LA Times Crossword 26 Nov 22, Saturday

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Constructed by: Bill Pipal
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 9m 14s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Berry from Brazilian palms : 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.

5 Hides from animals : PELTS

A pelt is the skin of a furry animal.

10 Sanctuary area : APSE

An apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

A sanctuary is a sacred or holy place, with “sanctuary” coming from the Latin “sanctus” meaning “holy”. Some Christian traditions use the term “sanctuary” to describe the area in a church that houses the main altar. Some medieval Church law granted immunity to fugitives and debtors who took refuge in some churches, and so “sanctuary” took on the meaning “immunity from punishment”.

15 “Dances With Wolves” distribution company : ORION

Orion Pictures is a film studio that was relaunched in 2014, after having operated originally from 1978 to 1999. Orion is a relatively small studio, but has produced four Best Picture Oscar winners:

  • Amadeus (1984)
  • Platoon (1986)
  • Dances with Wolves (1990)
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

“Dances with Wolves” is a Western movie released in 1999 that was produced by, directed by and stars Kevin Costner. The film is based on a novel of the same name by Michael Blake. Costner had been involved in the “Dances with Wolves” project when Blake only had the bare bones of a script, and it was Costner who suggested the script be turned into a novel. Costner then bought the rights to the book, and ended up investing three million dollars of his own money to finish shooting the film.

17 Raccoon, facetiously : TRASH PANDA

The raccoon is native to North America. In captivity, raccoons can live to over 20 years of age, but in the wild they only live two or three years. The main causes for the shorter lifespan are hunting and road traffic.

19 Romance novelist Kennedy : ELLE

Elle Kennedy is a romance novelist from Canada who also authors romantic suspense novels. Her most popular books are known as the “Off Campus” series.

20 Improvises : AD-LIBS

“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage, the phrase is usually shortened to “ad-lib”. On the stage, the concept of an ad lib is very familiar.

23 Google __ : DOCS

Google Docs is a word processing application that is part of the Google Drive suite of services. In fact, I am typing this blog post right now in Google Docs.

26 Low island : CAY

A key (also “cay”) is a low offshore island, as in the Florida “Keys”. Our term in English comes from the Spanish “cayo” meaning “shoal, reef”.

27 Tanzanite and black opal : RARE GEMS

Tanzanite is a very rare mineral used in making games. It is only found in a mining area of about five square miles in Tanzania (hence the name “Tanzanite”).

97% of the world’s opals come from Australia, so it’s no surprise perhaps that the opal is the national gemstone of the country. The state of South Australia provides the bulk of the world’s production, i.e. about 80%. White, gray and green opals are the most common varieties found, and black opals the rarest.

35 Turkish coins : LIRAS

The currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira, which is divided into 100 kuruş. In 1927, the Turkish lira replaced the Ottoman lira, which had been in use since 1844.

37 Country rock band co-founded by Jim Messina : POCO

The country rock band Poco was formed in 1968 by two former members of Buffalo Springfield, Richie Furay and Jim Messina. The band originally chose the name “Pogo”, after the comic strip character. Walt Kelly, creator of “Pogo”, threatened to sue, and so they changed the name to “Poco”.

38 Fictional Gantry : ELMER

“Elmer Gantry” is a 1926 novel by Sinclair Lewis. The title character is a preacher who is also a boozehound and a womanizer. Lewis’ book was adapted into a 1960 film of the same name, in which Burt Lancaster portrayed Gantry in an Oscar-winning performance.

49 Includes, briefly : CCS

I wonder if the kids of today know that “cc” stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle? A kind blog reader pointed out to me a while back that the abbreviation has evolved and taken on the meaning “courtesy copy” in our modern world.

52 Snarky remarks : POTSHOTS

When firing a gun, a “potshot” is a “shot” taken purely to get the prey into the “pot” for cooking. The term “potshot” was coined in the 1830s, hence distinguishing between a shot taken for sport or marksmanship and a shot taken while hunting for game.

“Snark” is a term that was coined by Lewis Carroll in his fabulous 1876 nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”. Somehow, the term “snarky” came to mean “irritable, short-tempered” in the early 1900s, and from there “snark” became “sarcastic rhetoric” at the beginning of the 21st century.

55 Polymer products : RESINS

In chemistry, a polymer is a large molecule comprising many repeated subunits. Most of our plastic materials are synthetic polymers. Examples of naturally occuring polymers are DNA and proteins.

60 Footwear for a private eye? : TRACK SHOES

A private eye is a private investigator, a PI, a private “I”.

62 Home to the oldest university in the Americas : LIMA

Lima is the capital city of Peru. It was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who named it “la Ciudad de los Reyes” (the City of Kings). He chose this name because the decision to found the city was made on January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany that commemorates the visit of the three kings to Jesus in Bethlehem. Lima is home to the oldest university in all of the Americas, as San Marco University was founded in 1551 during the days of Spanish colonial rule.

