LA Times Crossword 15 Nov 22, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Michael Sharp
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer(s): Ray Gun/Phaser

Themed answers each end with the sound made by a RAY GUN or PHASER:

  • 1A Sci-fi weapon that makes the sounds heard at the ends of the answers to the starred clues : RAY GUN
  • 71A Sci-fi weapon that makes the sounds heard at the ends of the answers to the starred clues : PHASER
  • 20A *”Black Widow” co-star : FLORENCE PUGH
  • 36A *Cathedral bench : CHURCH PEW
  • 56A *Offer of assistance : LET ME HELP YOU

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

Bill’s time: 7m 10s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

18 Like a phenom’s rise to stardom : METEORIC

A meteoroid is a small rocky or metallic body traveling through space. Once in the atmosphere, the meteoroid is referred to as a “meteor” or “shooting star”. Almost all meteoroids burn up, but if one is large enough to survive and reach the ground then we call it a meteorite. The word “meteor” comes from the Greek “meteōros” meaning “high in the air”.

The use of “phenom” for “phenomenon” originated as baseball slang, back in the 19th century.

20 *”Black Widow” co-star : FLORENCE PUGH

Florence Pugh is an English actress whom I best know from playing Amy March in the 2019 big-screen adaption of the novel “Little Women”. Younger members of the viewing audience might recognize her for playing Yelena Belova in the film “Black Widow” and the related TV series “Hawkeye”. In 2019, Pugh started a relationship with fellow actor Zach Braff (who played the lead in “Scrubs”).

“Black Widow” is a 2021 superhero movie in the Marvel Comics universe. The title character is played by Scarlett Johansson, a role that she played in several earlier films.

22 Placeholder abbr. : TBA

Something not yet on the schedule (“sked” or “sched.”) is to be advised/announced (TBA).

26 Light lunch : SALAD

Our word “salad” comes from the Latin “salare” meaning “to salt”. The Latin “herba salata” translates as “salted vegetables”, which I guess could be a salad …

27 Spy of kid-lit fame : HARRIET

“Harriet the Spy” is a 1964 children’s novel by American writer and illustrator Louise Fitzhugh. Fitzhugh followed up “Harriet the Spy” with a 1965 sequel “The Long Secret”, and then a 1979 prequel “Sport”.

32 Oxen harnesses : YOKES

A yoke is a wooden beam used between a pair of animals so that they are forced to work together.

35 Costa del __ : SOL

Spain’s Costa del Sol (“Coast of the Sun”) is in Andalusia in the South of Spain. It lies sandwiched between two other “costas”, the Costa de la Luz and the Costa Tropical. The city of Malaga is on the Costa del Sol, as well as the famous European tourist destinations of Torremolinos and Marbella. The Costa del Sol was made up of sleepy little fishing villages until the 1980s when the European sunseekers descended on the region. I wouldn’t recommend it for a holiday quite frankly …

36 *Cathedral bench : CHURCH PEW

A pew is a church bench, usually one with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

40 Isr. neighbor : SYR

The modern state that we know as Syria was established after WWI as a French mandate. Syria was granted independence from France in 1946.

43 Genius Bar pro : TECH

The technical support desk found in Apple Retail Stores is rather inventively called the Genius Bar. The certified support technicians are known as “Geniuses”. The trainees are called GYOs: Grow-Your-Own-Geniuses.

44 Capital city on the Andean Plateau : LA PAZ

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.

The Altiplano (“high plain”, in Spanish) of South America is also known as the Andean Plateau. It is located in the Central Andes, and has an average height of around 12,300 feet. The Altiplano is home to the Bolivian capital La Paz as well as Lake Titicaca, which is often referred to as the highest navigable lake in the world.

51 Binge watcher’s unit : EPISODE

I’m a big fan of binge-watching, the practice of watching perhaps two or three (even four!) episodes of a show in a row. My wife and I will often deliberately avoid watching a recommended show live, and instead wait until the whole series has been released online. I’m not a big fan of “tune in next week …”

53 Venomous snake : ADDER

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.

