LA Times Crossword 24 Nov 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: Samantha Podos Nowak
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Sports Heroes

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as an action by a SUPERHERO playing a SPORT:

  • 50A Idolized athletes, and an apt title for this puzzle? : SPORTS HEROES
  • 19A When one of the X-Men needs to communicate with the pitcher, __ : STORM SIGNALS
  • 33A When a member of the Justice League has possession of the football, __ : FLASH DRIVES
  • 41A When one of Marvel’s Avengers needs to create a lineup card, __ : VISION PLANS

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

Bill’s time: 7m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Intro to physics? : META-

The word “metaphysics” comes from the Greek “meta” (beyond) and “physika” (physical). Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that investigates reality beyond the principles of science. Not something I would understand …

9 __ test : BETA

In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the alpha version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a beta and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as “beta”. The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, hopefully bug-free.

13 Monopoly token replaced by a cat : IRON

The tokens included with a game of Monopoly have changed over the years. Two of the more interesting tokens are the battleship and cannon. These were created by Hasbro for a board game called Conflict. When Conflict failed in the market, the excess tokens were recycled and included with Monopoly.

16 Breaking point : LAST STRAW

We use the idiom “the straw that broke the camel’s back” to refer to an seemingly inconsequential action that can cause a cataclysmic failure given the pressure on the situation that already exists. Our English idiom comes from an Arabic proverb with a similar wording and meaning.

19 When one of the X-Men needs to communicate with the pitcher, __ : STORM SIGNALS

Storm is a superhero in the Marvel Comics universe whose superpower is the ability to control the weather. Storm was played by Halle Berry in the “X-Men” series of movies.

In the Marvel Comics universe, mutants are beings with an X-gene. Such mutants are humans who naturally develop superhuman powers. The most celebrated of these mutants are known as the X-Men.

25 Called before : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”. The term “née” is mainly used in English when referring to a married woman’s birth name, assuming that she has adopted her husband’s name, e.g. Michelle Obama née Robinson, Melania Trump née Knavs, and Jill Biden née Jacobs.

28 Achievement for a goal-oriented player? : HAT TRICK

A hat trick is the scoring of three goals by the same player in a game of perhaps soccer or hockey.

33 When a member of the Justice League has possession of the football, __ : FLASH DRIVES

The Flash is a DC Comics superhero who is nicknamed “the Scarlet Speedster” or “the Crimson Comet”. The Flash’s superpower is his ability to move extremely quickly, with speed that defies the laws of physics.

The Justice League is a team of superheroes in the DC Comics universe. The team first appeared in 1960, as the Justice League of America. Membership of the league changed over the years, but the original lineup was:

  • Aquaman
  • Batman
  • The Flash
  • Green Lantern
  • Martian Manhunter
  • Superman
  • Wonder Woman

36 Spanish Mrs. : SRA

In Spanish, a “dama” (lady) might be referred to as “Señora” (Mrs.).

37 High-voiced Muppet : ELMO

The “Sesame Street” character named Elmo has a birthday every February 3rd, and on that birthday he always turns 3½ years old. The man behind/under Elmo on “Sesame Street” for many years was Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.

39 “The Night Circus” novelist Morgenstern : ERIN

Erin Morgenstern is an author from Marshfield, Massachusetts who published her first novel in 2011. It is a tale of magic and romance called “The Night Circus” that has been compared with the “Harry Potter” series of books.

40 Mushroom top : CAP

A mushroom isn’t a complete living organism per se but rather is one part of a fungus, and is the fruiting body that is responsible for distributing reproductive spores. The mushroom generally has three main components: the stipe (or “stem”), the pileus (or “cap”) and the lamellae (or “gills”) under the cap which distribute the spores.

41 When one of Marvel’s Avengers needs to create a lineup card, __ : VISION PLANS

Vision is a superhero who often turns up as a member of the Avengers team in Marvel comic books. On the big screen, Vision has been portrayed by English actor Paul Bettany.

43 Pronged spears : TRIDENTS

A trident is a spear with three prongs. The term “trident” comes from the Latin adjective “tridentem” meaning “three-pronged, three-toothed”. “Tridentem” comes from “tri-” (three) and “dens” (tooth).

45 Seamaster watchmaker : OMEGA

Omega is a manufacturer of high-end watches based in Switzerland. An Omega watch was the first portable timepiece to make it to the moon, Perhaps even more (!) impressive is the fact that James Bond has been wearing an Omega watch in the movies since 1995.