63 Proportional gift : TITHE

Traditionally, a tithe is a payment of one tenth of a person’s annual income and is usually given to a church. Tithing is a practice taught in many traditions, and according to a 2002 survey, about 3% of American adults donate 10% or more of their income to a church.

64 Soon, quaintly : ANON

“Anon” originally meant “at once”, but the term’s meaning evolved into “soon” apparently just because the word was misused over time.

65 Education acronym : STEM

The acronym “STEM” stands for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. An alternative acronym with a similar meaning is MINT, standing for mathematics, information sciences, natural sciences and technology.

66 Base stealer’s asset : SPEED

That would be baseball.

Down

1 Flour that’s stone ground in a chakki : ATTA

Atta is a whole-wheat flour used to make flatbreads in South Asian cuisine, such as chapati and naan. “Atta” is the Hindi or Urdu word for “dough”.

Chakki are grinding stones used to grind spices and grains for Indian cuisine.

2 Poutine morsel : CURD

Poutine is a dish that originated in rural Quebec in the late fifties. It is made with french fries covered in a brown gravy sauce, all topped with cheese curds.

3 Kazakh/Uzbek border name : ARAL

The Kazakhstan–Uzbekistan border runs almost 1,500 miles, from the point where the Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan borders meet to the point where Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan borders meet. One notable section in the north of the border traverses the ecologically challenged Aral Sea.

4 Skinny, so to speak : INSIDE DOPE

Our use of the word “dope” to mean “inside information” probably comes from horse racing. The idea is that a bettor might have information about which horse has been drugged (doped) to influence its performance.

The use of the word “skinny”, meaning “information”, comes from WWII military slang for “the truth”. The term is probably a derivative of the expression “the naked truth”, which is evocative of “skinny-dipping”.

5 Milieu of Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish : POP SCENE

Ariana Grande is a singer and actress from Boca Raton, Florida. Grande plays the role of Cat Valentine on the sitcom “Victorious” that aired for four seasons on Nickelodeon. Grande’s singing career took off with the release of the 2011 album “Victorious: Music from the Hit TV Show”.

Billie Eilish is a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. She has won several awards, and is the youngest person to have won all four major Grammy categories in the same year, i.e. Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

6 Detergent brand : ERA

Era was the first liquid laundry detergent produced by Procter & Gamble.

7 Fuzz : LINT

“Lint”, meaning “fluff”, is one of those terms that I had to learn when I moved to the US. We call the same thing “fuzz” on the other side of the Atlantic.

12 Cuban movement? : SALSA DANCE

The genre of music called salsa is a modern interpretation of various Cuban traditional music styles.

18 Phased-out streaming service : HBO GO

The HBO Go offering was a “TV Everywhere” service, meaning that paid subscribers could stream content on a choice of platforms just by entering a username and password. HBO Go was superseded by the HBO Max service.

28 Seed germinated on toothpicks in some science projects : AVOCADO PIT

The wonderful avocado comes from a tree that is native to Mexico and Central America. The avocado fruit is sometimes called an avocado pear, because of its shape, even though it is not related to the pear at all. The fruit might also be referred to as an alligator pear, due to the roughness of the green skin of some avocado cultivars.

30 “Lost in Yonkers” playwright : SIMON

“Lost in Yonkers” is a Neil Simon play that premiered in 1990, and won the 1991 Pulitzer for Drama. The play was adapted into a 1993 film starring Irene Worth, Mercedes Ruehl and Richard Dreyfuss.

34 General sense : TENOR

The purport or tenor of something is its general sense.

44 Primary concern : VOTES

The US is one of just a few countries that uses primary elections, selections of party candidates by popular vote. In the runup to most national elections outside of the US, political parties select their own candidates. Indeed, primaries weren’t introduced into the US until relatively recently. The first presidential primary took place in 1920, in New Hampshire.

46 Turf Builder brand : SCOTTS

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company was founded in 1868 by one Orlando Scott, and initially sold seed to the agricultural industry. In the early 1900s, Scotts started to sell to homeowners, and mainly supplied lawn seed. The company merged with the gardening company Miracle-Gro in 1955, and then with TruGreen in 2016.

48 German wheels : OPELS

Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.

56 New Rochelle school designated a university in 2022 : IONA

Iona College is a Roman Catholic school run by Christian Brothers in New Rochelle, New York. The Brothers named the college for the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland on which is located Iona Abbey, which was founded by St. Columba. The school’s sports teams are called the Iona Gaels, and the team mascot goes by the name “Killian”.

58 IDs since 1936 : SSNS

The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an identity number to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So starting in 1986, the IRS made it a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, seven million dependents “disappeared” in 1987. Today, a SSN is required for a child of any age in order to receive a tax exemption.

