LA Times Crossword 26 Dec 22, Monday

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Constructed by: Lynn K. Watson & Will Nediger
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Crack the Case

Themed answers each start with CA- and finish with -SE, i.e. start and finish with a “CRACKED ‘CASE’”:

  • 57A Solve a mystery, and a hint to the answers to the starred clues : CRACK THE CASE
  • 20A *Pink flower native to eastern North America : CAROLINA ROSE
  • 35A *Like a game that involves evasive subterfuge : CAT AND MOUSE
  • 43A *Migratory honker : CANADA GOOSE

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

Bill’s time: 4m 41s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Warning sound from a rattlesnake : HISS!

The scales covering the tip of a rattlesnake’s tail are made of keratin, the same structural protein that makes up the outer layer of human skin, as well as our hair and nails. The rattlesnake shakes its tail vigorously to warn off potential predators, causing the hollow scales to vibrate against one another and resulting in that scary “rattle” sound. The rattler’s tail muscles “fire” an incredible fifty times a second to achieve that effect, demonstrating one of the fastest muscular movements in the whole animal kingdom.

5 Electrical pioneer Nikola : TESLA

Nikola Tesla was born in Serbia, but later moved to the US. Tesla’s work on mechanical and electrical engineering was crucial to the development of alternating current technology, the same technology that is used by equipment at the backbone of modern power generation and distribution systems.

17 Sign gas : 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.

18 Paper size longer than letter : LEGAL

Our paper sizes here in North America don’t conform with the standards in the rest of the world. ISO standard sizes used elsewhere were chosen so that the ratio of width to length is usually one to the square root of two. This mathematical relationship means that when you cut a piece of paper in two each half preserves the aspect ratio of the original, which can be useful in making reduced or enlarged copies of documents. Our standard size of “letter” (ltr., 8.5 x 11 inches) was determined in 1980 by the Reagan administration to be the official paper size for the US government. Prior to this, the “legal” size (8.5 x 14 inches) had been the standard, since 1921.

19 Cab : TAXI

We call cabs “taxis”, a word derived from “taximeter cabs” that were introduced in London in 1907. A taximeter was an automated meter designed to record distance traveled and fare to be charged. The term “taximeter” evolved from “taxameter”, with “taxa” being Latin for “tax, charge”.

20 *Pink flower native to eastern North America : CAROLINA ROSE

The Carolina rose is a perennial shrub that also goes by the name “prairie rose”. Native to eastern North America, it can now be found over most of the North American continent.

24 Sound system : STEREO

Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers that are often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

32 U.K. lawmakers : MPS

The UK Parliament is divided into two houses, with the upper house known as the House of Lords and the lower house as the House of Commons. The members of the House of Commons (MPs) are elected, but most new members of the House of Lords are appointed. Historically, a large proportion of the membership of the upper house were hereditary peers, but recent legislative changes are reducing the numbers who can sit in the House of Lords by virtue of birthright.

41 Chutney fruit : MANGO

Chutney is a typically southern Asian condiment made from spices with vegetables or fruit. The term “chutney” comes from the Sanskrit “caṭnī” meaning “to lick”.

42 Chief Valhalla god : ODIN

In Norse mythology, Valhalla (“hall of the slain”) is a gigantic hall in the world of Asgard. Asgard and Valhalla are ruled by the god Odin, the chief Norse god.

43 *Migratory honker : CANADA GOOSE

The Canada goose has quite a distinctive coloring, with a black head and neck broken up by a white “chinstrap”. They thrive in parks that are frequented by humans, and are so successful that they are considered pests by some.

47 Reptile in the Chinese zodiac : SNAKE

The Chinese Zodiac is a scheme that relates each year to the attributes of a particular animal in a 12-year cycle. So, the Chinese Zodiac has one sign for each of twelve years, whereas the Western Zodiac has one sign for each of the twelve months.