The Seamaster is a line of watches that Omega has produced since 1948. The Seamaster name arose because the original design was based on watches made for the Royal Navy during WWII. On the silver screen, James Bond has been wearing an Omega Seamaster since 1995.

49 “__ Misérables” : LES

Victor Hugo’s famous 1862 novel “Les Misérables” has been translated into English several times. However, the title is usually left in the original French as a successful translation of “les misérables” seems to be elusive. Some suggestions for an English title are “The Wretched”, “The Victims” and “The Dispossessed”. The novel follows the lives of several characters including an ex-convict Jean Valjean, a fanatic police inspector Javert, a beautiful prostitute Fantine, and Fantine’s illegitimate daughter Cosette.

63 Sushi wrapper : NORI

Nori is an edible seaweed that we used to know as “laver” when we were living in Wales. Nori is usually dried into thin sheets. Here in the US, we are most familiar with nori as the seaweed used as a wrap for sushi.

64 Nasty hangover? : SMOG

“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s. Several cities around the world have a reputation of being particularly smoggy. For example, the most smog-plagued city in Latin America is Mexico City, which is located in a highland “bowl” that traps industrial and vehicle pollution.

65 Writer Bombeck : ERMA

Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years. She produced more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns under the title “At Wit’s End”, with all describing her home life in suburbia.

66 Vice president between Quayle and Cheney : GORE

Al Gore was born in Washington DC, and is the son of Al Gore, Sr., then a US Representative for the state of Tennessee. After deferring his military service in order to attend Harvard, the younger Gore became eligible for the draft on graduation. Many of his classmates found ways of avoiding the draft, but Gore decided to serve and even took the “tougher” option of joining the army as an enlisted man. Actor Tommy Lee Jones shared a house with Gore in college and says that his buddy told him that even if he could find a way around the draft, someone with less options than him would have to go in his place and that was just wrong.

Dan Quayle served as both a US Representative and a US Senator from Indiana before becoming the 44th Vice President, under President George H. W. Bush. Quayle refused to run for office in 1996, going up against the Clinton/Gore ticket, but entered the fray again in 2000 seeking the Republican nomination for president. Ironically, he was defeated by the son of his former Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush.

In 2000, Dick Cheney was called upon by then-Governor George W. Bush to head up the search for a running mate for Bush in the presidential election. After a few months’ search, Bush turned things on their head by asking Cheney to join him on the ticket.

Down

1 The Brewers, in box scores : MIL

The official mascot of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team is Bernie Brewer. He is a cheerful fellow with a big mustache, and was introduced to the crowds in 1973 as a tribute to ardent Brewers fan Milt Mason. 69-year-old Mason decided to live in a trailer atop the scoreboard in 1970, and to stay there until the struggling Brewers team attracted a sell-out crowd. It took 40 days to achieve the required 40,000 attendees, and Mason was able to leave his perch by sliding down a rope. In honor of that stunt, Bernie Brewer slides down a plastic yellow slide into a giant mug of beer every time the Brewers score a home run.

2 Cy Young stat : ERA

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.

3 Lean-__ : TOS

By definition, a lean-to is a building in which the rafters lean against the wall of another building. A lean-to shelter has a similar appearance, although it is free-standing. The shelter has a single-pitched roof and only three walls.

4 Aardvark meal : ANTS

The aardvark is the oddest looking of creatures, and a nocturnal burrowing animal that is native to Africa. Even though it is sometimes called the African ant bear, the name “aardvark” is Afrikaans for “earth pig”. Aardvarks are noted, among other things, for their unique teeth. Their teeth have no enamel and wear away quite readily, but continuously regrow. The aardvark feeds mainly on ants and termites.

5 __ Martin : ASTON

Aston Clinton is a village in Buckinghamshire in the southeast of England. The celebrated Aston Martin auto manufacturer took the first part of its name from nearby Aston Hill, which in turn was named for the village. The second part of the name was the family name of the company’s cofounder Lionel Martin. Martin and his partner used to race their custom built cars at the Aston Hill Climb in the early 1900s.

6 Beast of burden : BURRO

Our word “burro”, meaning “donkey”, comes from the Spanish word for the same animal, namely “burrico”.

9 Stadium sign : BANNER

The Greek word “stadion” was a measure of length, about 600 feet. The name “stadion” then came to be used for a running track of that length. That “running track” meaning led to our contemporary term “stadium” (plural “stadia”).

10 “The Wallflower” jazz singer James : ETTA

“The Wallflower (Dance with Me, Henry)” is a 1955 song co-written by Hank Ballard and released by Etta James. It was written as an “answer song” to “Work with Me, Annie” that Ballard had written and recorded the previous year.

