LA Times Crossword 29 Nov 22, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Jared Goudsmit
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): P-P-Puzzle

Themed answers each comprise two words, both starting with the letter P:

  • 17A Big name in crossword magazines : PENNY PRESS
  • 28A Wet blanket : PARTY POOPER
  • 47A Challenging yoga asana named for a showy bird : PEACOCK POSE
  • 61A Electricity facility : POWER PLANT
  • 3D Noodles often served alla vodka : PENNE PASTA
  • 30D Picnic dinnerware : PAPER PLATE

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

Bill’s time: 6m 21s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Credit card option, familiarly : AMEX

“Amex” is short for “American Express”, the name of the financial services company that is best known for its credit card, charge card and traveler’s check businesses. The company name is indicative of its original business. American Express was founded in 1850 in Buffalo, New York as an express mail service.

17 Big name in crossword magazines : PENNY PRESS

Penny Press (now “Penny Publications”) is a publisher specializing in magazines featuring puzzles, crosswords and mysteries. The company was founded in 1973 by Bill and Penny Kanter, with “Penny” donating her moniker to the company name.

19 Wreak havoc on : RUIN

Havoc is great damage or destruction. The term “havoc” comes from the Anglo-French phrase “crier havok”, which was an order given in the late 1500s to soldiers, instructing them to seize plunder.

20 Concave belly buttons : INNIES

The navel is essentially the scar left behind when the umbilical cord is removed from a newborn baby. One interesting use of the umbilicus (navel, belly button) is to differentiate between identical twins, especially when they are very young.

21 Dramatic declaration during an unveiling : ET VOILA!

“Et voilà” is French for, “And there it is!”

24 Yuletide songs : CAROLS

The word “carol” came into English via the Old French word “carole”, which was a “dance in a ring”. When “carol” made it into English, about 1300 AD, the term was used to describe a dance as well as a joyful song. Around 1500 AD, carols that were sung came to be associated with Christmas.

Yule celebrations coincide with Christmas, and the words “Christmas” and “Yule” (often “Yuletide”) have become synonymous in much of the world. However, Yule was originally a pagan festival celebrated by Germanic peoples. The name “Yule” comes from the Old Norse word “jol” that was used to describe the festival.

26 Egyptian cobra : ASP

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.

28 Wet blanket : PARTY POOPER

A wet blanket might be used to extinguish a fire. We use the phrase “wet blanket” figuratively to describe someone who tends to dampen enthusiasm or enjoyment.

33 Ancestry.com sample : DNA

Ancestry.com is the largest commercial genealogy company in the world. It operates out of Provo, Utah.

36 Blu-ray __ : DISC

A CD player reads the information on the disc using a laser beam. The beam is produced by what’s called a laser diode, a device similar to a light-emitting diode (LED) except that a laser beam is emitted. That laser beam is usually red in CD and DVD players. Blu-ray players are so called as they use blue lasers.

38 One-named singer whose four studio albums have numerical titles : ADELE

“Adele” is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older. Her third studio album “25”, released in 2015, broke the first-week sales records in both the UK and the US. “30” followed in 2021.

42 Actress/model Kate : UPTON

Kate Upton is a fashion model from St. Joseph, Michigan. Kate is a niece of US Representative Fred Upton of Michigan. Kate married professional baseball pitcher Justin Verlander in 2014.

47 Challenging yoga asana named for a showy bird : PEACOCK POSE

In Yoga, the peacock pose (also “mayurasana”) is a tough one to adopt, and even tougher to hold. It involves balancing the body horizontally, facing downwards, with just the hands touching the floor. Oof …!

51 Shoelace tips : AGLETS

An aglet is a plastic or metal sheath that is found on the end of a shoelace or perhaps a drawstring. The name “aglet” comes from the Old French word “aiguillette” meaning “needle”.

52 Indy 500 sponsor : STP

STP is a brand name of automotive lubricants and additives. The name “STP” is an initialism standing for “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”.

The Indianapolis 500 race is held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The race is run around a 2.5 mile oval, hence requiring 200 laps for completion. The first Indy 500 race was held on Memorial Day in 1911. The winner that day was one Ray Harroun. Harroun had seen someone using a rear view mirror on a horse-drawn vehicle, and decided to fit one on his Marmon “Wasp” motor car. Supposedly, that was the first ever use of a rear-view mirror on a motor vehicle.

