LA Times Crossword 21 Dec 22, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Susan Gelfand
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Do It, Team!

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted with reference to professional sports teams:

  • 17A Lend San Jose NHL players? : LOAN SHARKS
  • 23A Ring up Los Angeles NFL players? : PHONE CHARGERS
  • 47A Improve Los Angeles MLB players? : PERFECT ANGELS
  • 57A Videotape Miami NBA players? : RECORD HEAT

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

Bill’s time: 6m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Peony part : PETAL

The flowering plant called a peony is named for Paean, the mythical physician to the Greek gods.

6 Tools that can be musical instruments : SAWS

A handsaw can be used as a musical instrument by holding the handle between the knees, bending the blade and then using a bow along the blade’s non-serrated edge. The pitch of the sound produced is varied by changing the curve of the blade.

14 Venue for big concerts : ARENA

Our term “arena” comes from the Latin “harena”, a place of combat. Originally “harena” was used to describe sand or a sandy place. Those Ancient Roman places of combat were covered with sand to soak up blood.

15 Discontinued Apple gadget : IPOD

The iPod is Apple’s discontinued signature line of portable media players. The iPod first hit the market in 2001 with a hard drive-based device, now known as the iPod Classic. Later models all used flash memory, allowing a smaller form factor. The smallest of the flash-based models is the iPod Shuffle, which was introduced in 2005.

16 Cut covered by a SpongeBob bandage, e.g. : OWIE

SpongeBob SquarePants is a cartoon character in a Nickelodeon television series. Spongebob first appeared in 1999, and he “lives in a pineapple under the sea”. The character was created by marine biologist, cartoonist and animator Stephen Hillenburg.

17 Lend San Jose NHL players? : LOAN SHARKS

The San Jose Sharks hockey team play their home games at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, a venue that we locals call “the Shark Tank”.

19 Bridge pose discipline : YOGA

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word that translates literally as “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

21 Late tourney game : SEMI

“Tourney” is another word for “tournament”. “Tourney” comes from the Old French word “tornei” meaning “contest of armed men”, from “tornoier” meaning “to joust, jilt”.

22 Gingerbread person? : BAKER

The first documented use of gingerbread shaped in the form of human figures was in the court of Queen Elizabeth I. She used to have figures made to represent her important guests.

23 Ring up Los Angeles NFL players? : PHONE CHARGERS

The Chargers were an AFL charter team, and so the franchise was founded in 1959. The Chargers played one season in Los Angeles, before moving to San Diego in 1961, and then returning to Los Angeles in 2017.

27 Soothing succulents : ALOES

Succulent plants are those with thickened stems and/or leaves that have evolved to retain water. As such, succulents are often found where the climate is particularly dry. The term “succulent” comes from the Latin “sucus” meaning “juice, sap”.

29 Foray : SORTIE

A sortie is an attack by an armed unit, and usually a breakout by forces that are besieged, The term “sortie” comes directly from French and means “a going out”. “Sortie” is also used for a mission by a combat aircraft.

30 Like much fall weather : COOL

Here in the US, we tend to refer to the season following summer as “fall”. This name is short for “fall of the leaf”, referring to the loss of leaves by deciduous trees. The term “autumn” is a more common name used in Britain and Ireland instead of “fall”. However, back before the mid-1600s the term “fall” was in common use on the other side of the pond.

35 Workweek starter, for some : MONDAY

The day of the week called Monday is named for the Moon. “Monday” comes from the Old English “monenday” meaning “day of the moon”.

37 Minnesota mining range : MESABI

The Mesabi Range has the largest deposit of iron ore in the country, and is located in Minnesota. Robert Allen Zimmerman was raised in the area (whom we know him better as “Bob Dylan”) and he wrote a song called “North Country Blues” that tells of the decline of the mining industry in the Mesabi Range.

39 First responder’s group, for short : EMS

Emergency medical services (EMS)

44 “You can say that again!” : AMEN!

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

47 Improve Los Angeles MLB players? : PERFECT ANGELS

The Anaheim Angels baseball team is today more correctly called the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (LAA). The “Angels” name dates back to 1961 when the team was founded in the “City of Angels”, Los Angeles. When the franchise moved to Anaheim in 1965 they were known as the California Angels, then the Anaheim Angels, and most recently the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels are also known as “the Halos”.

