LA Times Crossword 1 Dec 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: Shannon Rapp
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Secret Handshake

Themed answers each contain the letter grouping “HAND”, with the order SHAKEN up:

  • 35A Greeting between members of an exclusive club, and what’s hiding in the answer to the starred clues? : SECRET HANDSHAKE and SECRET “HAND” SHAKE
  • 17A *Bounce around the Caribbean, say : ISLAND-HOP
  • 25A *1983 film that won an Oscar for Best Original Song : FLASHDANCE
  • 47A *School of Hindu philosophy : JAIN DHARMA
  • 56A *Was completely clueless : HAD NO IDEA

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

Bill’s time: 7m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Period after Shrove Tuesday : LENT

To shrive is to obtain absolution by confessing and doing penance. The past tense of “shrive” is “shrove”. The verb gives its name to Shrove Tuesday, the day before the season of fasting known as Lent. Shrove Tuesday is named in recognition of the early Christian tradition of confessing the week before Lent.

5 Lyricist Gershwin : IRA

Ira Gershwin was the lyricist who worked with his brother George to create such American classics as the songs “I Got Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”, as well as the opera “Porgy and Bess”. After George Gershwin died, Ira continued to create great music, and worked with the likes of Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill.

8 Inca __: Peruvian soft drink : KOLA

Inca Kola is a soft drink from Peru that was introduced in 1935. The soda’s main flavoring ingredient is lemon verbena, and it is said to taste like bubblegum.

12 Mideast rulers : EMIRS

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!).

14 Blues’ org. : NHL

The St. Louis Blues NHL hockey team takes its name from the song “St. Louis Blues”, a jazz and popular music classic.

15 Passing words? : OBITS

Our word “obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”. The Latin term was used for “record of the death of a person”, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

17 *Bounce around the Caribbean, say : ISLAND-HOP

The Caribbean Sea takes its name from the Island Carib people. The Island Caribs are an American Indian people that live in the Lesser Antilles islands, part of the West Indies.

19 Tropical ray : MANTA

The manta ray is the largest species of ray, with the biggest one recorded at over 25 feet across and weighing 5,100 pounds. It is sometimes referred to as the sea devil.

22 Brought into a discussion : CCED

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.

25 *1983 film that won an Oscar for Best Original Song : FLASHDANCE

“Flashdance” is a 1983 romantic drama film about a young welder at a steel plant who aspires to become a professional dancer. The movie’s soundtrack was also a big hit and features songs like “Maniac” and “Flashdance…What a Feeling”. The latter was performed by Irene Cara, and won the Best Original Song Oscar for that season.

“Maniac” is a hit song written for the 1983 movie “Flashdance”. It was performed and co-written by Michael Sembello. Paramount Pictures executives asked Sembello for songs to potentially include in the film. Sembello’s wife included “Maniac” on the tape by accident.

29 Courts : WOOS

To court someone is to woo them, to offer homage. One might do something similar at court, hence the use of the term.

30 “The Waste Land” poet : ELIOT

T. S. Eliot (TSE) wrote his poem called “The Waste Land” in 1922. “The Waste Land” opens with the famous line, “April is the cruellest month …”

32 Lab animal : RAT

Our term “laboratory”, often shortened to “lab”, comes from the Medieval Latin word “laboratorium” meaning “place for labor, work”. This in turn comes from the Latin verb “laborare” meaning “to work”.

40 Sked “Don’t know yet” : TBA

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

42 Petco Park player : PADRE

The San Diego Padres baseball team was founded in 1969, and immediately joined the ranks of Major League Baseball as an expansion team. The Padres took their name from a Minor League team that had been in the city since 1936. The name is Spanish for “fathers” and is a reference to the Franciscan Friars from Spain who founded San Diego in 1769.

Petco Park is the ballpark used by the San Diego Padres since 2004. Before Petco Park was opened, the Padres shared Qualcomm Stadium with the San Diego Chargers of the NFL. When the new Padres stadium was being built, fans were offered the chance to buy bricks on which a dedication could be written. The animal rights group PETA tried to buy a brick in order to write a protest message against Petco’s treatment of animals, but were denied. PETA managed to sneak their message onto a brick, which reads “Break Open Your Cold Ones, Toast the Padres, Enjoy This Champion Organization”. If you take the first letters of each word in the message you come up with “BOYCOTT PETCO”.

