LA Times Crossword 9 Nov 22, Wednesday

Advertisement

Constructed by: Will Eisenberg & Shannon Rapp
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): PRNDL

Themed answers each start with a gear position in an automatic transmission:

  • 17A Actor who plays Cho Sang-woo on “Squid Game” : PARK HAE-SOO
  • 24A Travel that largely avoids rush-hour traffic : REVERSE COMMUTE
  • 35A Cult-favorite indie band formed by Jeff Mangum : NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL
  • 51A Infuriate : DRIVE UP THE WALL
  • 59A “Plug me in soon!” warning : LOW BATTERY!

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

Bill’s time: 7m 56s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Unseen Beckett character : GODOT

“Waiting for Godot” is a play by novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett that premiered in 1953. Irishman Beckett actually wrote the piece in French, under the title “En attendant Godot”. He then translated the play into English himself.

An Irishman I may be, but I have sat through several plays by Samuel Beckett (the Irish dramatist) and I have yet to come away feeling satisfied that I spent my time well. Of course I am in the minority, as Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot” was once voted the most significant English language play of the 20th century. Maybe I will give “Waiting for Godot” another chance one day, but I doubt it …

16 Bugler’s blast : BLARE

A bugle is a simple brass instrument, one that usually has no valves with which a player can alter the pitch. The altering of pitch is achieved by changing the ebay that the lips interface with the mouthpiece. Bugles evolved from wind instruments made from animal horns. “Bugle” is an abbreviation for “buglehorn”, an earlier name for the same instrument. Indeed, the term “bugle” comes from the Latin “buculus” meaning “young ox, heifer”.

17 Actor who plays Cho Sang-woo on “Squid Game” : PARK HAE-SOO

South Korean actor Park Hae-soo is perhaps best known for his principal role in the disturbing survival drama TV series “Squid Game”. He also appears in the Netflix show “Money Heist: Korea”, a remake of the original Spanish series “Money Heist”.

“Squid Game” is a brutal survival drama TV series made in South Korea for Netflix. The title refers to a Korean children’s game, and the show itself features a series of children’s games. The players are adults, all of whom are in debt. They play a deadly series of games in the hope of surviving, and winning a multimillion-dollar prize. As I said, brutal …

19 Ingredient in piccata dishes : CAPER

The seasoning we know as “capers” are the edible flower buds of the caper bush, also known as Flinders rose. By the time we get them in a jar, the buds have been pickled and salted. I’m not a huge fan of capers …

The dish named “piccata” originated in Italy, with the traditional meat used being veal. Whatever meat used is sliced and flattened with a tenderizer, seasoned, dredged in flour and browned in a pan. The juices from the pan are the base for the sauce, to which are added lemon juice, white wine, shallots, caper and butter.

20 “Exile in Guyville” singer Phair : LIZ

Liz Phair is a rock singer from New Haven, Connecticut. Phair started out in the industry releasing homemade tapes under the name Girly Sound.

24 Travel that largely avoids rush-hour traffic : REVERSE COMMUTE

A regular commute often involves large numbers of people traveling from the suburbs into an urban area where they spend the working day, before traveling back home to the suburbs in the evening. A person with a reverse commute does the opposite, living in an urban area and traveling to and from suburbia for the working day. A reverse commute implies encountering less traffic.

28 Alcorn __: HBCU in Mississippi : STATE

Alcorn State University is a historically black university located adjacent to Lorman, in the west of Mississippi. Alcorn was founded in 1871, making it the first black land-grant college in the country. At the time of founding, only males could apply to the school, and the first females were admitted in 1895. Today, women outnumber men at Alcorn by a significant margin.

32 Arcade giant : SEGA

Sega is a Japanese video game company headquartered in Tokyo. Sega actually started out in 1940 as Standard Games and was located in Honolulu, which at that time was a city in the US Territory of Hawaii. The owners moved the operation to Tokyo in 1951 and renamed the company to Service Games. The name “Sega” is a combination of the first two letters of the words “Se-rvice” and “Ga-mes”.