52 Chance to roll the dice, say : TURN

The numbers on dice are arranged so that the opposite faces add up to seven. Given this arrangement, the numbers 1, 2 and 3 all meet at a common vertex. There are two ways of arranging the 1, 2 and 3 around the common vertex, a so-called right-handed die (clockwise 1-2-3) or a left-handed die (counterclockwise 1-2-3). Traditionally, dice used in Western cultures are right-handed, whereas Chinese dice are left-handed. Quite interesting …

53 __ Moines, Iowa : DES

The city of Des Moines is the capital of Iowa, and takes its name from the Des Moines River. The river in turn takes its name from the French “Riviere des Moines” meaning “River of the Monks”. It looks like there isn’t any “monkish” connection to the city’s name per se. “Des Moines” was just the name given by French traders who corrupted “Moingona”, the name of a group of Illinois Native Americans who lived by the river. However, others contend that French Trappist monks, who lived a full 200 miles from the river, somehow influenced the name.

56 Ancient France : GAUL

The Gauls were a Celtic race, with Gaul covering what is now known as France and Belgium. We use the term “Gallic” today, when we refer to something pertaining to France or the French.

57 Videotape Miami NBA players? : RECORD HEAT

The Miami Heat basketball team debuted in the NBA in the 1988-89 season. The franchise name was chosen in a competitive survey, with “Miami Heat” beating out “Miami Vice”.

61 Jacob’s twin in the Book of Genesis : ESAU

Esau was the grandson of Abraham and the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When Esau was born to Isaac and Rebekah, the event was described with “Now the first came forth, red all over like a hairy garment”. Esau is portrayed later in life as being very different from his brother Jacob, as a hunter and someone who loves the outdoor life.

64 Gen-__: post-boomers : XERS

The term “Generation X” originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By one definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

Down

2 Amorous archer : EROS

As always seems to be the case with Greek gods, Eros and Aphrodite have overlapping spheres of influence. Aphrodite was the goddess of love between a man and a woman, and Eros was the god who stirred the passions of the male. The Roman equivalent of Aphrodite was Venus, and the equivalent of Eros was Cupid.

4 “The Dutch House” novelist Patchett : ANN

Ann Patchett is an author who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Patchett’s most famous work is probably her novel “Bel Canto”, published in 2001. In 2012, “Time” included her in the magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world.

5 Rodeo ropes : LASSOS

Our English word “lasso” comes from the Spanish “lazo”, and ultimately from the Latin “laqueum” meaning “noose, snare”.

“Rodeo” is a Spanish word that is usually translated into English as “round up”.

6 Blue-eyed cat :

The exact origins of the Siamese cat aren’t very clear, but it is believed to be from Southeast Asia. The Siamese takes its name from the sacred temple cats of Thailand (a nation once called “Siam”).

7 Yellow-orange fruit : APRICOT

Although the apricot originated in Central Asia and China, the fruit is commonly associated with Armenia, where it has been cultivated for centuries. For that reason, the most common cultivar has the Latin name “Prunus armeniaca”.

8 Stir-fry pan : WOK

“Wok” is a Cantonese word, and is the name for the frying pan now used in many Asian cuisines.

9 ’60s “New Left” gp. : SDS

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was an activist group in the sixties. The SDS organized the largest student strike in the history of the United States on 26 April 1968, with about a million students staying away from class that day. The “Students for a Democratic Society” name was revived in 2006 with the foundation of a new US-based student organization with left wing beliefs. Today’s SDS was founded by a pair of high school students from Greenwich Village, New York.

12 Detroit ballplayer : TIGER

The origins of the Detroit Tigers baseball team’s name seems a little unclear. One story is that it was taken from the Detroit Light Guard military unit who were known as “The Tigers”. The Light Guard fought with distinction during the Civil War and in the Spanish-American War. Sure enough, when the Detroit baseball team went into the Majors they were formally given permission to use “The Tigers” name by the Detroit Light Guard.

