LA Times Crossword 14 Nov 22, Monday

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Constructed by: Ed Beckert
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Letter Openers

Themed answers each OPEN with a single LETTER:

  • 38A Envelope-slicing tools, and what the answers to the starred clues literally have? : LETTER OPENERS
  • 18A *Chophouse selection : T-BONE STEAK
  • 24A *Wayfair and Amazon : E-TAILERS
  • 54A *Army fare during WWII : C-RATIONS
  • 60A *Moving day rental, for some : U-HAUL TRUCK

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

Bill’s time: 5m 13s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Aesop critter who loses to the tortoise : HARE

“The Tortoise and the Hare” is perhaps the most famous fable attributed to Aesop. The cocky hare takes a nap during a race against the tortoise, and the tortoise sneaks past the finish line for the win while his speedier friend is sleeping.

5 Metal corrosion : RUST

Rust is iron oxide. Rust forms when iron oxidizes, reacts with oxygen.

14 Sermon-ending word : AMEN

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

Our word “sermon” comes from the Latin “sermonem” meaning “discourse, talk”. The literal translation of “sermonem” is “a stringing together of words”, from the Latin “serere” meaning “to join”, as in the related word “series”.

15 Norway’s capital : OSLO

Oslo is the capital of Norway. The city of Oslo burns trash to fuel half of its buildings, including all of its schools. The problem faced by the city is that it doesn’t generate enough trash. So, Oslo imports trash from Sweden, England and Ireland, and is now looking to import some American trash too.

16 Underground molten rock : MAGMA

Magma is the molten material below the Earth’s surface. When magma cools, it forms igneous rock. “Magma” is a Greek term that describes a thick ointment.

17 Like cotton candy : SPUN

What we call “cotton candy” here in the US has some interesting names in the rest of the world. Back in Ireland it is candyfloss, in France it is “barbe à papa” (Dad’s beard), and in Australia it is called fairy floss. “Fairy floss” is actually the original name for cotton candy, a name first used when the confection was introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904.

18 *Chophouse selection : T-BONE STEAK

The T-bone and porterhouse are related cuts of meat, with the latter being a larger version of the former, and both being cut from the short loin.

20 Fat-based bird feed : SUET

Fat, when extracted from the carcass of an animal, is called suet. Untreated suet decomposes at room temperature quite easily so it has to be rendered, purified to make it stable. Rendered fat from pigs is what we call lard. Rendered beef or mutton fat is known as tallow.

23 “Picnic” playwright William : INGE

Playwright William Inge had a run of success on Broadway in the early fifties. His most celebrated work of that time is the play “Picnic”, for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The original 1953 cast of “Picnic” included a young male actor making his debut on Broadway. His name was Paul Newman. Many of Inge’s works are set in the American heartland and so he became known as the “Playwright of the Midwest”.

24 *Wayfair and Amazon : E-TAILERS

Wayfair is an online furniture store that was founded in 2002 as CSN Stores (from the initials of co-founders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine).

Amazon.com is the largest online retailer in the world. It is also the largest Internet company in the world by revenue. The company was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, in his garage in Bellevue, Washington. I’m a big fan of Amazon’s approach to customer service …

30 Brian of Roxy Music : ENO

Roxy Music is a British band formed by Bryan Ferry, who also served as the lead singer. One of the group’s more famous former band members was Brian Eno, someone who turns up in crosswords far too often …

33 Fragrant shrub : LILAC

The ornamental flowering plant known as lilac is native to the Balkans, and is a member of the olive family.

35 Tapered off : ABATED

I used to think that the word “taper” was used for a slender candle because said candle was “tapered” in shape, but it’s exactly the opposite. It turns out that our word “tapered” comes from the candle. “Taper” and “tapur” are Old English words meaning “candle”. From these nouns arose the verb “to taper” meaning “shoot up like flame”. This meaning evolved into “become slender” from the idea that a candle’s flame has such a shape.

43 Rough wool fabric : TWEED

Tweed is a rough woolen fabric that is very much associated with Scotland in the UK, and with County Donegal in Ireland. The cloth was originally called “tweel”, the Scots word for “twill”. Apparently a London merchant misinterpreted some handwriting in the early 1800s and assumed the fabric was called “tweed”, a reference to the Scottish River Tweed, and the name stuck …

45 Coll. dorm figures : RAS

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

48 Cabernet, e.g. : RED

The cabernet sauvignon (often just “cab”) grape has been around since the 17th century, and is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc grapes.