54 Digital currency : BITCOIN

Bitcoins are digital units of currency that are used on some Internet sites. They are the most popular alternative currency used on the Web today. More and more reputable online retailers are accepting bitcoins, including Overstock.com, Expedia, Dell and Microsoft.

64 Sci-fi author Stephenson : NEAL

Neal Stephenson is a novelist and video game designer whose work is often classified as science fiction or speculative fiction. I must admit, I haven’t indulged …

65 Like the humans in “WALL-E” : OBESE

“WALL-E” is a very cute Pixar movie that was released in 2008. The hero of the piece is a robot named WALL-E, who loves his “Hello Dolly”, and who also falls in love with a robot named EVE.

66 Director Preminger : OTTO

Otto Preminger was noted for directing films that pushed the envelope in terms of subject matter, at least in the fifties and sixties. Great examples would be 1955’s “The Man with the Golden Arm” that dealt with drug addiction, 1959’s “Anatomy of a Murder” that dealt with rape, and 1962’s “Advise and Consent” that dealt with homosexuality. If you’ve seen these films, you’ll have noticed that the references are somewhat indirect and disguised, in order to get past the censors.

67 Oscar winner Catherine __-Jones : ZETA

Catherine Zeta-Jones is a movie actress from Swansea in Wales. Her earlier starring roles were in films such as “The Mask of Zorro” and “Entrapment”, followed by much-lauded performances in “Traffic” (2000) and “Chicago” (2002). Zeta-Jones is married to actor Michael Douglas who is exactly 25 years her senior (the pair share the same birthday).

68 Nash of “The Rookie: Feds” : NIECY

Niecy Nash is a comedian and actress who played Deputy Raineesha Williams in the comedy show “Reno 911!” Nash is one of the celebrities to have participated in the reality competition “Dancing with the Stars”, taking fifth place in the tenth season.

“The Rookie: Feds” is a spinoff of “The Rookie”. The main characters of the spinoff show were introduced to the viewing audience in two sequential episodes of “The Rookie” in 2022. Those two episodes are referred to as a “backdoor pilot”.

69 Gas in an eye-catching sign : NEON

The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.

Down

1 Grand Canyon people : HOPI

Many members of the Hopi nation live on a reservation that is actually located within the much larger Navajo reservation in Arizona.

3 Noodles often served alla vodka : PENNE PASTA

Penne alla vodka is a pasta dish with a sauce made of vodka, cream, tomatoes, onions and sausage or bacon.

4 Orange half of a “Sesame Street” duo : ERNIE

For many years, I believed that the “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie were named after two roles played in the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life”. In the movie, the policeman’s name is Bert and his taxi-driving buddy is named Ernie. However, the “Sesame Street” folks have stated that the use of the same names is just a coincidence. Aww, I don’t wanna believe that’s a coincidence …

6 “Ben-__” : HUR

The celebrated 1959 Charlton Heston movie “Ben-Hur” is a dramatization of a book published in 1880 by Lew Wallace titled “Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ”. The 1959 epic film won a record 11 Academy Awards, a feat that has been equaled since then but never beaten. The other winners of 11 Oscars are “Titanic” (1997) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Rings” (2003).

10 Some spray cans : AEROSOLS

Strictly speaking, the term “aerosol” defines a suspension of either liquid droplets or solid particles in a gas. A good example of an aerosol is smoke. We tend to use the “aerosol” to describe what comes out of a spray can, even though the liquid droplets usually fall out of the gas and don’t stay suspended.

11 Haleakala National Park island : MAUI

If you visit the island of Maui, a trip to the Haleakala National Park is a must. One section of the park features the spectacular Haleakala Crater, where you would swear you are on the moon. The second part of the park is the Kipahulu section, which features the very picturesque pools accessed along the Road to Hana. When we visited (quite a few years ago), the Road to Hana was a tad undeveloped and rental car companies would not allow you to drive their cars there. Funnily enough, the only cars you’d meet on the Road to Hana were rental cars …

13 Warrior princess played by Lucy Lawless : XENA

The Xena character, played by New Zealander Lucy Lawless, was introduced in a made-for-TV movie called “Hercules and the Amazon Women”. Lawless reprised the role in a series called “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”. Xena became so popular that a series was built around her character, with Lawless retained for the title role. The fictional Xena supposedly came from the “non-fictional” Greek city of Amphipolis.