45 Animal that can run using its flippers : SEA LION

There are three families of seals. The first is the walrus family, the second the eared seals (like sea lions), and thirdly the earless seals (like elephant seals).

47 *School of Hindu philosophy : JAIN DHARMA

In the Hindu tradition, the term “dharma” describes the laws of the natural universe. The observance of those laws enables one to be content and happy, and to avoid suffering.

Jainism is a religion based in India in which the faithful practice an ascetic way of life and honor nonviolence. Dating back perhaps to the 9th century BCE, it is one of the oldest religions practiced today.

51 Antique car design feature : FINS

Tailfins started appearing on cars in the late forties, and became popular in the fifties. The first tailfins were introduced on the 1948 Cadillac by GM designer Harley Earl. Earl got his inspiration from WWII fighter aircraft.

52 Houston team : ASTROS

The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.

53 French bread? : EUROS

The French franc was made up of 100 centimes, before being replaced by the Euro.

55 Sun block? : VISOR

Nowadays, we tend to think of a visor as the front brim of a hat, or a shade for the eyes. The original “viser” was the front part of a helmet, back in the 14th century. The term comes from the Old French “vis” meaning “face”.

60 Pueblo dwelling material : ADOBE

The building material known as adobe has been around a long time, and has been used in dry climates all over the world. The original form of the word “adobe” dates back to Middle Egyptian times, about 2000 BC. The original spelling is “dj-b-t”, and translates as mud (sun-dried) brick.

A pueblo is a Native-American village found in the American Southwest. The buildings in a pueblo are usually made of stone and adobe mud.

61 Country rockers Little __ Town : BIG

Little Big Town is a country music group comprising four vocalists: Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet. They formed in 1998 in Nashville.

64 Smelter’s supply : ORE

Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and, a greenhouse gas).

65 Show appreciation at a poetry slam : SNAP

A poetry slam is a competition in which poets read their own work (usually), with winners being chosen by members of the audience. Apparently the first poetry slam took place in Chicago in 1984. Now there is a National Poetry Slam that takes place each year, with representatives from the US, Canada and France.

Down

1 Lanai wreath : LEI

“Lei” is a Hawaiian word meaning “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

Lanai is the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Lanai was first spotted by Europeans just a few days after Captain Cook was killed on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1779. In 1922, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company bought the whole island of Lanai and turned most of it into the world’s largest pineapple plantation. Since then, Lanai has been known as “The Pineapple Island”. Today, 98% of the island is owned by Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, and 2% is owned by the State of Hawaii.

2 First responders, briefly : EMS

Emergency medical services (EMS)

3 Bupkis : NIL

“Bupkis” (also “bubkes”) is a word that means “absolutely nothing, nothing of value”, and is of Yiddish origin.

6 “Darkwing Duck” character Dr. __ Dendron : RHODA

“Darkwing Duck” is an animated TV show made by Disney that first ran in the early 1990s. The title character is a superhero, and the alter ego of an ordinary duck called Drake Mallard. Darkwing Duck’s sidekick is Launchpad McQuack.

7 French peak : ALP

There are eight Alpine countries:

  • Austria
  • Slovenia
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Germany
  • Monaco
  • Italy

8 __ dragon : KOMODO

The large lizard called a Komodo dragon is so named because it is found on the island of Komodo (and others) in Indonesia. It can grow to a length of over 9 1/2 feet, so I guess that explains the dragon part of the name …

9 2000s first family : OBAMAS

By tradition, the Secret Service code names used for the US President and family all start with the same letter. For the Obama First Family, that letter is R:

  • Barack Obama: Renegade
  • Michelle Obama: Renaissance
  • Malia Obama: Radiance
  • Sasha Obama: Rosebud

10 Tablecloth fabric : LINEN

The textile known as linen is made from flax fibers. The name “linen” probably comes from “linum”, which is Latin for both “flax” and “textile made from flax”.

