LA Times Crossword 12 Nov 22, Saturday

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Constructed by: Rich Norris
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 12m 17s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • KIRIBATA (Kiriwati!)
  • BTS (WTS)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14 Long way to go? : LIMO RIDE

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 …

18 Console with Party and Fit games : WII

Introduced in 2006, Nintendo’s Wii quickly became the biggest-selling game console in the world.

24 Dance company founder Ailey : ALVIN

Alvin Ailey was a dancer who formed his own troupe in New York in 1958, naming it “the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater”. The most famous work that Ailey choreographed was called “Revelations”. President Barack Obama awarded Ailey the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously, in 2014.

28 Kinsey research focus : SEX

Alfred Kinsey sure did create a stir with his work and publications. He founded the Institute for Sex Research in 1947, and published the famous “Kinsey Reports” in 1948 and 1953. I enjoyed the 2004 biopic “Kinsey”, starring Irish actor Liam Neeson in the title role.

29 River valley known for Riesling : RHINE

The river running through Europe that we know in English as the Rhine, is called “Rhein” in German, “Rhin” in French and “Rijn” in Dutch.

The Riesling grape variety originated in the Rhine region of Germany, and is used to make wines that are often described as fruity and aromatic. The wine generally has a high level of acidity which makes it ideal for aging, with some examples being proclaimed as excellent at over a hundred-years-old.

30 ” … to so __”: Churchill : FEW

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the oldest independent air force in the world (i.e. the first air force to become independent of army or navy forces). The RAF was formed during WWI on 1 April 1918, a composite of two earlier forces, the Royal Flying Corps (part of the Army) and the Royal Naval Air Service. The RAF’s “finest hour” was the Battle of Britain, when the vastly outnumbered British fighters fought off the might of the Luftwaffe causing Hitler to delay his plan to cross the English Channel. This outcome prompted Winston Churchill to utter the memorable words

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

32 Part of an outmoded garage set : TIRE IRON

You won’t see tire irons in many trunks anymore, as they were tools used in working with tires that had inner tubes. That said, if you have a bicycle you might have a set of tire irons.

38 Arranges for deferred payment : RUNS A TAB

When we run a “tab” at a bar, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

41 Higher ed. hurdle : GRE

Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

43 Smartwater rival : NAYA

The Naya brand of bottled water uses a spring in the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec as its source. Bottled water — don’t get me going …

46 Mad magazine caricaturist Drucker : MORT

Mort Drucker is a caricaturist and longtime contributor to “Mad” magazine. He worked with “Mad” for over five decades, starting in 1956.

49 Stable gear : TACK

“Tack” is the term used for equipment used in riding or working horses. Examples of tack are saddles, stirrups, bridles, reins, bits and halters.

51 Go __ : APE

The US slang “go ape” is actually a cleaner version of a similar expression, and is American slang that only dates back to about 1955.

52 Small sailing ship : CARAVEL

A caravel was a ship of Portuguese origin that was small and very maneuverable. Caravels had triangular lateen-rigged sails which allowed them to sail quite close to the wind. Caravels were indeed quite small, only accommodating a crew of twenty or so sailors. Christopher Columbus’ Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria were all caravels.

54 First name of two Spice Girls : MEL

“Mel B” is the stage name of Melanie Brown, who came to fame as a member of the Spice Girls musical group. She took the name Mel B to distinguish herself from fellow band member Melanie Chisholm (Melanie C). Mel B was also known as “Scary Spice”, a nickname given to her by the media. American viewers saw Mel B on the TV show “America’s Got Talent” from 2013 through 2019, on which show she served as a judge.

Melanie C is a member of the English girl band the Spice Girls, with whom she has the nickname “Sporty Spice”. “Mel C” got the gig with the Spice Girls by replying to an ad in “The Stage” magazine, and auditioning alongside about 40 women who responded to the same ad. Sporty Spice really is quite sporty, and has completed the London Triathlon … twice.

57 Island nation in Oceania : KIRIBATI

Kiribati is an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean that gained its independence from the UK in 1979. Under the UK’s rule, the archipelago was known as the Gilbert Islands, named for British mariner Thomas Gilbert. Gilbert was captaining one of two vessels that sailed through the island chain in 1788, after transporting convicts to Australia.

