LA Times Crossword 23 Dec 21, Thursday

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Constructed by: Paul Coulter
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Double Meanings

Themed clues each use the same noun twice, but with a different meaning each time. Clever …

  • 17A Blades for trimming blades : LAWN MOWER
  • 28A Development that ended much development : DIGITAL CAMERA
  • 46A Club used at a club : PITCHING WEDGE
  • 64A Wheels for carrying wheels : LIMOUSINE

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

Bill’s time: 6m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Long-range nuke : ICBM

An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is a ballistic missile with the range necessary to cross between continents. Being ballistic (unlike a cruise missile), an ICBM is guided during the initial launch phase, but later in flight just relies on thrust and gravity to arrive at its target. It is defined as intercontinental as it has a range greater than 3,500 miles. ICBMs are really only used for delivering nuclear warheads. Scary stuff …

14 Palm whose oil is used in cosmetics : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

15 David Copperfield wife : DORA

In Charles Dickens’ novel “David Copperfield”, the title character’s first wife is Dora Spenlow. The marriage does not last long, as Dora never recovers from a miscarriage. Dora dies with her husband’s childhood friend Agnes Wickfield at her side. Later in the story, Agnes becomes David’s second wife.

20 Channel that shows college games : ESPNU

ESPNU (short for “ESPN Universities”) is a sports channel focused on college athletics.

21 Banquet offering : TV DINNER

Banquet Foods is a brand of food products that was introduced in 1953 as a line of frozen meat pies. Today, Banquet is best known for its frozen dinners.

34 Disinfectant brand since 1889 : LYSOL

Lysol disinfectant takes its name from the words “lysosome” and “solvent”. Lysosomes are structures found within cells that have the job of breaking up waste material and cellular debris.

39 Bell invention with a bell : PHONE

Alexander Graham Bell was an inventor and scientist from Edinburgh, Scotland who later lived in Canada and the US. Both his wife and his mother were deaf, a fact that led to Bell spending much of life researching hearing and speech. Bell’s work on hearing devices led to the invention of the telephone. Paradoxically, Bell hated the telephone and refused to have one in the study of his home where he worked. I am with him on this one, as I hate the phone …

42 Farm mom : MARE

There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:

  • Foal: horse of either sex that is less than one year old
  • Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
  • Filly: female horse under the age of four
  • Colt: male horse under the age of four
  • Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
  • Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
  • Mare: female horse four years or older

46 Club used at a club : PITCHING WEDGE

That would be golf.

52 Centuries-old discipline : YOGA

In the West, we tend to think of yoga as just a physical discipline, a means of exercise that uses specific poses to stretch and strengthen muscles. While it is true that the ancient Indian practice of yoga does involve such physical discipline, the corporeal aspect of the practice plays a relatively small part in the whole philosophy. Other major components are meditation, ethical behavior, breathing and contemplation.

54 Japanese computer giant : NEC

“NEC” is the name that the Nippon Electric Company chose for itself outside of Japan after a rebranding exercise in 1983.

57 Call dibs on, with “to” : LAY CLAIM …

The phrase “to have dibs on” expresses a claim on something. Apparently, the term “dibs” is a contraction of “dibstone”, which was a knucklebone or jack used in a children’s game.

61 1736 writer of a seminal paper on graph theory : EULER

Leonhard Euler was a brilliant Swiss mathematician and physicist, and a pioneer in the fields of logarithms and graph theory. Euler’s eyesight deteriorated during his working life, and he eventually became almost totally blind.

64 Wheels for carrying wheels : LIMOUSINE

The word “limousine” derives from the name of the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

Someone of great importance, particularly in an organization, might be described as a “big wheel”.

67 Setting for a Tony-winning Miller play : SALEM

“The Crucible” is a 1952 play by Arthur Miller that tells the story of the Salem witch trials. Miller wrote it as an allegory for the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings that were being chaired by Senator Joe McCarthy around that time. Miller was called before the Committee himself, and was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to “name names”.

