LA Times Crossword 12 Nov 18, Monday

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Constructed by: Matt McKinley
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Inside Story

Themed answers include circled letters INSIDE that spell out a type of STORY:

  • 54A. Facts known to a select few … and a hint to each set of circled letters : INSIDE STORY
  • 17A. Forgetful moment : MENTAL LAPSE (giving “tall story”)
  • 26A. One arguing for the unpopular side : DEVIL’S ADVOCATE (giving “sad story”)
  • 41A. Education division governed by a board : SCHOOL DISTRICT (giving “old story”)

Bill’s time: 6m 28s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Tempo similar to lento : LARGO

Largo is an instruction to play a piece of music with a very slow tempo. “Largo” is an Italian word meaning “broadly”.

A lento passage is a piece of music that has a slow tempo. “Lento” is Italian for “slow”.

6. Quacked insurance name : AFLAC

In 1999, Aflac (American Family Life Assurance Company) was huge in the world of insurance but it wasn’t a household name, so a New York advertising agency was given the task of making the Aflac brand more memorable. One of the agency’s art directors, while walking around Central Park one lunchtime, heard a duck quacking and in his mind linked it with “Aflac”, and that duck has been “Aflacking” ever since …

11. Film watcher’s channel : TMC

The Movie Channel is owned by Showtime, which in turn is subsidiary of CBS. The channel’s name is often abbreviated to “TMC”, although this is informal usage.

15. “Fighting” Notre Dame team : IRISH

The athletic teams of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana are known as the Fighting Irish. There are several debated etymologies for the moniker “Fighting Irish”, with the most generally accepted being that it was applied by the press in the 1920s, reflecting the team’s’ fighting spirit and grit, determination and tenacity. I guess “grit, determination and tenacity” are characteristics often associated with the Irish.

17. Forgetful moment : MENTAL LAPSE (giving “tall story”)

In centuries past, “tall talk” was important and grand discourse, and the opposite of “small talk”. Somehow, this use of the adjective “tall” came to be used in the phrases “tall tale” and “tall story”, which both describe an account that is untrue and not to be believed.

21. Great enthusiasm : GUSTO

“Gusto” is an Italian word meaning “taste”. We use it in English in the phrase “with gusto” meaning “with great enjoyment”.

22. Revise, as text : EMEND

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

24. Indian lentil stew : DAL

I love dal dishes, which are prepared from various peas or beans (often lentils) that have been stripped of their outer skins and split. Dal is an important part of Indian cuisines. I suppose in Indian terms, split pea soup (another of my favorites) would be called a dal.

25. Sporty sunroofs : T-TOPS

A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the vehicle above the driver.

26. One arguing for the unpopular side : DEVIL’S ADVOCATE (giving “sad story”)

In the Roman Catholic tradition, an “Advocatus Diaboli” (Latin for “Devil’s Advocate”) was a person tasked with arguing against the canonization of a candidate. We now use the phrase “devil’s advocate” in common speech to refer to someone who is arguing a position opposite to the norm or perhaps opposite to his or her own real belief.

36. “Cha-__!”: register sound : CHING

What we usually call a cash register here in North America, we mostly call a “till” in Ireland and the UK. I haven’t heard the word “till” used much here in that sense.

38. Summer hrs. in Oregon : PDT

Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)

39. William __, early bathysphere user : BEEBE

William Beebe was an American explorer who was active in the first half of the 20th century. Beebe was very interested deep-sea exploration and this interest led to the development of the bathysphere by Otis Barton in 1928. Beebe accompanied Barton on the first manned descent in a bathysphere, down to 803 ft. A few years later, in 1934, the pair descended to 3,028 ft. setting a record that stood for 15 years.

A bathysphere is a submersible used in exploring the deep sea. The bathysphere is spherical in shape, so as to better resist the high pressure of deep waters. The term “bathysphere” comes from the Greek “bathus” and “sphaira” meaning “deep” and “sphere”. The vessel is simply lowered into the water on a strong cable.

46. Aleut relative : INUIT

The Inuit peoples live in the Arctic, in parts of the US, Russia, Greenland and Canada.

The Aleuts live on the Aleutian Islands of the North Pacific, and on the Commander Islands at the western end of the same island chain. The Aleutian Islands are part of the United States, and the Commander Islands are in Russia.

47. Louvre Pyramid architect : IM PEI

I. M. Pei (full name: Ieoh Ming Pei) is an exceptional American architect who was born in China. Of Pei’s many wonderful works, my favorite is the renovation of the Louvre in Paris, and especially the Glass Pyramid in the museum’s courtyard.