13 Mail-order pioneer : SEARS

Richard Sears was a station agent on the railroad. In the late 1800s, he bought up a shipment of unwanted watches that was left at his depot and sold the watches to other agents up and down the line. He was so successful that he ordered more watches and then came up with the idea of using a catalog to promote more sales. Sears hired his first employee in 1887, a watch repairman named Alvah Curtis Roebuck who was brought on to repair watches that were returned. Sear and Roebuck co-founded Sears Roebuck & co. in 1895. By the mid 1900s, Sears was the biggest retailer in the whole country.

22 Corned beef solution : BRINE

Corned beef is beef that has been cured with salt. “Corn” is a term describing a grain of salt, giving the dish its name. Corned beef is also known as “salt beef”, and “bully beef” if stored in cans (from the French “bouilli” meaning “boiled”).

27 Tippy top : ACME

The acme is the highest point. The term “acme” comes from the Greek word “akme” that has the same meaning.

28 Weaver’s machine : LOOM

There are many types of loom used to weave cloth, but they all hold parallel threads in tension in one direction, while allowing the interweaving of threads in the perpendicular direction. The threads held under tension are the warp threads, and the “woven” threads are the “weft” threads.

32 “Rebel Without a Cause” star : JAMES DEAN

In his short life, James Dean starred in three great movies: “East of Eden”, “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Giant”, for which he received two posthumous Best Actor Oscar nominations (the only person to do so). On a fateful day in September 1955, Dean set off in Porsche for a race in Salinas, California. While driving to the race he was given a speeding ticket. Two hours later Dean was involved in a near head-on collision and was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in Paso Robles, California.

“Rebel Without a Cause” is a 1955 drama movie starring actor James Dean, who died just before the film’s release. The title comes from a 1944 book by psychiatrist Robert M. Lindner “Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath”, although the content of the book has no bearing on the movie’s storyline. The three lead actors in the movie all died tragically, and while relatively young:

  • James Dean (24), in a car crash in 1955
  • Sal Mineo (37), in a stabbing in 1976
  • Natalie Wood (43), in a drowning in 1981

33 App-based car service : UBER

Uber is a ridesharing service that was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco. The service is somewhat controversial and has been described as an illegal taxicab operation. Central to Uber’s service is the company’s mobile app, which can use the client’s GPS location to help find the nearest available ride. Uber’s main competitor is Lyft.

34 Altoids containers : TINS

Altoids breath mints have been around since 1780, when they were introduced in Britain. The famous tin in which Altoids are sold is often reused for other purposes. The most famous use is as a container for a mini-survival kit.

41 Misty Copeland’s dance troupe: Abbr. : ABT

The American Ballet Theatre (ABT) was founded in New York City in 1939. ABT was officially recognized by the US Congress as “America’s National Ballet Company” in 2006.

In 2015, ballet dancer Misty Copeland became the American Ballet Theatre’s first African-American principal dancer. Copeland started studying ballet at the age of 13, and just a year later won a national ballet contest.

55 Hip or tip ender : -STER

Back in the early 40s, hipsters were just folks who were “hip”.

The term “hip” is a slang term that was used in the 1930s and 1940s to mean “cool, informed about the latest ideas and styles”. By the end of the 1940s, “hipsters” were “hip” people, jazz aficionados, and people who adopted the perceived lifestyle of jazz musicians of the day. In the 1960s, the term “hippie” developed from “hipster”, to describe a member of the youth counterculture that emerged in the US.