54 Sound from a fold : BAA!

The word “fold” describes an enclosure for sheep, and is also an alternative name for a flock, a group of sheep. Both “flock” and “fold” are used figuratively to describe a church’s congregation.

62 Of France : GALLIC

The Gauls were a Celtic race, with Gaul covering what is now known as France and Belgium. We use the term “Gallic” today, when we refer to something pertaining to France or the French.

66 Brain scan letters : EEG

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is “brain dead”.

68 New York prison in 1971 headlines : 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.

69 Mormon initials : LDS

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is known colloquially as the Mormon Church.

71 Sci-fi weapon that makes the sounds heard at the ends of the answers to the starred clues : PHASER

A MASER is a device that was around long before LASERs came into the public consciousness. A MASER (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is similar to a LASER, but microwaves are emitted rather than light waves. When the storyline for “Star Trek” was being developed, the writers introduced a weapon called a “phaser”, with the name “phaser” derived from PHoton mASER.

Down

2 De Armas of “Blonde” : ANA

Ana de Armas is an actress from Cuba. Having attended the National Theater School of Cuba, she moved to Spain at the age of 18. Thre, she made a name for herself in a Spanish TV series called “El Internado”. De Armas moved to Los Angeles in 2014, after which her performance opposite Ryan Gosling in 2017’s “Blade Runner 2049” earned her critical acclaim.

“Blonde” is a 2022 biographical film about Marilyn Monroe. It is a fictionalized account of the actress’ life, and is based on Joyce Carol Oates’ 2000 novel of the same name. Monroe is played by Ana de Armas.

7 Cupid colleague : COMET

We get the names for Santa’s reindeer from the famous 1823 poem called “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, although we’ve modified a couple of the names over the years. The full list is:

  • Dasher
  • Dancer
  • Prancer
  • Vixen
  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • Donder (originally “Dunder”, and now often “Donner”)
  • Blitzen (originally “Blixem”)

Rudolph was added to the list by retailer Montgomery Ward, would you believe? The store commissioned Robert L. May to create a booklet that could be handed out to children around Christmas in 1939, and May introduced us to a new friend for Santa, namely Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

9 Campus mil. unit : ROTC

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be part of a new school’s curriculum.

13 Alison who wrote the graphic memoir “The Secret to Superhuman Strength” : BECHDEL

American cartoonist Alison Bechdel introduced what’s now known as the Bechdel test in 1985. The test is used to highlight gender inequality in works of fiction. To pass the test, a work must feature at least two female characters who talk to each other about something other than a boy or a man. Apparently, only half of all movies made meet this criterion.

19 Stone for a Libra : OPAL

The constellation of Libra is the seventh sign of the zodiac, and is named for the scales held by the goddess of justice. Libra is the only sign that isn’t named for a living creature.

23 Steamed bun in Asian cuisine : BAO

A baozi (also “bou, bao”) is a steamed, filled bun in Chinese cuisine.

24 Genesis boat : ARK

According to the Bible’s Book of Genesis, Noah was instructed to build his ark 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. That’s about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.

28 “Parks and __” : REC

“Parks and Recreation” (sometimes just “Parks and Rec”) is a sitcom that started airing on NBC in 2009, and is a show that has grown on me. It stars the “Saturday Night Live” alum Amy Poehler. The creators of “Parks and Recreation” are part of the team responsible for the American version of “The Office”, so you’ll notice some similarities in the style of the two shows, and some actors that have appeared in both.

30 Metaphor for no-longer-relevant history : ASH HEAP

“The ash heap of history” is a phrase used to refer to artifacts or locations that have lost their relevance over time.

34 Media-monitoring org. : FCC

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been around since 1934, when it replaced the Federal Radio Commission.

37 Great Basin native : UTE

The Great Basin is a large region of the US covering most of Nevada, much of Utah and some parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and California. The 200,000 square mile area drains internally, with all precipitation sinking underground or flowing into lakes. Most of the lakes in the Great Basin are saline, including the Great Salt Lake, Pyramid Lake and the Humboldt Sink.