49 __-Wan Kenobi : OBI

Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the more beloved of the “Star Wars” characters. Kenobi was portrayed by two fabulous actors in the series of films. As a young man he is played by Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, and as an older man he is played by Alec Guinness.

51 “Good Girls” actress Whitman : MAE

Actress Mae Whitman played “the daughter” in some successful movies early in her career. She was Meg Ryan’s daughter in “When a Man Loves a Woman”, George Clooney’s daughter in “One Fine Day” and Bill Pullman’s daughter in “Independence Day”. More recently, she played the lead in the 2015 teen comedy film “The Duff”.

“Good Girls” is a comedy-drama TV series about three suburban moms who decide to rob a local supermarket, and then get themselves involved with a mob gang. The lead characters are played by Christina Hendricks, Retta and Mae Whitman.

52 Texas city on the Rio Grande : EL PASO

Although there have been human settlements in the El Paso area for thousands of years, the first European settlement was founded in 1659 by the Spanish. That first community was on the south bank of the Rio Grande, and was called El Paso del Norte (the North Pass). Most of the urban development under Spanish rule took place on the south side of the river, with El Paso del Norte acting as the center of governance for the Spanish for the territory of New Mexico. The Rio Grande was chosen as the border between Mexico and the US in 1848, so most of the city of El Paso del Norte became part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua (and is now called Ciudad Juárez ). The area north of the river developed as a US military post, eventually becoming the modern city of El Paso, Texas.

The Rio Grande (Spanish for “big river”) is a waterway that forms part of the border between Mexico and the United States. Although we call the river the Rio Grande on this side of the border, in Mexico it is called the Río Bravo or Río Bravo del Norte (Spanish for “furious river of the north”).

54 *Army fare during WWII : C-RATIONS

The US Military uses several terms to describe types of food prepared for members of the armed forces:

  • A-rations were meals prepared by trained cooks, often in a field kitchen, using fresh, refrigerated or frozen food.
  • B-rations were meals, also prepared by trained cooks, using canned or dehydrated food.
  • C-rations were prepared and canned foods that could be heated, if necessary, by soldiers in the field, when field kitchens were not available.
  • K-rations were boxed meals that served as a single daily ration for use by military personnel on short-term missions.

56 Blueprint detail, for short : SPEC

Blueprints are reproductions of technical or architectural drawings that are contact prints made on light-sensitive sheets. Blueprints were introduced in the 1800s and the technology available dictated that the drawings were reproduced with white lines on a blue background, hence the name “blue-print”.

57 Sci-fi saucer : UFO

Disc-shaped flying objects have been reported in the sky since the Middle Ages. In the modern era, the event that launched the term “flying saucer” was a UFO sighting in 1947, which was covered widely in the media. Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine unidentified flying objects in formation near Mount Rainier in Washington. In describing the objects, he repeatedly used the words “saucer”, “disc” and “pie-plate”. Newspapers latched onto the terminology, and we’ve been seeing flying “saucers” ever since.

60 *Moving day rental, for some : U-HAUL TRUCK

The U-Haul company was started by married couple Leonard Shoen and Anna Mary Carty in Ridgefield, Washington in 1945. The Shoens used $5,000 of seed money to build trailers in their garage, and then cleverly recruited gas station owners as franchisees with whom they would split the rental revenue. There are now about 15,000 U-Haul dealers across the country.

63 “Game of Thrones” actress Headey : 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.

66 Commuting option in Ga.’s capital : MARTA

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)

68 Pub pints : ALES

The many, many different styles of beer can generally be sorted into two groups: ales and lagers. Ales are fermented at relatively warm temperatures for relatively short periods of time, and use top-fermenting yeasts, i.e. yeasts that float on top of the beer as it ferments. Lagers ferment at relatively low temperatures and for relatively long periods of time. Lagers use bottom-fermenting yeasts, i.e. yeasts that fall to the bottom of the beer as it ferments.

69 County of southeast England : ESSEX

Essex is a county in England that is referred to as one of the “home counties”. The home counties are those that surround the city of London, outside of London itself. “Home county” is not an official designation but has been in popular use since the 1800s. The list of home counties usually comprises Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex.

Down

2 Roadie’s armload : AMP

A “roadie” is someone who loads, unloads and sets up equipment for musicians on tour, on the “road”.