22 YouTube journal : VLOG

A video blog is perhaps what one might expect, i.e. a blog that is essentially a series of video posts. The phrase “video logging” is often shortened to “vlogging”.

24 “Dang it!” : CRUD!

The word “crud”, meaning “something disgusting”, is American slang dating back to the 1920s. Originating in the US Army, the term was used in place of “venereal disease”.

27 Long-billed marsh bird : SNIPE

Snipes are wading birds with very long and thin bills that they use to search for small invertebrates in mud. In bygone days, a shot taken by a hunter at one of these wading birds became known as a “snipe”. This usage evolved into the word “sniper” applying to anyone shooting from a hidden position.

31 “Get Out” actress Alexander : ERIKA

Erika Alexander is the actress who played Pam Tucker, a cousin that came to live with the Huxtable household in “The Cosby Show”. Alexander also won many awards for playing Maxine Shaw on the Fox sitcom “Living Single”.

“Get Out” is a 2017 horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele. I don’t do horror, but I do hear that this one is well made …

37 Pepsi rival : COCA-COLA

The exact formula for Coca-Cola is a trade secret. The secret recipe is locked in a vault. That vault is on public display in the World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta, Georgia.

39 Country between Thailand and Vietnam : LAOS

The present-day nation of Laos can trace its roots back to the historic Lao kingdom of Lan Xang that existed from 1354 to 1707. The full name of the kingdom was “Lan Xang Hom Khao”, which translates as “The Land of a Million Elephants and the White Parasol”.

40 Ambulance letters : EMS

Emergency medical services (EMS)

Our word “ambulance” originated from the French term “hôpital ambulant” meaning “field hospital” (literally “walking hospital”). In the 1850s, the term started to be used for a vehicle transporting the wounded from the battlefield, leading to our “ambulance”.

43 Canceled, at Cape Canaveral : NO-GO

The famous headland in Florida called Cape Canaveral was named by Spanish explorers in the early 16th century. As the Cape acts as a launching station for many of NASA’s rockets, when President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 the NASA facility on nearby Merritt Island was renamed the Kennedy Space Center, and President Johnson went as far as renaming the whole of Cape Canaveral to Cape Kennedy. The name change for the cape didn’t go down well in Florida though, as the headland had been called Cape Canaveral for over 400 years. So, the name was restored in 1973, and Cape Kennedy is no more.

45 Greek fable writer : AESOP

Aesop is remembered today as a fabulist, a writer of fables. Aesop lived in ancient Greece, probably around the sixth century BC. Supposedly he was born a slave, somehow became a free man, but then met with a sorry end. Aesop was sent to the city of Delphi on a diplomatic mission but instead insulted the Delphians. He was tried on a trumped-up charge of stealing from a temple, sentenced to death and was thrown off a cliff.

49 Obi-Wan __ : KENOBI

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.

53 Bird of prey’s claw : TALON

A talon is a claw of a bird of prey. The term “talon” ultimately derives from “talus”, the Latin word for “ankle”.

54 Mercedes-__ : BENZ

In the US, the Big Three automotive manufacturers are General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. The equivalent Big Three in Germany are Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and in Japan are Toyota, Nissan and Honda.

57 Lady __ tea : GREY

Lady Grey is a variant of Earl Grey tea that was introduced in 1994. Like the original, it is a black tea flavored with the essential oil bergamot, but with additional lemon and orange peel. The variant is named for Lady Mary Elizabeth Grey, the wife of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey (for whom the original is named).

59 Prestigious British school : ETON

The world-famous Eton College is just a brisk walk from Windsor Castle, which itself is just outside London. Eton is noted for producing many British leaders, including prime ministers David Cameron and Boris Johnson. The list of Old Etonians also includes Princes William and Harry, the Duke of Wellington and George Orwell. Author Ian Fleming was also an Eton alumnus, as was Fleming’s iconic character James Bond, although 007 was expelled by the school.