The part of the Pacific Ocean known as “Oceania” is roughly equivalent to the tropical islands of the South Pacific. Oceania can be divided into the regions of Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia.

59 Very hot celestial orbs : O STARS

Stars are commonly classified by the color of the light that they emit. These classifications are, from hottest to coolest, O, B, A, F, G, K and M. One way to remember the order of these letters is to use the mnemonic “Oh, be a fine girl, kiss me”. The colors of these stars range from blue (class O) to red (class M). Our sun is class G, a yellow star. I think we all know that …

61 Lesser number? : B-SIDE

That would be the B-side of a record.

62 Ring-necked bird : PHEASANT

The common pheasant is native to Asia and parts of Europe. The same bird is usually referred to as the ring-necked pheasant in North America. The ring-necked pheasant is the state bird of South Dakota, even though it is not native to the state, and not native to the whole continent.

Down

3 Radio control : AM DIAL

In telecommunications, a radio signal is transmitted using a sinusoidal carrier wave. Information is transmitted using this carrier wave in two main ways, by varying (modulating) the instantaneous amplitude (signal strength) of the carrier wave, and by modulating the instantaneous frequency of the carrier wave. The former is referred to as an AM signal (“amplitude modulation”), and the latter as an FM signal (“frequency modulation”).

5 Vestige : DREG

We use the word “vestige” for a trace, mark or sign. The term comes from the Latin “vestigium” that also means “trace” as well as “footprint”.

6 Nabisco name since 1967 : NILLA

As one might expect, “Nilla” is a shortened form of “vanilla”. However, you won’t find any vanilla in Nilla brand cookies or wafers. They have always been flavored with vanillin, which is synthetic vanilla. Is nothing sacred …?

7 Unpopular debuts of 1957 : EDSELS

The Edsel brand of automobile was named for Edsel Ford, son of Henry. Sadly, the name “Edsel” has become synonymous with “failure”, which was no fault of Edsel himself who had died several years before the Edsel line was introduced. When the Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel on 4 September 1957, Ford proclaimed the day to be “E Day”.

11 Security element that may be detected by Silly String : TRIP WIRE

Silly String is a brand of aerosol string. The “string” exits the aerosol can as a liquid, with the solvent evaporating rapidly in mid-air resulting in a continuous strand. Aerosol string is used as a toy, an application that really annoys me (I’m an old grouch!). However, the military has a use for the product, spraying it over areas where tripwires are suspected. The string falls to the ground if none are present, but gets caught on tripwires that are present without activating any explosive.

12 Peppers between jalapeño and tabasco on the Scoville scale : SERRANOS

The serrano chili pepper is native to the mountainous regions of the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo. The name “serrano” comes from the Spanish “sierra” meaning “mountain”.

The Scoville scale is a measure of the spiciness of chili peppers. The scale was invented by a pharmacist in 1912, Wilbur Scoville. To determine the position of a pepper on the Scoville scale, the amount of capsaicin in the chili is measured. Capsaicin is an irritant that causes the sensation of burning when it comes into contact with tissue, particularly mucous membranes.

13 “M*A*S*H” unit : ARMY TENT

The first Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) was deployed in August 1945. MASH units really came into the public consciousness after publication of the 1969 Richard Hooker novel “MASH”, which spawned the hit film and TV series that were both titled “M*A*S*H”.

15 “Très __” : BIEN

“Very good” is written as “sehr gut” in German, and as “très bien” in French.

27 “Joy Shtick” writer : BEHAR

Joy Behar is a comedian, and former co-host of the hit talk show “The View”. Behar was one of the original co-hosts of “The View”, and stayed with the show from 1997 until 2013, and then rejoined the show in 2015. She briefly hosted her own talk show called “Late Night Joy” in November 2015.

29 Balm of Gilead, for one : RESIN

The balm of the Gilead tree is also known as the balsam poplar. The tree’s resin is extracted for use in cough syrups and as a first-aid salve.