57 Dinosaur voiced by Wallace Shawn in the “Toy Story” films : REX

In the excellent Pixar film “Toy Story”, Rex is a tyrannosaurus, and a pretty clumsy one at that. He is voiced by actor Wallace Shawn, whose name is perhaps less familiar than his face. Shawn played the neighbor on “The Cosby Show” as well as many, many other supporting characters on TV and the big screen.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Peony part : PETAL
6 Tools that can be musical instruments : SAWS
10 Huge tubs : VATS
14 Venue for big concerts : ARENA
15 Discontinued Apple gadget : IPOD
16 Cut covered by a SpongeBob bandage, e.g. : OWIE
17 Lend San Jose NHL players? : LOAN SHARKS
19 Bridge pose discipline : YOGA
20 Twisty curve : ESS
21 Late tourney game : SEMI
22 Gingerbread person? : BAKER
23 Ring up Los Angeles NFL players? : PHONE CHARGERS
27 Soothing succulents : ALOES
29 Foray : SORTIE
30 Like much fall weather : COOL
31 Admits as much : LETS ON
32 Stick (out) : JUT
35 Workweek starter, for some : MONDAY
37 Minnesota mining range : MESABI
39 First responder’s group, for short : EMS
40 Write-ups that still need some work : DRAFTS
44 “You can say that again!” : AMEN!
45 Safe to put away? : EDIBLE
46 Elaborate cake layers : TIERS
47 Improve Los Angeles MLB players? : PERFECT ANGELS
51 Steer clear of : AVOID
52 Chance to roll the dice, say : TURN
53 __ Moines, Iowa : DES
56 Ancient France : GAUL
57 Videotape Miami NBA players? : RECORD HEAT
60 Slight advantage : EDGE
61 Jacob’s twin in the Book of Genesis : ESAU
62 Give body to, as hair : TEASE
63 Closing document : DEED
64 Gen-__: post-boomers : XERS
65 63-Across holder : OWNER

Down

1 Lacking color : PALE
2 Amorous archer : EROS
3 Recipe measures : TEASPOONS
4 “The Dutch House” novelist Patchett : ANN
5 Rodeo ropes : LASSOS
6 Blue-eyed cat : SIAMESE
7 Yellow-orange fruit : APRICOT
8 Stir-fry pan : WOK
9 ’60s “New Left” gp. : SDS
10 Long journey : VOYAGE
11 Stopped snoozing : AWOKE
12 Detroit ballplayer : TIGER
13 Mail-order pioneer : SEARS
18 Barnyard layer : HEN
22 Corned beef solution : BRINE
24 Gripped : HELD
25 Timecard abbr. : HRS
26 Molecule makeup : ATOMS
27 Tippy top : ACME
28 Weaver’s machine : LOOM
31 Line of a song : LYRIC
32 “Rebel Without a Cause” star : JAMES DEAN
33 App-based car service : UBER
34 Altoids containers : TINS
36 Chimed in with : ADDED
38 Move effortlessly (through) : SAIL
41 Misty Copeland’s dance troupe: Abbr. : ABT
42 Open freight train unit : FLATCAR
43 Flimsy : TENUOUS
45 Submitted tax returns online : E-FILED
46 Take care of : TEND TO
47 Flipped (through) : PAGED
48 Steer clear of : EVADE
49 Color for cheeks : ROUGE
50 Watchdog’s warning : GRR!
54 Simplicity : EASE
55 Hip or tip ender : -STER
57 Dinosaur voiced by Wallace Shawn in the “Toy Story” films : REX
58 Opposite of WNW : ESE
59 Chop down : HEW

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 21 Dec 22, Wednesday”

  1. I finally went under the 6:00 mark today coming in at 5:48. Now I can go back to simply enjoying the puzzles and not trying to beat an arbitrary goal!

    1. @Mary S. – very nice, good to see.

      I really enjoy your posts, they are honest and without airs.

      Please keep posting!

  2. I didn’t mean to “Stir the pot” last week. I also like to check on answers that I’m clueless about- I just prefer to do it when I’m done with the puzzle… I would say that personal preference wins out.

  3. 7:36 – no errors, lookups, or false starts. Seemed to be pretty easy for not being a Monday or Tuesday puzzle, but I’m not complaining.

    New: MESABI, ANN Patchett (in spite of her apparent notoriety).

    Pretty good theme.

  4. Right on, Alan. I didn’t keep track of my time on this one–never have, never will–but this has to be the quickest I’ve ever done a puzzle. Nice puzzle and theme but, and I hate to say it, maybe a little too easy.

  5. My son FaceTimed me in the middle of this one so I don’t know how long it took but I think it was about 15 minutes with no errors
    Compare this to NYT#1116…just a bit of a difference.
    Stay safe😀

  6. Nice, mostly easy Wednesday; took 11:11 with no peeks or errors. I didn’t get the banner and had to circle back and find MESiBI/JiMES… and then YaGA/AWaKE which did the trick. Cute theme.

  7. 16:04
    Not bad for this old man. Enjoyable, no errors, no lookups.
    I like ’em like that!
    Happy holidays, one and all.

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