63 Keyboard key for exiting full-screen mode : ESC

The escape key (Esc) was originally used just to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Word before and after against : HOPE
5 Bite : CHOMP
10 Credit card option, familiarly : AMEX
14 Above : OVER
15 Sound transmission : AUDIO
16 Rain gutter site : EAVE
17 Big name in crossword magazines : PENNY PRESS
19 Wreak havoc on : RUIN
20 Concave belly buttons : INNIES
21 Dramatic declaration during an unveiling : ET VOILA!
23 Cave-dwelling fish : EEL
24 Yuletide songs : CAROLS
26 Egyptian cobra : ASP
28 Wet blanket : PARTY POOPER
33 Ancestry.com sample : DNA
34 “__ the front door!” : SHUT
35 Look daggers (at) : GLARE
36 Blu-ray __ : DISC
38 One-named singer whose four studio albums have numerical titles : ADELE
41 Go in circles : SPIN
42 Actress/model Kate : UPTON
44 First word for some babies : MAMA
46 __ out a living : EKE
47 Challenging yoga asana named for a showy bird : PEACOCK POSE
50 Uncooked : RAW
51 Shoelace tips : AGLETS
52 Indy 500 sponsor : STP
54 Digital currency : BITCOIN
57 Pro at net working? : GOALIE
60 Empty hallway sound : ECHO
61 Electricity facility : POWER PLANT
64 Sci-fi author Stephenson : NEAL
65 Like the humans in “WALL-E” : OBESE
66 Director Preminger : OTTO
67 Oscar winner Catherine __-Jones : ZETA
68 Nash of “The Rookie: Feds” : NIECY
69 Gas in an eye-catching sign : NEON

Down

1 Grand Canyon people : HOPI
2 Brick __ pizza : OVEN
3 Noodles often served alla vodka : PENNE PASTA
4 Orange half of a “Sesame Street” duo : ERNIE
5 Bottle tops : CAPS
6 “Ben-__” : HUR
7 Laudatory poem : ODE
8 Great woe : MISERY
9 Hospital recovery area, for short : POST-OP
10 Some spray cans : AEROSOLS
11 Haleakala National Park island : MAUI
12 Profoundly bad : EVIL
13 Warrior princess played by Lucy Lawless : XENA
18 Shrill cries : YELPS
22 YouTube journal : VLOG
24 “Dang it!” : CRUD!
25 Basketball shot : ATTEMPT
26 Make logical sense : ADD UP
27 Long-billed marsh bird : SNIPE
29 “I see now!” : AHA!
30 Picnic dinnerware : PAPER PLATE
31 “Get Out” actress Alexander : ERIKA
32 Continue to subscribe : RENEW
37 Pepsi rival : COCA-COLA
39 Country between Thailand and Vietnam : LAOS
40 Ambulance letters : EMS
43 Canceled, at Cape Canaveral : NO-GO
45 Greek fable writer : AESOP
48 Like some earrings and ties : CLIP-ON
49 Obi-Wan __ : KENOBI
53 Bird of prey’s claw : TALON
54 Mercedes-__ : BENZ
55 Frozen drink brand : ICEE
56 Not this : THAT
57 Lady __ tea : GREY
58 Keen about : INTO
59 Prestigious British school : ETON
62 Tiny : WEE
63 Keyboard key for exiting full-screen mode : ESC

10 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 29 Nov 22, Tuesday”

  1. Getting the theme helped fill in the blanks…no errors, but one lookup–
    “Upton”. Very good time for me, just over 16 minutes…

  2. Didn’t get theme.
    Had 2 Naticks: VLOG crosses ETVOILA, and NIECY crosses GREY.
    Didn’t actually know UPTON, NEAL, CRUD and PENNYPRESS. Bad for a Tuesday, but acceptable for an old lady.

  3. 4:51

    I’ve seen crossword magazines, but never noticed the publishers. Now I know, I guess.

    Good to see NEAL Stephenson. His books are kind of a commitment, weaving together a torrent of interesting and challenging ideas with fast-paced action. The most influential is probably SNOWCRASH, not least for coining the term “Metaverse.” Hard to believe that came out 30 years ago!

  4. 8:29 – no errors or lookups. False start: EMT>EMS.

    New: PEACOCKPOSE, NEAL Stephenson, “Get Out,” ERIKA Alexander.

    Didn’t detect the theme until looking over the completed puzzle. It looked like a “Two peas” something or other (not in a pod, though); maybe “two peas to please?”

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