11 Top story? : ATTIC

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

13 NBC sketch show : SNL

NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) was named “NBC’s Saturday Night” during its first season. This was to differentiate it from the ABC show airing at that time, called “Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell”. Chevy Chase uttered the famous line “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night” in the very first SNL episode on October 11, 1975. That careful wording has persisted, even though the NBC show’s name was changed to “Saturday Night Live” after Cosell’s show went off the air in 1976.

21 A major, for one : CHORD

In music, a chord is a set of notes/pitches that are played and heard simultaneously.

24 Writer Jong : ERICA

Author Erica Jong’s most famous work is her first: “Fear of Flying”, a novel published in 1973. Over twenty years later, Jong wrote “Fear of Fifty: a midlife memoir”, published in 1994.

26 “__ Lake” : SWAN

“Swan Lake” is such a delightfully light and enjoyable ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. “Swan Lake” tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by a sorcerer. The ballet also features Odile, Odette’s “evil twin”. Odile is disguised to look like Odette with the goal of tricking the prince to fall in love with her. In the ballet, the roles of Odette and Odile are played by the same ballerina. Odette’s love interest is Prince Siegfried, the only character in the ballet to appear in all four acts.

28 Colorado’s Sleeping __ Mountain : UTE

Ute Mountain (also “Sleeping Ute Mountain”) is a peak in the southwest of Colorado. Paradoxically, the names “Ute Mountains” and “Sleeping Ute Mountains” can also apply to the whole mountain range. Viewed from one direction, the range is said to resemble a Ute chief lying on his back, arms crossed on his chest, hence the range’s name.

31 Sonar operator? : BAT

Echolocation, when used by animals, is known as biosonar. The best-known example of an animal using biosonar is probably the bat, although not all species of bat use sounds to locate objects.

32 Pie chart lines : RADII

A pie chart can also be referred to as a circle graph. It is often stated that Florence Nightingale invented the pie chart. While this is not in fact true, she is due credit for popularizing it, and for developing the pie chart variation known as the polar area diagram. The earliest known pie chart appears in a book published in 1801 by Scottish engineer William Playfair.

33 Ohio hometown of poet Rita Dove : AKRON

For much of the 1800s, the Ohio city of Akron was the fastest-growing city in the country, feeding off the industrial boom of that era. The city was founded in 1825 and its location, along the Ohio and Erie canal connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River, helped to fuel Akron’s growth. Akron sits at the highest point of the canal and the name “Akron” comes from the Greek word meaning “summit”. Indeed, Akron is the county seat of Summit County. The city earned the moniker “Rubber Capital of the World” for most of the 20th century, as it was home to four major tire companies: Goodrich, Goodyear, Firestone and General Tire.

Poet Rita Dove received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1987, and was the second African American to be so honored (the first being Gwendolyn Brooks).

38 Tub with jets : SPA

“Jacuzzi” is one of those brand names that has become so much associated with the product that it is often assumed to be a generic term. The Jacuzzi company was founded in 1915 by the seven(!) Jacuzzi brothers in Berkeley California. The brothers, who were Italian immigrants, pronounced their name “ja-coot-si”, as one might suspect when one realizes the name is of Italian origin. The company started off by making aircraft propellers and then small aircraft, but suspended aircraft production in 1925, when one of the brothers was killed in one of their planes. The family then started making hydraulic pumps, and in 1948 developed a submersible bathtub pump so that a son of one of the brothers could enjoy hydrotherapy for his rheumatoid arthritis. The “hydrotherapy product” took off in the fifties with some astute marketing towards “worn-out housewives” and the use of celebrity spokesman Jack Benny.

44 Fangirls over, perhaps : ADORES

Fanboys and fangirls are fans, but fans of a very specific subject in a particular field. So, someone might be a fan of home computing, but an Intel fanboy would have an enthusiasm for CPUs made by Intel.