Our word “arcade” comes from the Latin “arcus” meaning “arc”. The first arcades were passages made from a series of arches. This could be an avenue of trees, and eventually any covered avenue. I remember arcades lined with shops and stores when I was growing up on the other side of the Atlantic. Arcades came to be lined with lots of amusements, resulting in amusement arcades and video game arcades.

33 Culture essayist Tolentino : JIA

Jia Tolentino is a Canadian-American writer and editor. One of her higher-profile pieces of reporting was on the conservatorship of Britney Spears, which she co-authored with Ronan Farrow.

34 Letters of urgency : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are back-formations that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

35 Cult-favorite indie band formed by Jeff Mangum : NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL

Neutral Milk Hotel was an indie rock band from Ruston, Louisiana. One thing unique about the band was their use of instruments not traditionally associated with rock music, e.g. uilleann pipes and singing saw.

42 Window boxes? : ACS

The modern form of air conditioning (AC) that is still used today was invented by Willis Carrier in 1902. He co-founded the Carrier Engineering Corporation in New York in 1915. The Carrier Corporation eventually moved to Syracuse, New York in 1937. Beyond the world of air conditioning, the Carrier name has been associated with Syracuse University’s famous Carrier Dome since it opened in 1980. The Carrier Dome is the largest on-campus basketball stadium in the country.

43 __ kwon do : TAE

Tae kwon do is the national sport of Korea. “Tae” means “to strike or break with foot”; “kwon” means “to strike or break with fist”; “do” means “way” or “art”. Along with judo, tae kwon do is one of only two martial arts included in the Olympic Games.

44 Sad Keanu or Grumpy Cat : MEME

Actor Keanu Reeves was sitting on a park bench one day in 2010, eating a sandwich. He was hungry, and just thinking about things. Someone snapped a photograph, and the pensive look and pose was easily interpreted as indicative of sadness. The photo was shared online, and “Sad Keanu” became a thing, and Internet meme. Now there’s even a Cheer-up Keanu Day observed every year on June 15th.

“Grumpy Cat” was the nickname of a well-known cat on the Internet named Tardar Sauce. She had an underbite that caused her face to always appear “grumpy”. The brother of her owner posted a picture of the cat on Reddit one day in 2012, and folks started using the photo in parodies. By 2020, Grumpy Cat was an Internet meme, with over 8 million likes on Facebook. She even starred in her own movie, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever”, which was released in 2014.

49 Thanksgiving mo. in Canada : OCT

October is the tenth month in our calendar but was the eighth month in the old Roman calendar, hence the prefix “octo-”. Back then there were only ten months in the year. “Ianuarius” (January) and “Februarius” were then added as the eleventh and twelfth months of the year. Soon after, the year was reset and January and February became the first and second months.

The Canadian Thanksgiving holiday predates the related celebration in the US. The first Canadian Thanksgiving was held in 1578 by an explorer from England named Martin Frobisher. Frobisher was giving thanks for his safe arrival in the New World, and made the observance in the month of October as this was a tradition in England. All this happened 43 years before the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

54 Copenhagen resident : DANE

Copenhagen is the largest city and the capital of Denmark. I haven’t had the privilege of visiting Copenhagen, but I hear it is a wonderful metropolis with a marvelous quality of life. The city is also very environmentally friendly, with over a third of its population commuting to work by bicycle.

55 Kung __ chicken : PAO

Kung Pao chicken is a Sichuan stir-fry dish that includes chicken, peanuts, vegetables and chili peppers. The name “Kung Pao” is thought to come from a governor of the Sichuan province whose title was “Gongbao”, meaning “Palace Guardian”.

57 Antique mall? : AGORA

In early Greece, an agora was a place of assembly. The assemblies held there were often quite formal, perhaps for the reading of a proclamation. Later in Greek history, things became less formal as the agora evolved into a marketplace. Our contemporary word “agoraphobia” comes from these agorae, in the sense that an agoraphobe has a fear of open spaces, a fear of “public meeting places”.

