : ABET
12 Headey of “Game of Thrones” : LENA
13 Airline to Tel Aviv : EL AL
21 Tel Aviv home: Abbr. : ISR
22 Variegated : PIED
23 Note in an A major scale : C-SHARP
24 Not transparent : OPAQUE
25 Edit : REVISE
28 “Rigoletto” highlight : ARIA
30 Combat mission : SORTIE
31 Fast-food toy giveaways, typically : TIE-INS
32 “The __ and arrows of outrageous fortune”: Hamlet : SLINGS
35 “Thrilla in Manila” victor : ALI
36 Hit, as with snowballs : PELT
38 Sneaking, maybe : ON TIPTOE
41 Three-part work : TRILOGY
42 Sailing deviations : YAWS
43 Got ready for the ice, as skates : LACED UP
44 Chalk up : ASCRIBE
47 No longer fast? : EAT
49 Andean grazer : LLAMA
50 Bartender’s supply : LIMES
52 Abrasive sound : RASP
53 Woody’s son : ARLO
54 Clickable pic : ICON
55 Outdoor party rental : TENT
59 Ages and ages : EON
60 Summer shade : TAN
61 Oink pen : STY

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 22 Dec 21, Wednesday”

  1. No errors or Googles. Easier than yesterday once I figured out what Abe was SPLITting.
    Did not actually know AQI or REI.

  2. What fun: A “Game of Thrones” clue … how original! *Two* Harry Potter clues (both unavoidable, though — how could either BEASTS or LATIN possibly have been clued any other way?) Then there’s AQI and REI and PTUI, and so much more (Whoa! Is that a PEE RAT in the RAT RACE?) It’s dizzying!

  3. Sure wish I had read all the “Potter” books. Seems like there is usually one clue based on those books at least two or three times a week. And, today there were TWO clues based on those books. Oh my . . .

  4. 4:59

    A fun little puzzle. Whipped through while I was still wondering what the theme was.

    That 10D clue seems awfully big-city centered. Not even every big city has TAXICAB service you can hail from the street.

    I’m surprised I remembered what goes in a RUSTYNAIL. Guess I didn’t go to college for nothing.

  5. 7 mins 14 secs, no issues or errors.

    All I want for Christmas is a week free of “shenanigans” in our grids. Thursday – Saturday will tell the tale.

  6. Mostly easy Wednesday for me; took 10:18 with no peeks or errors. Still, a bit of dancing around trying to make sense of some of the clues.

    Last time I called a TAXICAB it cost me $60 to go to SFO and then two weeks later they wanted $90 to return…grumble, grumble…@!#$*&

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.