50. Govt. agent : FED

A fed is an officer of a US federal agency, although the term “fed” usually applies to an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

53. Windy City rail initials : CTA

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

It seems that the derivation of Chicago’s nickname as the “Windy City” isn’t as obvious as I would have thought. There are two viable theories. Firstly, that the weather can be breezy with wind blowing in off Lake Michigan. The effect of the wind is exaggerated by the grid-layout adopted by city planners after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The second theory is that “windy” means “being full of bluster”. Sportswriters from the rival city of Cincinnati were fond of calling Chicago supporters “windy” in the 1860s and 1870s, meaning that they were full of hot air in their claims that the Chicago White Stockings were superior to the Cincinnati Red Stockings.

58. Wafer named for its flavor : NILLA

As one might expect, “Nilla” is a shortened form of “vanilla”. However, you won’t find any vanilla in Nilla brand cookies or wafers. They have always been flavored with vanillin, which is synthetic vanilla. Is nothing sacred …?

60. Dr. of rap : DRE

“Dr. Dre” is the stage name of rapper Andre Romelle Young. Dr. Dre is known for his own singing career as well as for producing records and starting the careers of others such Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent.

61. Best Buy “squad” members : GEEKS

Best Buy is a retailer specializing in the supply of consumer electronics. Best Buy services include the famous “Geek Squad”, a band of technical experts that will help solve your computer and other consumer electronic problems.

62. Faked, in hockey : DEKED

A deke, also known as a dangle, is a technique used to get past an opponent in ice hockey. “Deke” is a colloquial shortening of the word “decoy”.

Down

1. Dalai __ : LAMA

The Dalai Lama is a religious leader in the Gelug branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The current Dalai Lama is the 14th to hold the office. He has indicated that the next Dalai Lama might be found outside of Tibet for the first time, and may even be female.

2. NYC’s Madison and Lexington : AVES

Madison Avenue became the center of advertising in the US in the twenties, and serves as the backdrop to the great TV drama “Mad Men”. There aren’t many advertising agencies left on Madison Avenue these days though, as most have moved to other parts of New York City. The street takes its name from Madison Square, which is bounded on one side by Madison Avenue. The square in turn takes its name from James Madison, the fourth President of the United States.

Lexington Avenue in New York City is famous from many things, but my favorite fact is that it was the site of the first ever arrest for speeding in the city. In 1899 a police officer on a bicycle caught up with a cab driver who was tearing down Lexington Avenue, at the breakneck speed of 12mph …

8. Slimming surgery, for short : LIPO

Liposuction (lipo) dates back to the 1920s when it was developed by a surgeon in France. However, the procedure quickly lost favor when a French model developed gangrene after surgery. As a result, it wasn’t until the mid-seventies that modern liposuction took off, after being popularized by two Italian-American surgeons in Rome.

10. Frito-Lay corn snacks : CHEETOS

Cheetos snacks were developed by the same guy who created Fritos, hence the similarity in name. On the market since 1948, up until the turn of the century the name was written as “Chee-tos”. Oh, and Cheetos contain pork enzymes, so vegetarians beware!

11. Blessed with ESP : TELEPATHIC

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

12. Primary thoroughfare in many towns : MAIN STREET

The most common street name in the US is “Second Street”. “First Street” comes in only at number three, and this is because many cities and towns forego the use of “First” and instead go with “Main” or something more historical in nature. The spooky “Elm Street” appears on the list at number fifteen.

13. Believability, for short : CRED

“Street cred” is slang for “street credibility”, of which I have none …

23. Soft shoe : MOC

“Moc” is short for “moccasin”, a type of shoe. The moccasin is a traditional form of footwear worn by members of many Native American tribes.

24. TiVo products : DVRS

Digital Video Recorder (DVR)

29. Crook’s cover : ALIBI

“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed … I have an ‘alibi’”.

30. Claire of “Homeland” : DANES

Claire Danes is an actress from New York City who played the title role in the HBO movie “Temple Grandin”. More recently, she has been starring as Carrie Mathison in the excellent Showtime drama series “Homeland”.

“Homeland” is a psychological drama on Showtime about a CIA officer who is convinced that a certain US Marine is a threat to the security of the United States. The show is based on a series from Israeli television called “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War”). I saw the first season of this show and highly recommend it …

36. Phone in a purse : CELL

What we mostly know as a “cell phone” here in North America is more usually referred to as a “mobile phone” in Britain and Ireland. My favorite term for the device is used in Germany, where it is called a “Handy”.

37. Legal document : WRIT

A writ is an order issued by some formal body (these days, usually a court) with the order being in “written” form. Warrants and subpoenas are examples of writs.

49. Smooching in a crowded park and such, briefly : PDAS

Public display of affection (PDA)

51. Lake that’s a homophone of 59-Across : ERIE

Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake-effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.