4 Lassitude : ENNUI

“Ennui” is the French word for “boredom”, and is a term that we now use in English. It’s one of the few French words we’ve imported and haven’t anglicized, and actually pronounce “correctly”.

Languor, lassitude, lethargy and listlessness are such lovely words. All are L-words describing a lack of physical energy.

6 Laptop port letters : USB

Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an industry standard dealing with how computers and electronic devices connect and communicate, and dealing with electrical power through those connections.

9 U.K. leaders : PMS

The Prime Minister (PM) of the UK has powers equivalent to the US President, but with major differences. The office of prime minister exists by convention and not by any constitution. The convention is that the King or Queen of England appoints as PM the person most likely to have the confidence of the House of Commons, and that person is usually the leader of the party with the most seats in the Commons. There is no term limit and the PM serves “at His/Her Majesty’s pleasure”. The first UK PM wasn’t actually called “Prime Minister”, and the person first attributed with the equivalent powers was Sir Robert Walpole in 1721, and his title was First Lord of the Treasury.

10 “E pluribus unum” language : LATIN

The Latins were a race who migrated into the Italian peninsula during the Bronze Age, settling in a triangular region on the west coast that became known as Latium. It was the Latins who founded the city of Rome in Latium. The language that developed among the people of Latium is what we now know as “Latin”.

From 1776, “E pluribus unum” was the unofficial motto of the United States. The phrase translates from Latin as “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto. “In God We Trust” had appeared on US coins since 1864, but was only introduced on paper currency in 1957.

11 Discussion outline : AGENDA

“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.

21 Voting members in a certain college : ELECTORS

The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1804, and redefines procedures used by the Electoral College during a presidential election. Prior to the amendment, each member of the Electoral College cast two electoral votes, after which the candidate with the most votes was elected president, and the candidate with the second-most votes was elected vice president. As a result of the amendment, each member of the Electoral College casts one vote for president, and one vote for vice president. So, the Twelfth Amendment makes it unlikely that we end up with a vice president who is not supportive of the president, as the victorious pair probably campaigned together on the same ticket, and had not been rivals in the election.

24 Subj. often taught by a native speaker : ESL

English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

31 Bird of prey : RAPTOR

“Raptor” is a generic term for a bird of prey, one that has talons to grip its victims.

34 Org. with a racket in its logo : ATP

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is an organization that looks out for the interests of male tennis professionals. The equivalent organization for women is the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

41 “Beautiful Girls” singer Kingston : SEAN

“Sean Kingston” is the stage name of Jamaican-American singer Kisean Anderson. He was born in Miami, Florida, but spent his first years in Kingston, Jamaica (hence the stage name).

44 __ Plaines, Illinois : DES

Des Plaines is a suburb of Chicago that is located next to O’Hare International Airport. The city is named for the Des Plaines river that runs through the area.

45 Job application component : RESUME

A résumé is a summary of a person’s job experience and education and is used as a tool by a job seeker. In many countries, a résumé is equivalent to a curriculum vitae. “Résumé” is the French word for “summary”.

47 Asparagus units : SPEARS

Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant that is grown mainly for its edible shoots (or “spears”). The shoots must be harvested when they are very young, as they become woody very quickly.

53 Sharp, as some angles : ACUTE

In geometry, there are several classes of angles:

  • Acute (< 90 degrees) 
  • Right (= 90 degrees) 
  • Obtuse (> 90 degrees and < 180 degrees) 
  • Straight (180 degrees) 
  • Reflex (> 180 degrees)

55 Ramadan faith : ISLAM

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is traditionally a period of fasting. The faithful who observe Ramadan refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relations from dawn to dusk everyday, a lesson in patience, humility and spirituality.

62 CBS forensic series set in Vegas : CSI

The “CSI” TV show franchise uses hits from the Who as theme music:

  • “Who Are You” … “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
  • “Baba O’Riley” … “CSI: New York”
  • “Won’t Get Fooled Again” … “CSI: Miami”
  • “I Can See for Miles” … “CSI: Cyber”