65 Countryman and Clubman : MINIS

The original Mini was a fabulous car, one that I drove all over Ireland in my youth. It had a unique front-wheel-drive layout that took up very little space, allowing for a lot of room (relatively speaking) for passengers and baggage. One space-saving trick was to mount the engine transversely, so it sits rotated 90 degrees from the norm. That engine had a capacity of only 848cc. In 1961, a Mini Cooper model was introduced, which was a sporty version. The Mini Cooper was a phenomenal hit, especially after repeated wins in the Monte Carlo Rally. The Mini marque has been owned by BMW since 1994.

66 “Silas Marner” novelist : ELIOT

“George Eliot” was the pen name of English novelist Mary Anne Evans. As one might think, Evans chose a male pen name in order that her work might be best appreciated in the Victorian era. Eliot wrote seven novels including “Adam Bede” (1859), “The Mill on the Floss” (1860), “Silas Marner” (1861) and “Middlemarch” (1871-72).

“Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe” is a novel written by George Eliot and first published in 1861. There’s an excellent BBC TV version of the tale (shown on PBS) starring Ben Kingsley in the title role, with Patsy Kensit playing Eppie, the young orphaned child that Marner takes under his wing.

68 Does some onstage improv : SCATS

Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.

Down

2 “When They See Us” creator DuVernay : AVA

Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on her husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma” about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

“When They See Us” is a miniseries created by Ava DuVernay and first aired in 2019. It is a crime drama based on events surrounding the Central Park jogger case from 1989. The show explores the lives of the Central Park Five, the five Black males who were falsely accused and prosecuted on charges related to the rape of a White woman.

4 Art that may be covered by a boot : ANKLE TAT

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are sometimes referred to as “ink”.

5 “The Purloined Letter” writer Edgar Allan __ : POE

“The Purloined Letter” is the third of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories to feature Le Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin, Poe’s famous detective. The two earlier stories are the celebrated “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Mystery of Marie Roget”.

7 Like heavy clogs : WOODEN

Clogs are shoes made from wood, at least in part. The clog originated as a protective item of footwear for use by farm, factory and mine workers.

8 Showing little emotion : STOIC

Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). We get our adjective “stoic”, meaning “indifferent to pleasure or pain”, from the same root.

9 “EastEnders” network : BBC

“EastEnders” is a very, very successful soap opera produced and aired by the BBC since 1985. The title refers to the East End of London.

11 Submit, in an MMA match : TAP OUT

In combat sports, a person can submit to his or her opponent by tapping out, usually tapping the floor or the opponent’s body with a hand.

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport in which competitors use a variety of techniques from a variety of traditional combat sports and martial arts.

24 Barilla rival : RAGU

The Ragú brand of pasta sauce was introduced in 1937. The name ”Ragù” is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is a little off in the name of the sauce. In Italian, the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the sauce on the supermarket shelf it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …

Barilla is a supplier of Italian foods that is headquartered in Parma, Italy. It was founded as a bakery shop in Parma back in 1877, and now supplies almost 50% of the pasta sold in Italy, and about 15% of pasta sold in the US.

28 W-2 fig. : SSN

Form W-2 is provided by US employers to their employees by January 31 each year. The form reports wages paid to the employees, as well as taxes withheld.

29 Merch table buy : TEE

Merchandise (merch)

33 Raise dramatically, as prices : JACK UP

“Jack” is a nickname for “John”. Back in the 1500s, the term “jack” came to be used colloquially to describe any man of low status (as in “jack of all trades, master of none”). The usage was extended to describe any tool that saved work, perhaps replaced menial labor. By the end of the 1600s, the term “jack” became particularly associated with a portable device used to lift heavy weights using leverage.

38 Brunch choice : OMELETTE

Our word “brunch” is a portmanteau of “breakfast” and “lunch”. The term was coined as student slang in Oxford, England in the late 1890s. However, “brunch” described a combined meal closer to the breakfast hour, and the term “blunch” was used for a meal closer to lunchtime.

39 Aqua 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.

40 Two-fifths of Miami? : EMS

Two of the five letters in the word “Miami” are letters M (ems).

41 Gymnast Suni : LEE

Suni Lee is an American gymnast who won the women’s artistic individual all-around event at the 2020 Olympics. A few weeks after her victory in Tokyo, Lee competed in the 30th season of “Dancing with the Stars”, finishing in 5th place.