The 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar uses the following animals in order:

  • Rat
  • Ox
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Goat
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

61 “Veep” actress Chlumsky : ANNA

Anna Chlumsky launched her career as a child actress playing the title role in the films “My Girl” (1991) and “My Girl 2” (1994). After taking time out to attend college, Chlumsky resumed her run of success with a regular role in the political satire show “Veep”.

“Veep” is a political satire sitcom on HBO that is a remake of the British show “The Thick of It” (Warning: strong language!). “Veep” is set in the office of fictional US Vice President Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

65 Tehran’s land : IRAN

Tehran is the capital of Iran and is the largest city in the Middle East, with a population of about 8.5 million. Iran has been around a really long time and Tehran is actually the country’s 31st national capital.

68 Guitarist Lofgren : NILS

Musician Nils Lofgren was a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band for over 25 years. Lofgren provided vocals and played guitar, and was hired as the replacement for Steven Van Zandt.

71 Checkers or chess : GAME

“Checkers” is yet another word that I had to learn moving across the Atlantic. In Ireland, the game is called “draughts”.

It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India. It evolved from a 6th-century game called “chaturanga”, a Sanskrit word meaning “four divisions”. These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:

  • Infantry (now “pawns”)
  • Cavalry (now “knights”)
  • Elephants (now “bishops”)
  • Chariots (now “rooks”)

Down

4 Mexican state bordering Arizona : SONORA

Sonora is the state in Mexico that lies just south of Arizona and New Mexico. It is the second-largest state in the country, after Chihuahua.

5 Anklebones : TALI

The collection of seven bones in the foot just below the ankle are known collectively as the tarsus. One of those bones is the talus (plural “tali”), more commonly called “ankle bone”. The talus is the lower part of the ankle joint and articulates with the lower ends of the tibia and fibula in the lower leg.

8 Perjurers : LIARS

An act of perjury is the willful giving of false testimony under oath. The term “perjury” ultimately comes from the Latin “per” meaning “away” and “iurare” meaning “to swear”.

10 ABBA hit with the line “I was defeated, you won the war” : WATERLOO

“Waterloo” is the song that effectively launched the astounding career of Swedish band ABBA. They performed “Waterloo” in 1974 as the Swedish entry in the annual Eurovision Song Contest, and walked away with the competition (I remember it well!). The contest has been running since 1956, and “Waterloo” was chosen (in 2005) as the best song in the competition’s history.

11 Craft beer letters : IPA

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

12 “Sour grapes” critter : FOX

Our expression “sour grapes” is used to describe a negative attitude adopted by somebody towards something just because that person can’t have the thing himself or herself. The phrase alludes to one of Aesop’s fables, the story of “The Fox and the Grapes”. In the fable, a squirrel could climb up to grapes high in a tree that a fox was unsuccessful in getting to. On seeing this, the fox said, “It’s okay, the grapes were sour anyway”.

13 Prefix with -logue : EPI-

Our word “epilog” (also “epilogue”) applies to an addition at the end of a play or other literary work. The term ultimately comes from the Greek “epi-” signifying “in addition”, and “logos” meaning “speech”.

25 Piano piece : ETUDE

An étude is a short instrumental composition that is usually quite hard to play and is intended to help the performer master a particular technique. “Étude” is the French word for “study”. Études are commonly performed on the piano.

26 Welcome sight in the desert : OASIS

An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake. We often use the term “oasis” more generally to describe a haven, a place of rest.

28 With 66-Across, fairy-tale character whose bed was too soft : MAMA … 66A See 28-Down : … BEAR

The story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” was first recorded in 1837 in England, although the narrative was around before it was actually written down. The original fairy tale was rather gruesome, but successive versions became more family-oriented. The character that eventually became Goldilocks was originally an elderly woman, and the three “nameless” bears became Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.