11 Turquoise kin : TEAL

The beautiful color teal takes its name from the duck called a teal, which has dark greenish-blue (teal) markings on its head and wings.

“Turquoise” is the Old French word for “Turkish”. The name was given to the blue mineral because much of it was brought into Europe from Turkey, although most of the turquoise mines were located in the Khorasan Province of Iran.

12 Egyptian snakes : ASPS

The Egyptian cobra (Naja haje) is also known as the asp. That said, the term “asp” can apply to several species of snake, including the Egyptian cobra. Legend has it that Cleopatra committed suicide by enticing an asp to bite her. If that’s true, then that asp was probably an Egyptian cobra.

15 Webster’s shelfmate : ROGET’S

Peter Mark Roget was an English lexicographer. He was an avid maker of lists, apparently using the routine of list-making to combat depression, a condition he endured for most of his life. Roget published his famous thesaurus in 1852, with revisions and expansions being made years later by his son, and then in turn by his grandson.

22 Buck : DOLLAR

“Buck” is a slang word meaning “dollar”. The term has been around at least since 1856, and is thought to derive from the tradition of using buckskin as a unit of trade with Native Americans during the frontier days.

23 Garlicky dish : SCAMPI

The Italian dish known as “scampi” is a serving of shrimp in garlic butter and dry white wine.

27 Gp. for the troops : USO

The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

28 Old audio systems : HI-FIS

Hi-fi systems were introduced in the late 1940s. They are pieces of audio equipment designed to give a much higher quality reproduction of sound than cheaper systems available up to that point. “Hi-fi” stands for “high fidelity”.

29 Chevy subcompact : AVEO

The Chevrolet Aveo is a subcompact automobile that has been around since 2002. The Aveo is manufactured by GM Daewoo, the GM subsidiary in South Korea. Although the Aveo name is still used in some markets, here in North America the Aveo has been sold as the Chevrolet Sonic since 2012. By the way, GM Daewoo is the third largest manufacturer of automobiles in South Korea, after Hyundai and Kia.

30 Mideast birthplace of actress Gal Gadot : ISRAEL

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Gal Gadot is an actress and former Miss Israel. She played Gisele Yashar in the “Fast & Furious” film franchise, and then began portraying Wonder Woman in superhero movies.

32 “The Wizard of Oz” setting : KANSAS

In the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz”, the opening and closing sequences in Kansas were filmed in black-and-white. The bulk of the film is set in Oz, where the action was filmed in technicolor.

34 Gin and tonic : DRINKS

The original tonic water was a fairly strong solution of the drug quinine dissolved in carbonated water. It was used in tropical areas in South Asia and Africa where malaria is rampant. The quinine has a prophylactic effect against the disease, and was formulated as “tonic water” so that it could be easily distributed. In British colonial India, the colonial types got into the habit of mixing gin with the tonic water to make it more palatable by hiding the bitter taste of quinine. Nowadays, the level of quinine in tonic water has dropped, and sugar has been added.

35 Staff symbol : REST

The sets of five horizontal lines and four spaces that are used in musical notation are known as staves. The singular of “staves” is “staff” in American English, but “stave” in British English.

39 Dartboard wood : ELM

Darts is a game that’s often played in English and Irish pubs, even over here in America. The scoring in a traditional game of darts is difficult to describe in a sentence or two, but the game of darts called “Round the Clock” is simply hitting the numbers 1 through 20 on the dartboard in sequence.

47 Half of half-and-half : CREAM

Half and half is a dairy product consisting of half milk and half light cream.

48 Vital blood vessel : AORTA

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

51 Make waves? : PERM

“Perm” is the common name given to a permanent wave, a chemical or thermal treatment of hair to produce waves or curls.

52 Cookie with a limited edition Pumpkin Spice flavor : OREO

The limited edition Pumpkin Spice Oreo cookies were released in the fall of 2014, and again in 2022. They comprise Golden Oreo cookies filled with creme flavored with pumpkin spice.

53 Word before and after sweet : HOME

“Home! Sweet Home!” is a song that has been around at least since 1827. The melody was composed by Englishman Sir Henry Bishop, using lyrics written by American John Howard Payne.

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home;
A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there,
Which seek thro’ the world, is ne’er met elsewhere.
Home! Home!
Sweet, sweet home!
There’s no place like home
There’s no place like home!

58 Herpetologist’s employer : ZOO

Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles. The term “herpetology” comes from the Greek “herpeton” meaning “creeping animal” and “-logia” meaning “knowledge”.