68 Persia, now : IRAN

Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was referred to as Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

72 Eye ailment : STYE

A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.

Down

2 PayPal payment, e.g. : E-CASH

PayPal is an e-commerce business that has been around since the year 2000, born out of a merger of two older companies: Confinity and X.com. PayPal performs payment processing for online vendors. The company was so successful that it was the first of the beleaguered dot.com companies to successfully complete an IPO after the attacks of 9/11. Then in 2002, PayPal was bought by eBay for a whopping $1.5 billion.

4 __ Féin : SINN

Sinn Féin is a political party in Ireland, and one of the largest parties in both the Northern Ireland Assembly and in the Oireachtas (the parliament of the Republic of Ireland). The party has the stated aim of uniting Ireland north and south. “Sinn Féin” is Irish for “we ourselves”.

6 Intimidate : COW

The verb “to cow” means to intimidate, to scare. The exact etymology of the term seems unclear.

7 Two-time Cy Young Award winner Saberhagen : BRET

Bret Saberhagen is a retired Major League Baseball pitcher who started his career with the Kansas City Royals in 1984. He retired in 2001, while playing for the Boston Red Sox.

Cy Young was a pitcher in the major leagues from 1890-1911. Young is remembered for pitching the first perfect game of baseball’s modern era. Soon after he died in 1955, the Cy Young Award was created and is presented to the best pitcher in each baseball season.

9 Western Pacific island capital : MANILA

Many moons ago, I spent a couple of very happy years living in Manila in the Philippines. I had an apartment there, and residing in the apartment building next door was Imelda Marcos, along with all of her shoes I assume …

10 Alias : ANONYM

An anonym is a person whose name is not given, one who retains “anonymity”. The term “anonym” is also an alternative for “pseudonym, alias”.

12 Latin infinitive : ESSE

“Esse” is the Latin for “to be”. “Sum” means “I am”, “est” means “he, she is”, and “erat” means “he, she was”.

18 Wet weather word : MUGGY

Our term “muggy” means “warm and humid”, and comes from the Old Norse word “mugga” that describes “drizzling mist”.

22 Holiday mo. : DEC

December is the twelfth month in our calendar but was the tenth month in the old Roman calendar, hence the name (“decem” is Latin for “ten”). Back then there were only ten months in the year. “Ianuarius” (January) and “Februarius” (February) were then added as the eleventh and twelfth months of the year. Soon after, the year was reset and January and February became the first and second months.

25 Speak like Sylvester : LISP

Sylvester J. Pussycat is also known as Puddy Tat, and is a character who appeared in “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies” cartoons. Sylvester is the cat who is often trying to get the better of Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzales and Hippety Hopper. Sylvester’s trademark line is the exclamation “Sufferin’ succotash!”, which emphasizes the characters pronounced lisp.

26 Texter’s “Then again … ” : OTOH …

On the other hand (OTOH)

31 Acid Rain Program org. : EPA

The EPA’s Acid Rain Program is designed to combat acid rain by reducing the levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. It is a market-based initiative that allows coal-burning plants to trade in emission permits.

Acid rain is any precipitation that is unusually acidic. The acidity in rain mainly comes from sulfur dioxide that is discharged into the atmosphere from industrial plants and volcanic eruptions.

32 Capek classic : RUR

Karel Čapek was a Czech writer noted for his works of science fiction. Čapek’s 1921 play “R.U.R.” is remembered in part for introducing the world to the word “robot”. The words “automaton” and “android” were already in use, but Capek gave us “robot” from the original Czech “robota” meaning “forced labor”. The acronym “R.U.R.”, in the context of the play, stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots”.

37 “Aladdin” prince : ALI

In Disney’s version of the “Aladdin” story, released in 1992, the street urchin Aladdin uses one of three wishes to become a prince so that he can get near Princess Jasmine, with whom he has become besotted. With the genie’s help, Aladdin takes on the persona of “Prince Ali of Ababwa”.