29 Male deer : STAG

A male deer is usually called a buck, and a female is a doe. However, the male red deer is usually referred to as a stag. The males of even larger species of deer are often called bulls, and the females called cows. In older English, male deer of over 5 years were called harts, and females of over 3 years were called hinds. The young of small species are known as fawns, and of larger species are called calves. All very confusing …

31 Actress Russo : RENE

The talented actress Rene Russo is a native of Burbank, California. Russo went to high school (with actor/director Ron Howard), but dropped out in tenth grade. At seventeen, she was given the opportunity to train as a model and within a very short time appeared on the cover of “Vogue”. As her modeling jobs slowed down in her early thirties, Russo made a career change and studied theater and acting.

32 Apple computers : MACS

Macintosh (also “Mac”, since 1998) is a line of computers from Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced in 1984, and I remember someone showing me one at work in those early days of personal computing. There was a piece of white plastic connected to the main computer by a cord, and I was amazed when the guy showed me that it controlled where the cursor was on the screen. My colleague told me that this lump of plastic was called “a mouse” …

34 Underwater detector : SONAR

The British developed the first underwater detection system that used sound waves. Research was driven by defense demands during WWI, leading to production of working units in 1922. This new sound detection system was described as using “supersonics”, but for the purpose of secrecy the term was dropped in favor of an acronym. The work was done under the auspices of the Royal Navy’s Anti-Submarine Division, so ASD was combined with the “IC” from “superson-ic-s” to create the name ASDIC. The navy even went as far as renaming the quartz material at the heart of the technology “ASDivite”. By the time WWII came along, the Americans were producing their own systems and coined the term SONAR, playing off the related application, RADAR. And so, the name ASDIC was deep-sixed …

37 Private aid gps. : NGOS

Non-governmental organization (NGO)

45 Fashion monthly : ELLE

“Elle” magazine was founded in 1945 in France and today has the highest circulation of any fashion magazine in the world. “Elle” is the French word for “she”. “Elle” is published monthly worldwide, although you can pick up a weekly edition if you live in France.

54 Tennis star Sharapova : MARIA

Maria Sharapova is a professional tennis player from the town of Nyagan in the Russian Federation. She is a former World No. 1.

55 Sacred song : PSALM

The Greek word “psalmoi” originally meant “songs sung to a harp”, and gave us the word “psalms”. In the Jewish and Western Christian traditions, the Book of Psalms contains 150 individual psalms, divided into five sections.

60 Bowlers and berets : HATS

I think that a bowler hat is usually called a derby here in the US. The bowler was first produced in 1849 in London by hatmakers Thomas and William Bowler, hence the name. The alternative name of “derby” comes from the tradition of wearing bowler hats at the Derby horse race (a major race held annually in England).

61 Start of the alphabet song : ABC ..

“The Alphabet Song” was copyrighted in 1835 in the US. The tune that goes with the words is the French folk song “Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman”, used by Mozart for a set of piano variations. The same tune is used for the nursery rhyme “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

62 “The Matrix” hero : NEO

Neo is the character played by Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix” series of films.

The 1999 movie sensation “The Matrix” was meant to be set in a nondescript urban environment. It was actually shot in Australia, as one of the co-producers of the film was the Australian company, Village Roadshow Pictures. You can pick up all sorts of clues about the location when watching the film, including a view of Sydney Harbour Bridge in a background shot. Also, traffic drives along on the left and there are signs for the “lift” instead of an “elevator”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Warning sound from a rattlesnake : HISS!
5 Electrical pioneer Nikola : TESLA
10 Certain partner : WIFE
14 “Hello… hello… hello…,” e.g. : ECHO
15 To no __: without success : AVAIL
16 Each, informally : A POP
17 Sign gas : NEON
18 Paper size longer than letter : LEGAL
19 Cab : TAXI
20 *Pink flower native to eastern North America : CAROLINA ROSE
23 Leftover : EXTRA
24 Sound system : STEREO
27 Eyes a bull’s-eye, say : AIMS
30 Chapel centerpiece : ALTAR
32 U.K. lawmakers : MPS
35 *Like a game that involves evasive subterfuge : CAT AND MOUSE
39 Oodles : A LOT
41 Chutney fruit : MANGO
42 Chief Valhalla god : ODIN
43 *Migratory honker : CANADA GOOSE
46 WNW’s opposite : ESE
47 Reptile in the Chinese zodiac : SNAKE
48 __-esteem : SELF
50 Pays for everyone : TREATS
53 Reading lights : LAMPS
57 Solve a mystery, and a hint to the answers to the starred clues : CRACK THE CASE
61 “Veep” actress Chlumsky : ANNA
64 Latest craze : MANIA
65 Tehran’s land : IRAN
66 See 28-Down : … BEAR
67 Campaign button word : ELECT
68 Guitarist Lofgren : NILS
69 Deal (with) : COPE
70 Searches for : SEEKS
71 Checkers or chess : GAME