47 Programming language with a coffee cup logo : JAVA

Java is a programming language that was developed by Sun Microsystems. Java was originally designed for interactive television, but it didn’t fit the needs at the time. Back then, the language was called Oak, named after an oak tree that stood outside the designer’s office. Later it was called Green, and finally named Java, which was simply picked out of a list of random words.

48 Lines that break the fourth wall : ASIDE

In the theater world, the fourth wall is an imaginary plane at the front of the stage through which the audience experiences the action. When a character acknowledges the existence of the audience, perhaps by addressing them, he or she is said to have broken the fourth wall.

56 “The White Lotus” network : HBO

“The White Lotus” is a comedy-drama TV series about the fictional White Lotus chain of resort hotels. The first season is set in Hawaii, and the second in Sicily. Each season covers a week’s stay at a White Lotus resort. The first season is set in Hawaii, and the second in Sicily.

59 Nile 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.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Period after Shrove Tuesday : LENT
5 Lyricist Gershwin : IRA
8 Inca __: Peruvian soft drink : KOLA
12 Mideast rulers : EMIRS
14 Blues’ org. : NHL
15 Passing words? : OBITS
17 *Bounce around the Caribbean, say : ISLAND-HOP
19 Tropical ray : MANTA
20 Beg : PLEAD
21 “It’s open!” : COME IN!
22 Brought into a discussion : CCED
25 *1983 film that won an Oscar for Best Original Song : FLASHDANCE
27 Adjust after a wrong turn : REROUTE
29 Courts : WOOS
30 “The Waste Land” poet : ELIOT
31 Place to make a round trip? : BAR
32 Lab animal : RAT
35 Greeting between members of an exclusive club, and what’s hiding in the answer to the starred clues? : SECRET HANDSHAKE and SECRET “HAND” SHAKE
40 Sked “Don’t know yet” : TBA
41 Pack it in : EAT
42 Petco Park player : PADRE
43 Apiece : EACH
45 Animal that can run using its flippers : SEA LION
47 *School of Hindu philosophy : JAIN DHARMA
51 Antique car design feature : FINS
52 Houston team : ASTROS
53 French bread? : EUROS
55 Sun block? : VISOR
56 *Was completely clueless : HAD NO IDEA
60 Pueblo dwelling material : ADOBE
61 Country rockers Little __ Town : BIG
62 Willing parties? : HEIRS
63 Just scrapes (by) : EKES
64 Smelter’s supply : ORE
65 Show appreciation at a poetry slam : SNAP

Down

1 Lanai wreath : LEI
2 First responders, briefly : EMS
3 Bupkis : NIL
4 Feature of a magician’s stage : TRAPDOOR
5 Gulp down quickly : INHALE
6 “Darkwing Duck” character Dr. __ Dendron : RHODA
7 French peak : ALP
8 __ dragon : KOMODO
9 2000s first family : OBAMAS
10 Tablecloth fabric : LINEN
11 Top story? : ATTIC
13 NBC sketch show : SNL
16 Well-reasoned : SANE
18 Skillful : DEFT
21 A major, for one : CHORD
22 Peak : CREST
23 Big star : CELEB
24 Writer Jong : ERICA
26 “__ Lake” : SWAN
28 Colorado’s Sleeping __ Mountain : UTE
31 Sonar operator? : BAT
32 Pie chart lines : RADII
33 Ohio hometown of poet Rita Dove : AKRON
34 Cold temperatures : TEENS
36 Support pros : TECHS
37 “omg so funny!” : HA HA!
38 Tub with jets : SPA
39 50-50, facetiously : HALFSIES
43 Wrap : ENROBE
44 Fangirls over, perhaps : ADORES
45 Greasy fingerprint, maybe : SMUDGE
46 Merit : EARN
47 Programming language with a coffee cup logo : JAVA
48 Lines that break the fourth wall : ASIDE
49 “No harm, no foul!” : IT’S OK!
50 Show again : RE-AIR
54 “I’m excited!” : OOH!
56 “The White Lotus” network : HBO
57 Annoying racket : DIN
58 Notable stretch of time : ERA
59 Nile cobra : ASP

25 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 1 Dec 22, Thursday”

  1. No errors.

    Interesting read on the history of the PIE chart. Florence used it to improve sanitary conditions. Things like washing your hands was a big deal back then.