55. Nietzsche’s “never” : NIE

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher. Not my cup of tea …

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Tempo similar to lento : LARGO
6. Quacked insurance name : AFLAC
11. Film watcher’s channel : TMC
14. Plane, to Pierre : AVION
15. “Fighting” Notre Dame team : IRISH
16. Listening organ : EAR
17. Forgetful moment : MENTAL LAPSE (giving “tall story”)
19. Falsehood : LIE
20. Request : ASK
21. Great enthusiasm : GUSTO
22. Revise, as text : EMEND
24. Indian lentil stew : DAL
25. Sporty sunroofs : T-TOPS
26. One arguing for the unpopular side : DEVIL’S ADVOCATE (giving “sad story”)
32. Absorb the lesson : LEARN
33. Applauds : CLAPS
34. Effort : TRY
35. Rowing tools : OARS
36. “Cha-__!”: register sound : CHING
37. Delighted shout from the roller coaster : WHEE!
38. Summer hrs. in Oregon : PDT
39. William __, early bathysphere user : BEEBE
40. Exclaimed : CRIED
41. Education division governed by a board : SCHOOL DISTRICT (giving “old story”)
44. Peer : EQUAL
45. Humble dwelling : HUT
46. Aleut relative : INUIT
47. Louvre Pyramid architect : IM PEI
50. Govt. agent : FED
53. Windy City rail initials : CTA
54. Facts known to a select few … and a hint to each set of circled letters : INSIDE STORY
57. Funhouse reaction : EEK!
58. Wafer named for its flavor : NILLA
59. Like a funhouse : EERIE
60. Dr. of rap : DRE
61. Best Buy “squad” members : GEEKS
62. Faked, in hockey : DEKED

Down

1. Dalai __ : LAMA
2. NYC’s Madison and Lexington : AVES
3. Hockey enclosure : RINK
4. Received : GOT
5. Rescheduled after being canceled, as a meeting : ON AGAIN
6. Afflicts : AILS
7. House with brothers : FRAT
8. Slimming surgery, for short : LIPO
9. Braying beast : ASS
10. Frito-Lay corn snacks : CHEETOS
11. Blessed with ESP : TELEPATHIC
12. Primary thoroughfare in many towns : MAIN STREET
13. Believability, for short : CRED
18. Break in the action : LULL
23. Soft shoe : MOC
24. TiVo products : DVRS
25. Freq. sitcom rating : TV-PG
26. Right smack in the middle : DEAD CENTER
27. Threat from a fault : EARTHQUAKE
28. NFL list of games, e.g. : SCHED
29. Crook’s cover : ALIBI
30. Claire of “Homeland” : DANES
31. Observed closely : EYED
32. Cuts (off) : LOPS
36. Phone in a purse : CELL
37. Legal document : WRIT
39. Enjoying the ocean : BOATING
40. Enjoyed the ocean : CRUISED
42. Yves’ yes : OUI
43. Biblical pronoun : THEE
46. Cooled with cubes : ICED
47. Ocean map dot : ISLE
48. Cereal go-with : MILK
49. Smooching in a crowded park and such, briefly : PDAS
50. Road divide : FORK
51. Lake that’s a homophone of 59-Across : ERIE
52. Lightened, as hair : DYED
55. Nietzsche’s “never” : NIE
56. Casual shirt : TEE

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20 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Nov 18, Monday”

  1. Also had aMEND for EMEND, which means I had CHaETO for CHEETO. Speaking of Natticks, I had another at DVRS crosses DAL. No idea. Had MEmory before MENTAL. Never heard of PDA.

    And this is only Monday!

    Speaking of bathyspheres, Jacques Piccard claimed to have gone 7 miles down into the Marianas Trench in 1960. I don’t believe it. This is my only conspiracy theory. For one thing, he saw the wrong stuff, things that are seen halfway there.

  2. In a Monday puzzle relying on no fewer than 20 PPP answers (capitalized places, products, and other proper nouns), maybe it was inevitable, but crossing two of them (BEEBE/DANES — in the heart of the puzzle, yet) is bush league construction.

  3. LAT: 6:54, no errors. Newsday: 5:07, no errors. WSJ: 7:25, no errors; no surprises on Friday’s meta (for which there were probably a record number of correct entries). New Yorker: 18:35, no errors; learned a couple of new words from it.

    BEQ: about an hour and twenty minutes, five one-square errors. For 2D, I had “UNERRANT” instead of “UNERRING”, which caused me to guess “TOOMLE HOME HUB” instead of “GOOGLE HOME HUB” (something unknown to me) for 34A. Also, for 6A, I guessed “OSCAR RAW” instead of “GSTAR RAW” (again, something unknown to me). Crossing entries were of no help because they involved a lot of other things unknown to me.

    And, once more, I will say that BEQ’s puzzles could profit from a bit of careful editing. The clue for 22A is “… you’re point being?”, the answer for which was “AND”. Oof! Did he really use an egregious misspelling? Is he trying to be funny? Also, the clue for 46A is “Ayup”, the answer for which is “UHUH”. In some parts of the US, “ayup” means something like “yeah” or “uh-huh”, but “uh-uh” means just the opposite. Are we to interpret his answer as the non-standard spelling “u-huh”? The sources I have make that hard to justify. BEQ is a takented setter, but, IMO, he displays a certain cheeky attitude that leads him to take liberties that other setters do not. (And here endeth my rant! … 😜)

    1. It appears the pretension goes beyond just that mouthful of a name, eh? I agree, BEQ plays too fast and loose… which makes him perfect as one of Shortz’ little imps.

    2. Just to be clear: My only substantive contention was that BEQ’s puzzles benefit from editing. The few puzzles of his that I have complained about came from his own site; I do them because, in general, I enjoy them. They often refer to things outside my ken, but that’s really more my problem than his. My comment about his “cheeky” attitude was in reaction to the language that has occasionally appeared in some of his puzzles (as in, he drops an occasional f-bomb and the like, which I view as unnecessarily confrontational). He makes his living as a constructor of crossword puzzles and, I assume, cranks out a bunch of them every week, so it’s not all that surprising that an occasional error sneaks in. (And, as for Will Shortz, I will only say that, if I noticed a couple of errors in BEQ’s puzzle, Will most certainly would have … and they’d never have survived his scrutiny.)

  4. @Anonymous- bush league construction? You think you can do better? It never ceases to amaze me how some people find fault just to spew negativity. It was a great Monday puzzle, Mr. McKinley; thank you very much for giving us joy today.

  5. LAT: 9:12, no errors. Agreed with Anonymous on this one. Not a Monday puzzle either, better on Wednesday or Thursday. WSJ: 8:09, no errors. Got the meta. Newsday: 6:11, no errors. New Yorker: DNF, 40:42, 4 errors. Lot of stuff in a couple of corners I would have never guessed in a million years. BEQ to come…

  6. We certainly didn’t know all of the words, but the dictionary helped me a lot
    and I luckily saw a couple of the long ones. Had to change AMC to TMC
    and MEMORY to MENTAL. Just scratched and clawed until I finished it off.
    No great shakes on time, but no errors or omissions. Feels good all over.
    I saw more disgruntled comments on this one; I found it hard for a Monday
    and was glad to solve it. Kudos to the fast times by Bill et al. Nolanski just
    keeps rolling along.

  7. I had a tough time with this Monday puzzle …. but then I thought, its just me …. and my doddering age. Somewhat glad, (schadenfreude ?) that others felt challenged too.

    Dal, for me, an ardent cook, is just split de-husked beans. Dehusking and splitting the beans makes them much more easier to cook …. 10 minutes in a pressure cooker, as opposed to 17-19 minutes. And three times longer without the pressure. Dal also means the thick soup made from those pulses.

    Dal, (pronounced ‘daal’ – ) … in its myriad of recipes … is the basic curry or the ‘wet stew stuff’ that goes as an accompaniment on boiled rice or with flatbreads. Although split dehusked lentils ( red masoor dal ) is a fairly common dish, ….. yellow split peas and split pigeon peas ( toor dal) and split mung beans ( mung dal) are by far the most popular, by custom. Also split chickpeas, (also garbanzo beans ) and hulled black peas- chana dal are very popular in north and eastern india.
    You could say, for most indians, the various dals are the basic source of protein for most vegetarian diets.
    Another very important dal ( or dhal -) is Urad dal, or split black bean, vigna mungo which is very heavily consumed, and prized in the subcontinent, both in India and Pakistan. Although, I am a hearty meat eater, we do consume the various dals, 3 days a week. It is the ‘Irish potato’ for us.!

    Have a nice day, folks.

  8. Hello folks!!🙃

    No errors. Didn’t really have any specific problem areas but I agree that it was a bit trickier than your average Monday. 🤔

    I worked at an Indian restaurant many years ago, and DAL was very popular with the college crowd: cheap, filling, and tasty. Vidwan, at the time I certainly didn’t know there were so many varieties!!

    The place where I worked was called McGinty’s Irish Pub, in Santa Monica. We served fabulous UK beers and great Indian food. So from a rather young age I learned to love Indian cuisine and Bass Ale — on tap, of course.🍺

    Be well ~~😎

  9. Nilla wafers were originally named Vanilla Wafers. I don’t know if they were flavored wth real vanilla or not. But someone called them out.

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