38 Actor Wallach : ELI

Eli Wallach appeared consistently and made great performances on the big and small screens from the 1950s onwards. Wallach’s most famous role was probably “the Ugly” in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. More recently he gave a very strong performance in 2006’s “The Holiday”. Sadly, Wallach passed away in June 2014, at the age of 98.

47 Garden type : ZEN

Japanese Zen gardens are inspired by the meditation gardens of Zen Buddhist temples. Zen gardens have no water in them, but often there is gravel and sand that is raked in patterns designed to create the impression of water in waves and ripples.

49 “Ratatouille” rat who loves gourmet food : REMY

“Ratatouille” is a 2007 animated film produced by Pixar. The hero of the piece is Remy, a rat whose ambition is to become a chef. Remy was voiced by stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt. The veteran actor Peter O’Toole voiced the character Anton Ego, a restaurant critic.

50 Greek islander : CRETAN

Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands, and 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.

58 Mideast dignitary : EMIR

An emir is a prince or chieftain, one most notably from the Middle East in Islamic countries. In English, “emir” can also be written variously as “emeer, amir, ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

60 Beauty store chain : ULTA

Ulta Beauty is an American chain of beauty stores that was founded in 1990 and headquartered in Bolingbrook, Illinois. I am not part of the company’s target demographic …

63 Fleur-de-__ : LIS

“Lys” (sometimes “lis”) is the French word for “lily” as in “fleur-de-lys”, the heraldic symbol often associated with the French monarchy.

64 Curling surface : ICE

I think curling is such a cool game (pun!). It’s somewhat like bowls, but played on a sheet of ice. The sport was supposedly invented in medieval Scotland, and is called curling because of the action of the granite stone as it moves across the ice. A player can make the stone take a curved path (“curl”) by causing it to slowly rotate as it slides.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Sci-fi weapon that makes the sounds heard at the ends of the answers to the starred clues : RAY GUN
7 Hubs: Abbr. : CTRS
11 Catch : NAB
14 Operating mindlessly : ON AUTO
15 “Call on me! I know!” : OH! OH!
16 Mined resource : ORE
17 Getting some sun : DAYLIT
18 Like a phenom’s rise to stardom : METEORIC
20 *”Black Widow” co-star : FLORENCE PUGH
22 Placeholder abbr. : TBA
25 Court divider : NET
26 Light lunch : SALAD
27 Spy of kid-lit fame : HARRIET
30 Olympics participant : ATHLETE
32 Oxen harnesses : YOKES
33 “Should that be the case … ” : IF SO …
35 Costa del __ : SOL
36 *Cathedral bench : CHURCH PEW
40 Isr. neighbor : SYR
43 Genius Bar pro : TECH
44 Capital city on the Andean Plateau : LA PAZ
48 Forced : COERCED
51 Binge watcher’s unit : EPISODE
53 Venomous snake : ADDER
54 Sound from a fold : BAA!
55 Came in first : WON
56 *Offer of assistance : LET ME HELP YOU
61 Much of nursery school : PLAYTIME
62 Of France : GALLIC
66 Brain scan letters : EEG
67 Comparable : AKIN
68 New York prison in 1971 headlines : ATTICA
69 Mormon initials : LDS
70 Enthusiast, colloquially : NERD
71 Sci-fi weapon that makes the sounds heard at the ends of the answers to the starred clues : PHASER