    Would she be impressed with our obsession with it today , especially during the COVID surge?

  2. Puzzle was fairly easy, but the theme totally obscure. No errors
    but one lookup–the Indian philosophy. Didn’t solve it very fast–
    at least my coffee was still warm when I finished.

  3. Back (way way back) in the day when I was in junior high school and
    helping in the office we used a duplicating method which used a gelatin
    on which the papers were pressed (one at a time!) to make the printed
    images. I don’t know the name of this process….except “gelatin method.”
    Does anybody know?

    1. Google suggests the term “hectograph”. I think my grade-school teacher may have used a different word, but nothing comes to mind. In any case, I certainly remember the process … 🤨.

  4. 24:30 no errors…never heard of 47A and even with Bills explanation I still don’t understand the clue for 44D🤪
    Stay safe😀
    The Ravens better get their act together 🏈

  5. All in all, a nice puzzle. I learned a new term (47A) that I will probably forget after awhile.

    A couple of clue nits: 22A: to ‘cc’ someone is to inform, not invite; 62A: willing parties are testators, not inheritors (heirs). PV should have caught these.

  6. Have you ever gone HALFSIES on something? I’ve never done anything that sounds so cute that it could … never mind. Very easy puzzle for a Thursday, ho-hum theme, but a couple of pretty good clues, imho (31D and 21D).

    1. Way back in schooldays we kids used the word “halfsies” to ask if, or suggest that, we share something (cookie or other treat maybe) equally with another person. I wouldn’t be surprised if little kids still used it.

  7. A Thursday puzzle with no look-ups and no errors. Whee!

    Bill… I think you have a typo in your 6D reference. I think you have “dick” instead of “duck” which caused a chuckle. But if you actually meant a “private eye”, you’re ok.

  8. 7:50

    It feels like it’s been a while since we had a theme mixing it up with anagrams.

    Interesting discussion on times yesterday. Since I solve online, it’s easy to record the time. At first, I will confess that I was trying to push for faster times, especially on Mondays. Fortunately, I realized that it’s not a competition. I really like the feeling of the clues eliciting some of the weird things in my brain and some of the answers giving me more weird things for the future. The weirdest part is — especially if I’m feeling challenged — the actual time elapsed is often much less than the perceived time.

  9. 6 mins 46 sec, no errors. Was surprised to have had a shorter solve time than Bill on this one. I’ll take it, though, since it doesn’t happen often!.

  10. 9:42 – no errors, lookups, or false starts. Quicker than yesterday by 2 minutes.

    New: Inca KOLA, RHODA Dendron, UTE Mountain (although familiar with the Ute natives), “Rita Dove,” “fangirl” as a verb, “The White Lotus.”

    The theme was not too much of a secret.

    Re: yesterday’s comments on timing. No one has to track or list their time, and it’s not big deal if you don’t. For those who are interested, it’s just another topic to share – like new words, difficult sections, word meanings, or crossword construction in general.

  11. Mary S. may be remembering the mimeograph machine. A stencil was created by typing on a special type of paper. The stencil was then mounted on a drum. The drum was then rolled across a sheet of plain paper. The ink on the drum was forced through the stencil onto the plain paper, creating a printed page.

  12. Thanks guys! After I looked up “hectograph”….that was certainly what
    it was!! Don’t think I ever was told what it was….just the process for
    using it.

  13. Mostly easy Thursday for me; took 9:05 with no peeks or errors. Plenty of stuff that I didn’t know, but crosses or the intended answer always seemed at hand. Struggled a bit at the end with BAR and BAT, but ultimately figured it out and got the banner.

    Boy, I was reading up on Hinduism in Wikipedia the other week to help fill in some info from an article that I’d read. That is a very very complex religion; after an hour I was only a bit more the wiser.

  14. About 22 minutes, one sitting.
    Only (two) errors: AkORES / JAINkHARMA. Obviously, I didn’t dig the fangirls!

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