40 Colorful salamander : NEWT

Salamanders are lizard-like amphibians found all across the northern hemisphere. They are the only vertebrate animals that can regenerate lost limbs.

41 Big-mouthed one that can hold its wine? : EWER

A pitcher is a container for liquid that has a handle, mouth and spout. The term “jug” is used for the same container in other English-speaking countries. “Ewer” is an older term describing a pitcher/jug. Today, a ewer is a highly decorative pitcher, often with a base and flared spout.

42 Sess. : MTG

Meeting (mtg.)

Session (abbreviated to “sess.” formally, and “sesh” informally)

45 Bye word : ADIEU

“Adieu” is French for “goodbye, farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

49 “Hometown Proud” supermarket : IGA

The initialism “IGA” stands for “Independent Grocers Alliance”, and is a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago. The company uses the slogan “Hometown Proud Supermarkets”.

56 Minotaur’s home : CRETE

Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands. Crete figures heavily in Greek mythology. Zeus was born in a cave at Mount Ida, the highest peak on the island. Crete was also home to the Labyrinth where the Minotaur was slain by Theseus. Icarus and Daedalus, after having crafted the Labyrinth, escaped from the island using wings that they crafted.

59 Risk-taker’s acronym : YOLO

You only live once (YOLO)

60 Actress Sorvino : MIRA

Mira Sorvino is an American actress, and a winner of an Oscar for her supporting role in the 1995 Woody Allen movie “Mighty Aphrodite”. Sorvino also played a title role opposite Lisa Kudrow in the very forgettable “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion”.

62 FedEx rival : USPS

The US Postal Service (USPS) is a remarkable agency in many ways. For starters, the government’s right and responsibility to establish the Post Office is specifically called out in Article One of the US constitution. Also, the first postmaster general was none other than Benjamin Franklin. And, the USPS operates over 200,000 vehicles, which is the largest vehicle fleet in the world.

66 “A Chorus Line” number : ONE

“One” is “one” of the big numbers in the hit musical “A Chorus Line”.

One singular sensation
Every little step she takes
One thrilling combination
Every move that she makes
One smile and suddenly nobody else will do
You know you’ll never be lonely with you know who

“A Chorus Line” is a phenomenal hit musical first staged in 1975, with music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban. The original Broadway production ran for well over 6,000 performances, making it the longest running production in Broadway history up to that time, a record held for over 20 years (until “Cats” came along).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Some game pieces : PEGS
5 Long-range nuke : ICBM
9 Like horses : MANED
14 Palm whose oil is used in cosmetics : ACAI
15 David Copperfield wife : DORA
16 Barely, with “by” : … A NOSE
17 Blades for trimming blades : LAWN MOWER
19 Futile : NO USE
20 Channel that shows college games : ESPNU
21 Banquet offering : TV DINNER
23 Any ship : SHE
24 Shine, in adspeak : GLO
27 Evasive : EELY
28 Development that ended much development : DIGITAL CAMERA
34 Disinfectant brand since 1889 : LYSOL
35 Nipper : PUP
36 Collapsed : SANK
39 Bell invention with a bell : PHONE
42 Farm mom : MARE
43 “Bravo!” : OLE!
44 Unaccustomed to : NEW AT
46 Club used at a club : PITCHING WEDGE
52 Centuries-old discipline : YOGA
53 Pod opening : TRI-
54 Japanese computer giant : NEC
57 Call dibs on, with “to” : LAY CLAIM …
61 1736 writer of a seminal paper on graph theory : EULER
63 From an earlier time : OF OLD
64 Wheels for carrying wheels : LIMOUSINE
67 Setting for a Tony-winning Miller play : SALEM
68 Persia, now : IRAN
69 “Check this out!” : PSST!
70 Seriously weaken : ERODE
71 Bind, in a way : TAPE
72 Eye ailment : STYE