45 “Altogether ooky” family : ADDAMS

Charles Addams was a cartoonist who signed his work “Chas Addams”. He didn’t draw a cartoon strip but rather individual cartoons, although many of his cartoons did feature regular characters. The most famous of these were the members of the Addams Family, who were published in single-panel cartoons between 1938 and 1988 in “The New Yorker”. The Addams Family moved onto the small and big screens starting in 1964.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re altogether ooky,
The Addams Family.

47 Actress Ryder : WINONA

Hollywood actress Winona Ryder’s real name is Winona Horowitz. She was born near the town of Winona in Minnesota, from which she got her name. Ryder’s success on the screen has garnered as much media attention as her life off the screen. The papers had a field day when she was arrested in 2001 on a shoplifting charge followed by a very public court appearance. Her engagement with Johnny Depp in the early nineties was another media frenzy. Depp had “Winona Forever” tattooed on his arm, which he had changed after the breakup to “Wino Forever”. A man with a sense of humor …

49 Annette of “Virgin River” : O’TOOLE

Among several notable roles, Annette O’Toole is the actress who plays Clark Kent’s mother on the TV show “Smallville”. She is married to fellow actor Michael McKean (who played lead vocalist David St. Hubbins in “This Is Spinal Tap”). Off screen, O’Toole and McKean share a musical career together.

58 Burro : ASS

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

62 Rowing machine, familiarly : ERG

An indoor rowing machine is often referred to as an ergometer (or simply “erg”). However, the term “ergometer” really applies to a device that measures the amount of work performed.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “You crack me up” : HA HA
5 Print sources? : PAWS
9 Cookie quantity : BATCH
14 Bake-off appliance : OVEN
15 Unseen Beckett character : GODOT
16 Bugler’s blast : BLARE
17 Actor who plays Cho Sang-woo on “Squid Game” : PARK HAE-SOO
19 Ingredient in piccata dishes : CAPER
20 “Exile in Guyville” singer Phair : LIZ
21 Clamor : DIN
23 Way to go : ROAD
24 Travel that largely avoids rush-hour traffic : REVERSE COMMUTE
28 Alcorn __: HBCU in Mississippi : STATE
30 Personal : OWN
31 Court clown : JESTER
32 Arcade giant : SEGA
33 Culture essayist Tolentino : JIA
34 Letters of urgency : SOS
35 Cult-favorite indie band formed by Jeff Mangum : NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL
42 Window boxes? : ACS
43 __ kwon do : TAE
44 Sad Keanu or Grumpy Cat : MEME
45 Toiling away : AT WORK
49 Thanksgiving mo. in Canada : OCT
50 Needle : TEASE
51 Infuriate : DRIVE UP THE WALL
54 Copenhagen resident : DANE
55 Kung __ chicken : PAO
56 Orange or peach : HUE
57 Antique mall? : AGORA
59 “Plug me in soon!” warning : LOW BATTERY!
65 Countryman and Clubman : MINIS
66 “Silas Marner” novelist : ELIOT
67 Loyal : TRUE
68 Does some onstage improv : SCATS
69 Reject : DENY
70 38-Down ingredients : EGGS

Down

1 Bounce : HOP
2 “When They See Us” creator DuVernay : AVA
3 Feminine pronoun : HER
4 Art that may be covered by a boot : ANKLE TAT
5 “The Purloined Letter” writer Edgar Allan __ : POE
6 Promos : ADS
7 Like heavy clogs : WOODEN
8 Showing little emotion : STOIC
9 “EastEnders” network : BBC
10 Startles : ALARMS
11 Submit, in an MMA match : TAP OUT
12 Generate : CREATE
13 Sheepdog, e.g. : HERDER
15 Steady look : GAZE
18 Bee complex : HIVE
22 “Seriously!” : NO JOKE!
24 Barilla rival : RAGU
25 Churns : ROILS
26 Paddled, say : SWAM
27 Get along well : MESH
28 W-2 fig. : SSN
29 Merch table buy : TEE
33 Raise dramatically, as prices : JACK UP
34 Bluish gray : SLATE
36 Steak order : RARE
37 Nagging desire : ITCH
38 Brunch choice : OMELETTE
39 Aqua kin : TEAL
40 Two-fifths of Miami? : EMS
41 Gymnast Suni : LEE
45 “Altogether ooky” family : ADDAMS
46 Woeful : TRAGIC
47 Actress Ryder : WINONA
48 Ready to move on : OVER IT
49 Annette of “Virgin River” : O’TOOLE
50 Pulled tight : TAUT
52 Lost color : PALED
53 “Come again?” : WHAT?
58 Burro : ASS
60 Come in first : WIN
61 Lad : BOY
62 Rowing machine, familiarly : ERG
63 Hallway runner : RUG
64 “You got it” : YES