33 Missouri’s Cori Bush, e.g.: Abbr. : REP

Cori Bush became a member of the US House of Representatives in 2021. A Democrat from St. Louis, Missouri, Bush joined the group of progressive lawmakers known as “The Squad”.

35 Continental rider’s purchase, once : EUROPASS

In my days as a student, the way to backpack around Europe was using a Europass. Nowadays that is known as a Eurail pass. The Eurail pass gives you access to most trains (and some shipping lines) right across the continent.

36 Big name in racing : ANDRETTI

Mario Andretti is a retired Italian American racing driver who was named US Driver of the Year in 1967, 1978 and 1984. Both of Mario’s sons, Michael and Jeff are successful auto racers, as well as Mario’s nephews, John and Adam Andretti. John and Adam are sons of Mario’s brother Aldo Andretti. Aldo also raced cars, but quit after a crash in 1969 that severely damaged his face. Aldo is Mario’s identical twin brother, but there is no resemblance after the reconstructive surgery necessitated by the accident.

42 Quenya or Sindarin, in fiction : ELVISH

In Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”, Elves are an immortal race that inhabit Middle-earth and Valinor.

44 Company whose logo is interlocking tuning forks : YAMAHA

The Japanese company Yamaha started out way back in 1888 as a manufacturer of pianos and reed organs. Even though the company has diversified since then, Yamaha’s logo still reflects its musical roots. Said logo is made up of three intersecting tuning forks, and can even be seen on Yamaha motorcycles and ATVs.

45 Blackjack combo : ACE-TEN

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

47 “Get Smart” org. : KAOS

The satirical comedy series called “Get Smart” was the creation of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, and starred Don Adams as Agent 86, Maxwell Smart. Agent 86 worked for the spy agency CONTROL, alongside the lovely Agent 99 (played by Barbara Feldon). CONTROL’s sworn enemy was the criminal organization called KAOS. Smart’s shoe phone was a hilarious prop used in almost every episode. When Smart dialed the number 117, the shoe converted into a gun. Cool stuff …

50 “The Kiss” painter : KLIMT

Gustav Klimt was an Austrian painter who primarily painted the female body, often producing works that were described as erotic. One of Klimt’s most famous paintings is “The Kiss”, which he completed in 1908.

53 “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” novelist See : LISA

“Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” is a 2005 novel set in 19th-century China, and penned by American author Lisa See. The book takes the form of an 80-year-old woman named Lily telling the story of her long life.

58 “Mic Drop” band : BTS

“Mic Drop” is a 2017 song by the boy band BTS from South Korea. They released two versions of the song simultaneously, one in Korean and one in Japanese.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Mint : BRAND NEW
9 “__ luck!” : LOTSA
14 Long way to go? : LIMO RIDE
15 Porter, for one : BEARER
16 Ancient language in which “ir” means “the” : OLD WELSH
17 Shaky : INFIRM
18 Console with Party and Fit games : WII
19 Briefly appeared : GLEAMED
21 Go where one shouldn’t : PRY
22 Hitch : SNAG
24 Dance company founder Ailey : ALVIN
25 Belt : SWAT
26 Superficial : GLIB
28 Kinsey research focus : SEX
29 River valley known for Riesling : RHINE
30 ” … to so __”: Churchill : FEW
32 Part of an outmoded garage set : TIRE IRON
34 Exploit a position of trust : FEATHER ONE’S NEST
38 Arranges for deferred payment : RUNS A TAB
39 Symbolic 100% : PIE
40 Waiting expectation : ORDER
41 Higher ed. hurdle : GRE
43 Smartwater rival : NAYA
46 Mad magazine caricaturist Drucker : MORT
47 Stabilizing components : KEELS
49 Stable gear : TACK
51 Go __ : APE
52 Small sailing ship : CARAVEL
54 First name of two Spice Girls : MEL
55 Bit of needlework : TATTOO
57 Island nation in Oceania : KIRIBATI
59 Very hot celestial orbs : O STARS
60 Generic confrontation : US VS THEM
61 Lesser number? : B-SIDE
62 Ring-necked bird : PHEASANT