Down

1 Towel holder : ROD
2 De Armas of “Blonde” : ANA
3 Happy cry : YAY!
4 Wide gap : GULF
5 Elec., for one : UTIL
6 Zero : NOT ONE
7 Cupid colleague : COMET
8 “__ what?” : THEN
9 Campus mil. unit : ROTC
10 “Jeepers!” : SHEESH!
11 “Anything goes!” : NO RULES!
12 Japanese “thank you” : ARIGATO
13 Alison who wrote the graphic memoir “The Secret to Superhuman Strength” : BECHDEL
19 Stone for a Libra : OPAL
21 No longer working : RETIRED
22 Poetic possessive : THY
23 Steamed bun in Asian cuisine : BAO
24 Genesis boat : ARK
28 “Parks and __” : REC
29 Sorta : ISH
30 Metaphor for no-longer-relevant history : ASH HEAP
31 Blouse : TOP
34 Media-monitoring org. : FCC
37 Great Basin native : UTE
38 Actor Wallach : ELI
39 Is past? : WAS
40 Surgical tool : SCALPEL
41 Sang some high notes? : YODELED
42 Colorful sale labels : RED TAGS
45 “Kaboom!” : POW!
46 Commotion : ADO
47 Garden type : ZEN
49 “Ratatouille” rat who loves gourmet food : REMY
50 Greek islander : CRETAN
52 Evidence of workplace gender bias, perhaps : PAY GAP
54 Mix : BLEND
57 Walk in the park, maybe : HIKE
58 Mideast dignitary : EMIR
59 Pledge : OATH
60 Beauty store chain : ULTA
63 Fleur-de-__ : LIS
64 Curling surface : ICE
65 Automobile : CAR

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 15 Nov 22, Tuesday”

  1. 4:58, no errors.

    FWIW (a comment from yesterday), aren’t the WSJ puzzles are free on their website without subscription or buying a paper?

  2. Not as hard as I first thought…no errors but did look up the steamed
    bun and the Great Basin native. Didn’t we have the steamed bun as
    a clue just a couple of days ago?? And I didn’t remember the answer!…
    Maybe I’ll write it down somewhere and then forget where I put it.

  3. This is only Tuesday, and I had to Google for most of the proper names: FLORENCE PUGH, HARRIET, ANA, BECHDEL, REMY. Since, at my age, I have no desire to read modern literature or watch modern movies, I guess I’m a dinosaur. Will someone suggest an alternative crossword for me – who enjoys French movies from the 60’s and literature from past centuries?

  4. Kinda tough for a Wednesday but finished without lookups or errors. Do constructors keep lists of unknown or almost unknown clues/answers for when they are stumped in given square(s)?

  5. Like Mary S, I also plan to write BAO on a scrap of paper and then misplace it. (I seem to do a lot of that these days … 😜.)

    Curiously, though, when I read the clue for it, what came into my mind was “Bao Dai”, which turns out to have been the name of the last emperor of Vietnam (deposed in 1954). I must have that on a scrap of paper somewhere in the house … 😜.

    And … if it’s Wednesday, I’m late for a dental appointment … 😳.

    I’m so confused … 🤪.

  6. Isn’t TBA actually an initialism and not an abbr.? Acronyms need to be able to be pronounced as a word. NASA, OPEC, LASER, RAM. Initialisms just use the first letters to be pronounced individually. TBA, FBI, CIA, DVR. Abbreviations are just a shortened version of a word.

    1. Hi Larry. Merriam-Webster says: Acronyms are abbreviations formed from the initial letters of an expanded phrase and usually do not include periods: PR for public relations, CEO for chief executive officer, and BTW for by the way. Some acronyms are pronounced as words: FEMA for Federal Emergency Management Agency and NATO for North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Although some people assert that all acronyms not pronounced as words, such as EPA for Environmental Protection Agency, be referred to as initialisms, the term acronym is in fact applied to both.

  7. 10:18 and no errors, but made a meal of this one. Seeing Bill’s time over the usual 5-minutes + on a Tuesday, I don’t feel so bad. But this one had an unusual number of clues that should have instantly brought an answer to mind, but just … didn’t. I had to stew over more of these than I should.

  8. 8:49 – no errors or lookups. False start: TAPAS>SALAD, CAKE>HIKE.

    New: HARRIET, BECHDEL.

    The theme is cute with the “homonyms.”

  9. A bit tricky for a Tuesday; took 14:36 with no peeks or errors and quite a bit of dancing around. Just recently learned of the existence of Florence Pugh, so I got that one. Wouldn’t have got the spelling of BECHDEL without knowing …PUGH Didn’t know REMY or HARRIET, but managed with crosses.

    It’s Wednesday already!!?? Oh, wait it is Wednesday 🙂 Just late to the puzzle as usual.

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