64 Butterfly catcher : NET

A lepidopterist is a person who studies butterflies and moths, a name coming from Lepidoptera, the order of insects that encompasses such flying insects. “Lepidoptera” comes from the Greek words for “scale” and “wing”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Aesop critter who loses to the tortoise : HARE
5 Metal corrosion : RUST
9 Braid : PLAIT
14 Sermon-ending word : AMEN
15 Norway’s capital : OSLO
16 Underground molten rock : MAGMA
17 Like cotton candy : SPUN
18 *Chophouse selection : T-BONE STEAK
20 Fat-based bird feed : SUET
22 __-Mex cuisine : TEX
23 “Picnic” playwright William : INGE
24 *Wayfair and Amazon : E-TAILERS
27 Glowing remnant in a fireplace : CINDER
29 Weep loudly : SOB
30 Brian of Roxy Music : ENO
31 Get __ of: discard : RID
32 Beast of burden : ASS
33 Fragrant shrub : LILAC
35 Tapered off : ABATED
38 Envelope-slicing tools, and what the answers to the starred clues literally have? : LETTER OPENERS
42 Jab : POKE AT
43 Rough wool fabric : TWEED
45 Coll. dorm figures : RAS
48 Cabernet, e.g. : RED
49 __-Wan Kenobi : OBI
51 “Good Girls” actress Whitman : MAE
52 Texas city on the Rio Grande : EL PASO
54 *Army fare during WWII : C-RATIONS
56 Blueprint detail, for short : SPEC
57 Sci-fi saucer : UFO
59 Method: Abbr. : SYST
60 *Moving day rental, for some : U-HAUL TRUCK
63 “Game of Thrones” actress Headey : LENA
66 Commuting option in Ga.’s capital : MARTA
67 “What __ is new?” : ELSE
68 Pub pints : ALES
69 County of southeast England : ESSEX
70 Prep for publication : EDIT
71 Folk story : MYTH

Down

1 “That ship __ sailed” : HAS
2 Roadie’s armload : AMP
3 Like travel mugs : REUSABLE
4 Lassitude : ENNUI
5 Bad to the core : ROTTEN
6 Laptop port letters : USB
7 Post office openings : SLOTS
8 Muscle quality : TONE
9 U.K. leaders : PMS
10 “E pluribus unum” language : LATIN
11 Discussion outline : AGENDA
12 Pictures : IMAGES
13 “Any __?”: “Who’s interested?” : TAKERS
19 Fire up : EXCITE
21 Voting members in a certain college : ELECTORS
24 Subj. often taught by a native speaker : ESL
25 Drudgery : TOIL
26 Laughed heartily : ROARED
28 Sense of self : IDENTITY
31 Bird of prey : RAPTOR
34 Org. with a racket in its logo : ATP
36 Feathery accessory : BOA
37 Dawn droplets : DEW
39 Barely make, as a living : EKE OUT
40 From a distance : REMOTELY
41 “Beautiful Girls” singer Kingston : SEAN
44 __ Plaines, Illinois : DES
45 Job application component : RESUME
46 Socially dominant figures : ALPHAS
47 Asparagus units : SPEARS
50 Easter egg holder : BASKET
53 Sharp, as some angles : ACUTE
54 Was able to : COULD
55 Ramadan faith : ISLAM
58 Unoccupied : FREE
61 Hardly strict : LAX
62 CBS forensic series set in Vegas : CSI
64 Butterfly catcher : NET
65 Powdery residue in a fireplace : ASH

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 14 Nov 22, Monday”

  1. 6:03. Still can’t break into the 5-minutes-to-complete range. I just can’t type fast enough. Or, more to the point, I cannot type accurately….

  2. It has to be Monday. No errors or lookups, but my time was abysmal
    in relation to Bill’s. I’m still learning how to navigate the grid online.
    …as in “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

  3. Easy Monday; no Googles or errors. Didn’t notice theme. didn’t actually know MAE, SEAN, LENA or ATP.
    Had a Natick at MAE crosses SEAN but guessed correctly.

    1. So . . . I live in the Atlanta area, and I know Marta. How many times have I been expected to know “Acela”?

  4. Nice, not too hard way to start the week. Easily understandable theme. Biggest problem was MARTA but got it and the hated PPP’s MAE and SEAN, which I didn’t know, with crosses. Thanks for a good one.

  5. 6:25 – no errors, lookups, or false starts. Might be my fastest time ever with pen and paper.

    New: SEAN Kingston.

    Easy theme.

  6. 11:09
    Not bad for this ol’ guy.
    No lookups, I also remember C-rations from the Korean conflict.
    BTW: I tried a couple of the WSJ puzzles via free subscription, and have unsubscribed.
    I don’t much care for how they work mechanically, and I found them banal, at best.

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