Down

1 Squanders : BLOWS
2 Getting agitated : RILING
3 Radio control : AM DIAL
4 “Spring the trap!” : NOW!
5 Vestige : DREG
6 Nabisco name since 1967 : NILLA
7 Unpopular debuts of 1957 : EDSELS
8 “This just isn’t working” : WE HAVE TO BREAK UP
9 Advance : LEND
10 Clod : OAF
11 Security element that may be detected by Silly String : TRIP WIRE
12 Peppers between jalapeño and tabasco on the Scoville scale : SERRANOS
13 “M*A*S*H” unit : ARMY TENT
15 “Très __” : BIEN
20 Add : MIX IN
23 Fragrance assortment, e.g. : GIFT SET
25 Show mastery of : SHINE AT
27 “Joy Shtick” writer : BEHAR
29 Balm of Gilead, for one : RESIN
31 __ bar : WET
33 Missouri’s Cori Bush, e.g.: Abbr. : REP
34 First of many steps : FROM A TO B
35 Continental rider’s purchase, once : EUROPASS
36 Big name in racing : ANDRETTI
37 Wild party : RAGER
42 Quenya or Sindarin, in fiction : ELVISH
44 Company whose logo is interlocking tuning forks : YAMAHA
45 Blackjack combo : ACE-TEN
47 “Get Smart” org. : KAOS
48 Be of use : SERVE
50 “The Kiss” painter : KLIMT
52 Workout focus : CORE
53 “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” novelist See : LISA
56 Bit : TAD
58 “Mic Drop” band : BTS

26 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Nov 22, Saturday”

  1. Is it INFIRM or UNFIRM?
    I initially had BIEN for 15D but then INFIRM didn’t seem right. So I changed to UNFIRM. Figured BUEN was a variation of BIEN.

    I did not know those were tuning forks in the YAMAHA logo. Huh!

    And how KIRIBATI! that took a while to let play out.

  2. LAT: Couldn’t get anywhere near finished. Just able to do most of the top half and a few in the lower half. Not even able to make reasonably good guesses. Frustrating and humbling.

  3. I’m far from a novice. I do these every day, along with the NY Times puzzles, and complete 99% of the time. I hardly believe anyone finished this one, particularly due to the southeast corner. Too many words that nobody has ever heard of.

  4. Another one of those Saturday puzzle first looks in which my inner voice shouted out “Are you kidding me!” (and not in a good way!). But slowly my pecking away began to make some inroads into the grid. When I correctly got Kiribati I actually began to believe that I could finish without final error…and lo and behold, it happened. I’m going to rest on my laurels for awhile until I tackle the WSJ “Big Grid”. I’m hoping my hubris doesn’t get rewarded with a mighty “smite” down by that crossword. We shall see…

  5. 23:22, 1 error (UNFIRM for INFIRM). Had it once but talked myself out of it. Again about as challenging and clean as you can get for one of these. Great stuff.

  6. Perhaps the most interesting thing (to me) about “Kiribati” is the way it’s pronounced: “Kee-ree-bas”! (In the written form of the language of the locals, the “ess” sound is rendered as “ti”.)

  7. ~18 minutes and DNF: could only fill half, saddled with such worthless clues and proper name references. One of the worst of the year.

  8. PITA puzzle – very obscure answers in many cases.
    Must note constructor’s name so I can pass up future puzzles of his.
    Not fun at all.

  9. Just got about 15% of this before I called it a day; finished at 54:23 with 20 some “grid-checks” and a two alphabet rolls. Was still at 100% OK at the first “check-grid” and did get a few really good fills, but still.

    Just came here to see what the answers were…

  10. Hardest puzzled in weeks. Very unfair. Even I who spent two years in the Marshall Is. just north of the Gilbert Is could not guess Kiribati.

  11. Worst puzzle I’ve ever done. So bad it wasn’t even enjoyable to try to figure out. I gave up and looked at the answers just to see what they possibly could. I see that most agree.

  12. I refused to quit on this one. Persistence paid off. Solved about 90%. Probably didn’t spend enough time with it. 5 or 6 sessions totaling 2 hours was ENOUGH ALREADY.

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