23 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 Nov 22, Wednesday”

  1. No errors. About 17 minutes ..
    Really felt like a WSJ puzzle with all the actor names, band names, singers.

    Didn’t know any of them. Relied solely on crosses. Just like when I do a WSJ.

    I’ll put this one in the Arts category.

  2. No errors, a few proper name lookups. Didn’t get the theme until I
    was finished. Took a long time today because of too many interruptions.

  3. Mia for Jia and Mark Up for Jack Up. D’oh! I’ve been got by a Wednesday puzzle and it feels bad! ;-D> Oh well. I’ll get ’em tomorrow!

    On to the WSJ…

  4. Missed a few, but overall my guesses were correct. Although can someone explain 29D. Merch table buy = tee? I don’t get it. Thanks! 😊

    1. Tee-shirt! I just got it. Kept thinking tee for golfing and didn’t know why that would be on a merchandise table!

  5. 26:42 no errors.
    To add to the woes of trying to get all the obscure names the puzzle in my paper looked like someone spilled beet juice all 😠
    Stay safe😀

  6. Tough, even for a Friday. Oh, wait–it’s only Wednesday? Is there a limit to how many PPP’s and unknown esoterica one can use in a puzzle? I shouldn’t ask because the constructor might try to have more. Sheesh!

  7. 13:34 – 2 letter errors same as @Tony Michaels – mArKUP instead of JACKUP. Do not know Jia Tolentino, and the ‘?’ on 42A caused me to not question ARS for “Window boxes?” because it could have been something unfamiliar.

    New: PARKHAESOO, “Squid Game,” LIZ Phair, “Exile in Guyville,” JIA Tolentino, “Jeff Magnum,” NEUTRALMILKHOTEL (weird name for a band), “When They See Us.” A lot of people names in this one.

    Figured out the theme after completing the puzzle. Not bad . . .

    Interesting that JOKE and JESTER intersect; but maybe not that unusual.

    1. Hi Ray. I don’t know about you but erring on a Wednesday puzzle is humbling – no doubt. But it’s also reaffirming in a way. No one can know it all, or if you do then no one likes you because you’re a “Know it All” (ha). And if I zipped through every puzzle with nary a mistake how boring would that be?

      Okay, enough attempt to rationalize my screw up… ;-D>

  8. Lincoln University is a (HBU) Land Grant College in Jefferson City, MO. founded in 1866. You can find that on line. Being a graduate of Lincoln I take exception to the comments on Alcorn.

    1. After looking at each Wikipedia entry, it appears that they are both land grant colleges, but that Alcorn got this status in 1871, and although Lincoln was founded earlier, didn’t become a land grant college until 1890.

      Still, nice to see proud alumni standing up for their alma maters.

  9. Caught on to gears which helped but was hopeless with Jia and milk.
    Misread 35 down as chums in stead of churns. Could not get over it.
    Was convinced peddled was sold.
    Otherwise I got it.

  10. A bit too tricky for me today; took 21:30 with 4 errors. I made it through all but those 4 squares and went with HOnEy…beeing a beekeeper and all. I also made the same 2 errors as Ray and Tony.

    At least I got the WSJ in 24:25 with no peeks or errors.

    A little joke: Voting is a lot like driving in that you vote for D when you want to go forward and R when you want to go back 🙂 …I’ll show myself out…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *