LA Times Crossword 27 Dec 22, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Margaret Seikel
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Boot Up

Themed answers each comprise two words and are in the down-direction. The UPPER word is a type of BOOT:

  • 62A Start, as a computer, and what each answer to a starred clue has? : BOOT UP
  • 6D *Small child, facetiously : ANKLE-BITER (giving “ankle boot”)
  • 10D *Endangered cat that turns white in winter : SNOW LEOPARD (giving “snow boot”)
  • 16D *Salad of corn and black-eyed peas that originated in Texas : COWBOY CAVIAR (giving “cowboy boot”)
  • 26D *Sleeping option that lacks a box spring : PLATFORM BED (giving “platform boot”)
  • 32D *Cinnamon roll with currants : CHELSEA BUN (giving “chelsea boot”)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 36s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Enclosure for changing into a swimsuit : CABANA

Our word “cabana” comes from the Spanish “cabaña”, the word for a small hut or a cabin. We often use the term to describe a tent-like structure beside a pool.

7 One of the original Seven Sisters schools : VASSAR

Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York is now a coeducational school, after over a century of operating as a women’s college since its founding in 1861. The school was officially declared co-ed in 1969, although it had accepted a handful of male students on the GI Bill after WWII.

The Seven Sisters are a group of (traditionally women’s) colleges in the northeast of the country that were founded to parallel the all-male (as they were then) Ivy League colleges. The seven are:

  • Mount Holyoke
  • Vassar
  • Wellesley
  • Smith
  • Radcliffe
  • Bryn Mawr
  • Barnard

14 French daily paper : LE MONDE

“Le Monde” is a newspaper published each evening in France. It is one of the two most famous French papers, along with “Le Figaro”.

15 Mostly shaved hairstyle : MOHAWK

Here is another example of a difference in terminology on either side of the Atlantic. What we call the Mohawk hairstyle in the US is known as a Mohican in Britain and Ireland. The Mohawk hairstyle is named after the Mohawk nation, who wore their hair in the same fashion. The Mohawk style has been around for a long time elsewhere in the world. There was a well-preserved male body found in a bog near Dublin in Ireland in 2003. The body is about 2,000 years old, and has a Mohawk haircut.

16 Commutes with co-workers : CARPOOLS

Our verb “to commute”, meaning “to go back and forth to work”, ultimately derives from the Latin “commutare”, meaning “to often change”. Back in the late 1800s, a “commutation ticket” was a season pass, so named because it allowed one to “change” one kind of payment into another. Quite interesting …

20 Foolish sort : TWIT

“Twit” is a word not used very often here in America. It’s a slang term that used to be quite common in England where it was used for “someone foolish and idiotic”.

21 Like some GameStop merchandise : PRE-OWNED

GameStop is the largest retailer of video games in the world. The company was founded as Babbage’s in 1984, and changed its name to GameStop in 1999. Famously, in January 2021, GameStop stock was subjected to a short squeeze that caused its share price to skyrocket to about 30 times its value at the beginning of the month. The short squeeze was triggered by users on a Reddit Internet forum piling onto the stock in the belief that it was significantly undervalued.

23 Units of wt. : LBS

The unit of mass that we know today as a pound is descended from the old Roman unit of weight known as a “libra”. That “libra” connection is why we abbreviate “pound” to “lb”. The name “pound” comes from the Latin “pondo” meaning “weight”. Our term “ounce” (abbreviated to “oz.”) comes from the Latin “uncia”, which was 1/12 of a Roman “libra”.

28 Issa of HBO’s “Insecure” : RAE

Issa Rae is a Stanford University graduate who created a YouTube web series called “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl”. Rae also plays the title role in the series, a young lady named “J”. “Awkward Black Girl” was adapted into an HBO comedy-drama called “Insecure”, in which Issa Rae stars.

30 __ monster : GILA

A Gila monster is a venomous lizard found in the southwestern US and northern Mexico, and is the only venomous lizard native to America. Gila monsters move along at a snail’s pace so aren’t normally a danger to humans. The name “Gila” is a reference to the Gila River Basin in the American Southwest, where the Gila monster was prevalent.