Down

1 Loses color : PALES
2 PayPal payment, e.g. : E-CASH
3 Rubbernecked : GAWPED
4 __ Féin : SINN
5 “What will __ now?” : I DO
6 Intimidate : COW
7 Two-time Cy Young Award winner Saberhagen : BRET
8 Show amazement (at) : MARVEL
9 Western Pacific island capital : MANILA
10 Alias : ANONYM
11 Proper __ : NOUN
12 Latin infinitive : ESSE
13 Big game : DEER
18 Wet weather word : MUGGY
22 Holiday mo. : DEC
25 Speak like Sylvester : LISP
26 Texter’s “Then again … ” : OTOH …
29 Breed : ILK
30 One way to sing : ALONG
31 Acid Rain Program org. : EPA
32 Capek classic : RUR
33 Parrot : APE
36 Bribe : SOP
37 “Aladdin” prince : ALI
38 After expenses : NET
40 Colorful salamander : NEWT
41 Big-mouthed one that can hold its wine? : EWER
42 Sess. : MTG
45 Bye word : ADIEU
47 Recurred at regular intervals : CYCLED
48 Loving request : HOLD ME
49 “Hometown Proud” supermarket : IGA
50 Ace a test : NAIL IT
51 Join : ENLIST
55 Tiny : EENSY
56 Minotaur’s home : CRETE
57 Get rid of : LOSE
58 Hardly around the corner : AFAR
59 Risk-taker’s acronym : YOLO
60 Actress Sorvino : MIRA
62 FedEx rival : USPS
65 Plan (out) : MAP
66 “A Chorus Line” number : ONE

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 23 Dec 21, Thursday”

  1. I must have been in a puzzle solving funk because I had an unusually difficult time in solving some of the clues. Also, one had to be as old as I am (well past 80) to come up with the answer to 21A. It (and others) were deceptive clues requiring going outside of the proverbial box.
    Have a warm, fuzzy holiday weekend, y’all.

  2. 18:04

    Nice to see EULER.

    As for the theme…
    LAWNMOWER, Okay seen that gag before.
    DIGITALCAMERA, heh, pretty good.
    LIMOUSINE, Um the wheels carry … big wheels? ooohkay.
    PITCHINGWEDGE, WTH is that? Is that a golf thing? I brute-forced my way through the alphabet in three squares for this?

  3. Back and forth. To and fro. This way then that. All in the NW corner because of inking in “afore” for 63 Across “From an earlier time” clue that led my brain to the wrong answer. Now all my staring and hemming and hawing while I tr 47ied to work out 47, 48 and 57 Down. Finally I got to where I needed to go, but it was a long circuitous route…like a taxi driver taking an out of town, first time visitor foe the “scenic” meter spinning path to their hotel.

  4. 17:05 with no errors or lookups. Had to adjust GAWKED>GAWPED, ALONE>ALONG, NCR>NEC, LAY>MAP.

    Clever theme. Got lucky with guesses at ANONYM, EENSY, and ESSE. I know of ESSE, but not as an infinitive. Don’t know of having heard of EULER before.

  5. Slightly trick Thursday for me; took 18:39 with no peeks or errors. Plenty of dancing around in almost all areas, but especially in the SW corner. When I finally nailed that down I had another look in the NW corner where I misspelled SIeN, but the cross LAWN made that easy to spot…*ding* the banner.

    I got some E-Cash just today when I sold some of my creamed honey!

    Happy Holidays everyone!!

  6. Bill – you always indicate how long it took you to solve the puzzle. I’m curious – how long does it take to write up all the explanations?

  7. i came here to see the limousine clue explained, but alas, it wasn’t. so i went back and looked at the grid to think on it some more, and i noticed that after i finished the puzzle on the website, the clue had been updated. it now reads “wheels for carrying big wheels [and then underneath in gray] MW – wheel = person of importance.”

    not having been solving the LAT puzzle for very long i thought, oh that’s cool, i never noticed they gave explanations for the themers once you finish solving. so i clicked on the other themers but no…there was only an amendment for this one. so i suppose a sufficient number of people must have been flummoxed for them to make such an edit. interesting.

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