60 Game cube : DIE

Dice were originally made from knucklebones, bones found in the ankles of a sheep. As a result, dice are often referred to as “bones”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Intro to physics? : META-
5 Fundamentals : ABCS
9 __ test : BETA
13 Monopoly token replaced by a cat : IRON
14 “Yeah, why not?” : SURE
15 Has status : RATES
16 Breaking point : LAST STRAW
18 Coming up : ON TAP
19 When one of the X-Men needs to communicate with the pitcher, __ : STORM SIGNALS
21 App pop-ups : ADS
24 “That’s __-brainer!” : A NO
25 Called before : NEE
26 Concentrate : FOCUS
28 Achievement for a goal-oriented player? : HAT TRICK
33 When a member of the Justice League has possession of the football, __ : FLASH DRIVES
36 Spanish Mrs. : SRA
37 High-voiced Muppet : ELMO
38 Allude (to) : REFER
39 “The Night Circus” novelist Morgenstern : ERIN
40 Mushroom top : CAP
41 When one of Marvel’s Avengers needs to create a lineup card, __ : VISION PLANS
43 Pronged spears : TRIDENTS
45 Seamaster watchmaker : OMEGA
46 “Shoot!” : ASK!
47 Airport rental : CAR
49 “__ Misérables” : LES
50 Idolized athletes, and an apt title for this puzzle? : SPORTS HEROES
56 Uncanny : EERIE
57 Like a wide load : OVERSIZED
61 Rise to the top of a news feed, say : TREND
62 Ham or lamb : MEAT
63 Sushi wrapper : NORI
64 Nasty hangover? : SMOG
65 Writer Bombeck : ERMA
66 Vice president between Quayle and Cheney : GORE

Down

1 The Brewers, in box scores : MIL
2 Cy Young stat : ERA
3 Lean-__ : TOS
4 Aardvark meal : ANTS
5 __ Martin : ASTON
6 Beast of burden : BURRO
7 Stuff : CRAM
8 Follows a pattern, say : SEWS
9 Stadium sign : BANNER
10 “The Wallflower” jazz singer James : ETTA
11 Turquoise kin : TEAL
12 Egyptian snakes : ASPS
15 Webster’s shelfmate : ROGET’S
17 Secret supply : STASH
20 Future resident : INTERN
21 Change : AFFECT
22 Buck : DOLLAR
23 Garlicky dish : SCAMPI
27 Gp. for the troops : USO
28 Old audio systems : HI-FIS
29 Chevy subcompact : AVEO
30 Mideast birthplace of actress Gal Gadot : ISRAEL
31 React to an awkward moment, say : CRINGE
32 “The Wizard of Oz” setting : KANSAS
34 Gin and tonic : DRINKS
35 Staff symbol : REST
39 Dartboard wood : ELM
41 __ interest : VESTED
42 Facial mask targets : PORES
44 Willing to take risks : DARING
47 Half of half-and-half : CREAM
48 Vital blood vessel : AORTA
50 Hardens : SETS
51 Make waves? : PERM
52 Cookie with a limited edition Pumpkin Spice flavor : OREO
53 Word before and after sweet : HOME
54 “Best. Day. __!” : EVER
55 Join the chorus : SING
58 Herpetologist’s employer : ZOO
59 __ on the side of caution : ERR
60 Game cube : DIE

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 24 Nov 22, Thursday”

  1. This one took me forever. I just didn’t get it and still don’t understand it. Say flash drives. I know what a flash drive is. I know that drive can be a football term. Is the Flash a member of the Justice League? And storm signals. What the heck that’s all about beats me. So just not my cup of tea.

  2. 24:00 no errors…didn’t know 15D or any of the “super heroes” but made it anyway.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all😀
    Stay safe😀

  3. 12:30 – no errors, lookups, or false starts.

    New: ERIN Morgenstern, “The Night Circus,” “The Wallflower.”

    The SW corner was a little brain stretcher (had only OREO and EERIE), but after figuring out PERM, the rest fell into place.

    I can’t keep straight which super heroes go with which “franchise,” but recognized the names of all the ones used here.

  4. Mostly easy Thursday for me; took 11:20 with no peeks or errors. Didn’t know the same things that Ray C hadn’t seen before and AVEO and INTERN took a second or two.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

  5. Completed over 2 sessions.
    One mistake: DRINKy / SPORTyHEROES. IN my defence, have you ever had straight tonic water?
    SMOG = hangover is a pretty long stretch.

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