31 Ad abbr. for “seeking” : ISO

In search of (ISO)

32 Uses crayons : COLORS

We use the word “crayon” for a stick of colored wax used for drawing. The term was imported in the 16th century from French, in which language it means “pencil”.

35 Travel discount provider : AAA

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

36 Courtroom fig. : ATTY

Attorney (atty.)

37 Many a Woodstock attendee : HIPPIE

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.

The 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair was held on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm located 43 miles southwest of the town of Woodstock, New York. 400,000 young people attended, and saw 32 bands and singers perform over three days.

44 The Hawks, on scoreboards : ATL

The NBA’s Atlanta Hawks started out as the Buffalo Bisons in 1946, although after only a few months the team was moved to Moline, Illinois as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. The Blackhawks were one of the 17 original teams playing at the founding of the National Basketball Association. There was another move in 1951 and a renaming to the Milwaukee Hawks, and yet again in 1955 when the team became the St. Louis Hawks. The latest move was to Atlanta, in 1968.

49 Time off, briefly : R’N’R

Rest and relaxation/recuperation/recreation (R&R, R‘n’R)

54 Rhythmic foot : IAMB

An iamb is a metrical foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The lines in William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” use five sequential iambs, e.g. “Shall I / compare / thee to / a sum- / -mer’s day?” With that sequence of five iambs, the poem’s structure is described as iambic pentameter.

56 Hebrew prophet : ISAIAH

The Book of Isaiah is part of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. Isaiah is not mentioned in the Qur’an, but many Muslim scholars consider Isaiah a prophet. Isaiah is widely regarded as the most eloquent of the prophets, earning him the moniker “Shakespeare of the Prophets”.

62 Start, as a computer, and what each answer to a starred clue has? : BOOT UP

The verb “to boot”, as used in the world of computers, comes from the phrase “pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps”. The idea is that the software that has to be loaded before a computer can do anything useful is called a “bootstrap load”.

64 Retired, as a professor : EMERITA

“Emeritus” (female form “emerita”, and plural “emeriti”) is a term in the title of some retired professionals, particularly those from academia. Originally an emeritus was a veteran soldier who had served his time. The term comes from the Latin verb “emerere” meaning to complete one’s service.

66 2022 documentary about actor and activist Poitier : SIDNEY

Hollywood actor Sidney Poitier was born in Miami, but grew up in the Bahamas. Poitiers breakthrough role in movies came with 1955’s “Blackboard Jungle”, in which he played an incorrigible high school student. I find it interesting that one of Poitier’s most respected performances found him playing a teacher of a rough set of students in 1967’s “To Sir, with Love”. Off the screen, Poitier entered the diplomatic service for the Bahamas, serving as the nation’s non-resident ambassador to Japan from 1997 until 2007.

67 Weed with stinging hairs : NETTLE

Most nettle species have stinging hairs that secrete formic acid. This formic acid is the same chemical that is found in the venom injected with a bee or ant sting. The Latin word for ant is “formica”, which gives its name to the acid.

Down

2 GI sought by MPs : AWOL

MPs (military police officers) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

3 __-chic: 37-Across-influenced style : BOHO

Boho-chic is a style of fashion that grew out of the bohemian and hippie looks.

4 Alias letters : AKA

Also known as (aka)

8 Concert device : AMP

An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.

10 *Endangered cat that turns white in winter : SNOW LEOPARD (giving “snow boot”)

Snow leopards are creatures that tend to keep to themselves, living in high ground in the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. Given that they are so “secretive”, estimates of the size of the snow leopard population are pretty rough, with perhaps 3,500 to 7,000 in the wild.

11 Improvise on stage : AD-LIB

“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage, the phrase is usually shortened to “ad-lib”. On the stage, the concept of an ad lib is very familiar.

16 *Salad of corn and black-eyed peas that originated in Texas : COWBOY CAVIAR (giving “cowboy boot”)

Texas caviar (also “cowboy caviar”) is a salad comprising black-eyed peas in a vinaigrette dressing. The recipe was created in 1940, and first served at New Year’s Eve in the Houston Country Club.