61 Sara Ramirez’s “And Just Like That … ” role : CHE

Sara Ramirez is a Mexican-American actress known for playing Callie Torres in “Grey’s Anatomy”. In 2005, Ramirez won a Tony Award for originating the role of Lady of the Lake in the “Spamalot” on Broadway.

“And Just Like That…” is a TV series that serves as a sequel to the hit show “Sex and the City”. All of the four lead actors reprise their roles, bar Kim Cattrall who opted out of playing Samantha Jones again.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Berry from Brazilian palms : ACAI
5 Hides from animals : PELTS
10 Sanctuary area : APSE
14 Game time? : TURN
15 “Dances With Wolves” distribution company : ORION
16 Haunted house sound : MOAN
17 Raccoon, facetiously : TRASH PANDA
19 Romance novelist Kennedy : ELLE
20 Improvises : AD-LIBS
21 Minimal-compliance hiring practice : TOKENISM
23 Google __ : DOCS
25 Gel : SET
26 Low island : CAY
27 Tanzanite and black opal : RARE GEMS
31 Out : DATED
33 “Go me!” : I’VE DONE IT!
35 Turkish coins : LIRAS
37 Country rock band co-founded by Jim Messina : POCO
38 Fictional Gantry : ELMER
40 Sheet of glass : PANE
41 Breadth : SCOPE
43 Singular source of dissent : LONE VOICE
45 Geometry numbers : AREAS
47 “That explains everything” : NO WONDER
48 “How unexpected” : ODD
49 Includes, briefly : CCS
51 Memorization technique : ROTE
52 Snarky remarks : POTSHOTS
55 Polymer products : RESINS
59 Legendary : EPIC
60 Footwear for a private eye? : TRACK SHOES
62 Home to the oldest university in the Americas : LIMA
63 Proportional gift : TITHE
64 Soon, quaintly : ANON
65 Education acronym : STEM
66 Base stealer’s asset : SPEED
67 Sits in the sun : TANS

Down

1 Flour that’s stone ground in a chakki : ATTA
2 Poutine morsel : CURD
3 Kazakh/Uzbek border name : ARAL
4 Skinny, so to speak : INSIDE DOPE
5 Milieu of Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish : POP SCENE
6 Detergent brand : ERA
7 Fuzz : LINT
8 Chore list items : TO-DOS
9 Unclogged, as a pipe : SNAKED
10 “Indeed” : AMEN
11 Bust : POLICE RAID
12 Cuban movement? : SALSA DANCE
13 Adversary : ENEMY
18 Phased-out streaming service : HBO GO
22 “There are others” abbr. : ET AL
24 Get a whiff of : SMELL
27 Tears (up) : RIPS
28 Seed germinated on toothpicks in some science projects : AVOCADO PIT
29 Goal for some Olympians : RECORD TIME
30 “Lost in Yonkers” playwright : SIMON
32 Be respectful, in a way : TIP ONE’S HAT
34 General sense : TENOR
36 One who looks to the future? : SEER
39 Edited : REWORKED
42 Per : EACH
44 Primary concern : VOTES
46 Turf Builder brand : SCOTTS
48 German wheels : OPELS
50 Lose one’s shirt? : STRIP
53 Trick : SCAM
54 Fill and then some : SATE
56 New Rochelle school designated a university in 2022 : IONA
57 Adjective associated with some 1980s fashion : NEON
58 IDs since 1936 : SSNS
61 Sara Ramirez’s “And Just Like That … ” role : CHE

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

  1. LAT: About 30 minutes, no errors. I thought it was gonna be one of those super-hard Saturday puzzles when I couldn’t get going in the NW corner. Started then in the SE corner, and everything started falling into place. Still unsure what “turn” means as the answer to “Game time.”

    1. [Game time?] : TURN
      Think a game of cards or board games. Everyone goes in sequence and you wait until it’s your turn.

  2. What the heck is hbogo?
    I saw Loggins and Messina at Winona State in Minnesota in about 1972. Sat on the gym floor for a free concert. And you don’t hardly see them anymore, as George Gobel would say (I think).

  3. Not as bad as the last couple of Saturday brain knotting puzzles without being too easy either. I am sure it’s not a cinch to split the puzzle into the Goldilocks territory. On to the WSJ 21X21…

  4. A bit too tough for me today; took 44:07 with numerous “check-grids” to get to the finish. I was able to get about 50% on my own before checking things as I went.

    Couldn’t help thinking about AOC’s boyfriend being referred to as a “bin racoon” by a British twitterer, due to his slightly unkempt hair, some years ago 🙂 He got his hair cut right afterward.

  5. 16:59 – no errors or lookups. False starts: TASKS>TODOS, POTATOEPIT?>AVOCADOPIT, RETOOLED>REWORKED, VITAL>VOTES.

    New: TRASHPANDA (I was thinking masked bandit), ELLE Kennedy, POCO, “And Just Like That.”

    A good challenge, but not the hair-puller of some recent Saturdays.

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