Down

1 From this point forward : HENCE
2 Climbing tool for frozen surfaces : ICE AX
3 Low on funds : SHORT
4 Mexican state bordering Arizona : SONORA
5 Anklebones : TALI
6 Level : EVEN
7 Very long story : SAGA
8 Perjurers : LIARS
9 Parcel out : ALLOT
10 ABBA hit with the line “I was defeated, you won the war” : WATERLOO
11 Craft beer letters : IPA
12 “Sour grapes” critter : FOX
13 Prefix with -logue : EPI-
21 Not of the clergy : LAIC
22 Tailor’s line : SEAM
25 Piano piece : ETUDE
26 Welcome sight in the desert : OASIS
28 With 66-Across, fairy-tale character whose bed was too soft : MAMA …
29 Male deer : STAG
31 Actress Russo : RENE
32 Apple computers : MACS
33 Garden growth : PLANT
34 Underwater detector : SONAR
36 “It’s __-win situation” : A NO
37 Private aid gps. : NGOS
38 Prescribed amount : DOSE
40 Friendly send-off : TAKE CARE
44 Cherished : DEAR
45 Fashion monthly : ELLE
49 Not back-to-back with : FACING
51 Makes less unruly : TAMES
52 Bathroom accessory : SCALE
54 Tennis star Sharapova : MARIA
55 Sacred song : PSALM
56 Smell, for one : SENSE
58 Joint between the foot and the hip : KNEE
59 Clock sound : TICK
60 Bowlers and berets : HATS
61 Start of the alphabet song : ABC …
62 “The Matrix” hero : NEO
63 Quick snooze : NAP

14 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 26 Dec 22, Monday”

  1. @glen – thanks for the FARRAR technique. Would that be Margaret?

    Today’s puzzle, no errors. About 8 minutes.

    1. @Anon Mike …

      Yes, that would be Margaret Farrar and, per my response to Glenn from yesterday, that puzzle did not violate her rules, since it does have “all-over interlock”. That said, I think some editors might have given it low marks for coming close to violating a rule.

      (Nevertheless, IMHO, it was a completely acceptable puzzle. But maybe I’m easy to please … 😜.)

  2. “Migratory honker” – CANADAGOOSE

    Unfortunately they just do not leave New Jersey, they stay year round ’cause the livin’ is easy … and leave a mess where ever they go. They are very aggressive, pecking at small kids. They were actually a protected species for a quite a while.

    We now call them the State Bird of New Jersey.

  3. 7:10 – no errors or lookups. False start: TOCK>TICK. Nothing new to me.

    A good theme.

    Yes, rattlesnakes are known for their rattles, but it seems they also can hiss. A better clue might have been to just say “… from a snake.”

  4. Nice and easy Monday for me; took 6:30 with no peeks or errors. Had to wait for several crosses to make sure it was ANNA instead of ANNE. Also googled “Do rattlesnakes hiss” after the fact, just to check…yep they do. And, no cats that I ever come in contact with hiss at me 🙂

    We have the same problems with Canada Geese as Anonymous. There even allowed to cull some of them, up north in Foster City, where they are a real problem.

  5. Warning sound from a rattlesnake: I put SSSS. You can imagine the problems that caused. I suppose any puzzle is easy as long as you put the right answers in. Sigh.

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