21 Anti-vaping spot, for short : PSA

Public service announcement (PSA)

An electronic cigarette (also called an “e-cigarette”) is a battery-powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled in a process called “vaping”, delivering nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke. But, that may not be so …

22 Sci-fi robot : DROID

“Droid” is short for “android” and is used to describe a robot that resembles a human. The Latin word “androides” was used in English in the 18th century to mean “like a man”. Science fiction writers introduced us to “android” in the early 1950s.

25 Baby grand, e.g. : PIANO

A grand piano is one with the frame supported horizontally on three legs. An upright piano has the frame and strings running vertically. Grand pianos come in many sizes. For example, the length of a concert grand is about 9 feet, a parlor grand is about 7 feet, and a baby grand is about 5 feet.

29 Swiss mountain : ALP

There are eight Alpine countries:

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

Switzerland is a landlocked country in Central Europe that comprises four distinct linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. It is a very developed nation, and has the highest nominal wealth per adult in the world. Having visited, I can attest to the steep prices encountered by tourists …

32 *Cinnamon roll with currants : CHELSEA BUN (giving “chelsea boot”)

Chelsea buns look like cinnamon rolls with currants incorporated. They were first produced in the 1700s in a bakery called the Bun House in the Chelsea district in London, hence the name.

36 Licoricelike herb : ANISE

Liquorice (also “licorice”) and aniseed have similar flavors, but they come from unrelated plants. The liquorice plant is a legume like a bean, and the sweet flavor is an extract from the roots. The flavor mainly comes from an ether compound called anethole, the same substance that gives the distinctive flavor to anise. The seedpods of the anise plant are what we know as “aniseed”. The anise seeds themselves are usually ground to release the flavor.

39 Acorn tree : OAK

These days, we don’t usually consider acorns (the fruit of the oak tree) as a foodstuff. But in days past, many cultures around the world have used acorns as food. Usually, bitter tannins that occur in acorns need to be leached out in water. Acorn meal can be a substitute for grain flour, which can then be used to make bread. Acorns have also been used as a substitute for coffee, especially when coffee was rationed. Notably, acorn coffee was brewed up by Confederates during the American Civil War, and by Germans during World War II.

45 Pick up the tab : PAY

When we run a “tab” at a bar, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

49 Uber offerings : RIDES

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.

50 Model Campbell : NAOMI

Naomi Campbell is a supermodel from England. There’s a lot of interest in Campbell’s life off the runway, as she is known to have an explosive temper and has been charged with assault more than once. Her dating life is much-covered in the tabloids as well, and she has been romantically linked in the past with Mike Tyson and Robert De Niro.

55 Swiss capital : BERN

Bern (sometimes “Berne”, especially in French) is the capital city of Switzerland. The official language of the city is German, but the language most spoken in Bern is a dialect known as Bernese German.

59 Cathedral recess : APSE

An apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Enclosure for changing into a swimsuit : CABANA
7 One of the original Seven Sisters schools : VASSAR
13 Roused from sleep : AWOKEN
14 French daily paper : LE MONDE
15 Mostly shaved hairstyle : MOHAWK
16 Commutes with co-workers : CARPOOLS
17 __-mo replay : SLO
18 Arm joints : ELBOWS
20 Foolish sort : TWIT
21 Like some GameStop merchandise : PRE-OWNED
23 Units of wt. : LBS
24 Home screen array : APPS
27 __ and weaves : BOBS
28 Issa of HBO’s “Insecure” : RAE
30 __ monster : GILA
31 Ad abbr. for “seeking” : ISO
32 Uses crayons : COLORS
35 Travel discount provider : AAA
36 Courtroom fig. : ATTY
37 Many a Woodstock attendee : HIPPIE
38 Chant : INTONE
40 Prompted on stage : CUED
42 Get on in years : AGE
43 “That’s cheating!” : NO FAIR!
44 The Hawks, on scoreboards : ATL
45 __ and proper : PRIM
46 Greenlights : OKS
47 Numbered rds. in a city : AVES
48 Stirs in : ADDS
49 Time off, briefly : R’N’R
51 Completeness : ENTIRETY
54 Rhythmic foot : IAMB
56 Hebrew prophet : ISAIAH
57 Relaxing resort : SPA
60 “I expect more from you” : DO BETTER
62 Start, as a computer, and what each answer to a starred clue has? : BOOT UP
64 Retired, as a professor : EMERITA
65 Orders for regulars : USUALS
66 2022 documentary about actor and activist Poitier : SIDNEY
67 Weed with stinging hairs : NETTLE

Down

1 Pic takers : CAMS
2 GI sought by MPs : AWOL
3 __-chic: 37-Across-influenced style : BOHO
4 Alias letters : AKA
5 Next gen : NEWER
6 *Small child, facetiously : ANKLE-BITER (giving “ankle boot”)
7 Song segment : VERSE
8 Concert device : AMP
9 Chimney grime : SOOT
10 *Endangered cat that turns white in winter : SNOW LEOPARD (giving “snow boot”)
11 Improvise on stage : AD-LIB
12 Takes five : RESTS
14 Grassy yards : LAWNS
16 *Salad of corn and black-eyed peas that originated in Texas : COWBOY CAVIAR (giving “cowboy boot”)
19 Helpful push upward : BOOST
21 Anti-vaping spot, for short : PSA
22 Sci-fi robot : DROID
24 “Can you repeat that?” : AGAIN?
25 Baby grand, e.g. : PIANO
26 *Sleeping option that lacks a box spring : PLATFORM BED (giving “platform boot”)
29 Swiss mountain : ALP
32 *Cinnamon roll with currants : CHELSEA BUN (giving “chelsea boot”)
33 Inflexible : RIGID
34 Looks like : SEEMS
36 Licoricelike herb : ANISE
39 Acorn tree : OAK
41 Wombs : UTERI
45 Pick up the tab : PAY
47 Completely confused : AT SEA
49 Uber offerings : RIDES
50 Model Campbell : NAOMI
52 __-gritty : NITTY
53 That and that : THOSE
55 Swiss capital : BERN
57 Sports fan’s datum : STAT
58 Injure, as a muscle : PULL
59 Cathedral recess : APSE
61 Even score : TIE
63 Not at home : OUT

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 27 Dec 22, Tuesday”

  1. Finished with one error; had “awaken” instead of “awoken” and since I
    didn’t know “boho”, though I had it all right. Phooey!

  2. No errors. Looks like 11 minutes.

    Never heard of CHELSEA BUNS or BOOTS.

    Never heard of BOHO either. When I looked it up, I found BOHO Boots!

  3. Finished fairly quickly with no errors or lookups. Made a good guess on VASSAR ‘cuz my granddaughter is going there. Question: how can the same constructor use such simple clues as “opposite of ENE” (not today but often enough) or “___ mo replay”, among many others, and far-out ones such as is so often the case?

  4. Had a Natick at CHELSEA crosses ATL. Never heard of CHELSEA buns or boots, and don’t have any interest in sports.
    Also, never heard of BOHO, PSA or ISO.

  5. A little tricky for a Tuesday; took 11:13 with no peeks or errors. Had to wait for a few crosses and change chi to ATL, since I went with hockey instead of basketball. Dithered on BOHO and CABANA for a while and only vaguely remembered COWBOY CAVIAR. Always have trouble spelling ISAIAH but voiced my way through.

    Checked out some BOHO fashion pictures…I kinda like it, but never really liked the smell of Patchouli oil.

    Interesting to read that the venom of a Gila monster is about the same as a rattlesnake – yikes!

  6. 9:16 – no errors, lookups, or false starts.

    New: ISO ad abbr, PLATFORMBED, CHELSEABUN (and boot style). Icve seen what must be platform boots, and they seem wholly impractical.

    Five themed answers in the vertical direction is pretty good!

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