LA Times Crossword 16 Nov 18, Friday

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Constructed by: James Sajdak
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Upended

Themed answers are common phrases with UP added to the END:

  • 38A. Flipped … and what four puzzle answers are? : UPENDED
  • 17A. Novice hiker’s predicament? : TRAIL MIX-UP (from “trail mix”)
  • 23A. Relief pitcher? : DIAMOND BACKUP (from “diamondback”)
  • 50A. Showoff with gags? : HOT DOG STAND-UP (from “hot dog stand”)
  • 62A. Tenement for one on the lam? : PERP WALK-UP (from “perp walk”)

Bill’s time: 7m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6. Gobi container : ASIA

The large desert in Asia called the Gobi lies in northern China and southern Mongolia. The Gobi desert is growing at an alarming rate, particularly towards the south. This “desertification” is caused by increased human activity. The Chinese government is trying to halt the desert’s progress by planting great swaths of new forest, the so called “Green Wall of China”. The name “Gobi” is Mongolian for “waterless place, semidesert”.

10. Pollutants targeted in Great Lakes cleanups : PCBS

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned with good reason. Apart from their link to cancer and other disorders in humans and animals, they are extremely persistent in the environment once contamination has occurred. Among other things, PCBs were used as coolants and insulating fluids in electrical gear such as transformers and large capacitors, as well as a transfer agent in carbonless copy paper.

15. Brits’ foul-weather gear : MACS

When I was growing up in Ireland, we had to take our “macs” to school in case it rained (and it usually did!). “Mac” is short for “Macintosh”, a waterproof raincoat made of rubberized fabric. The coat was named after its inventor, Scotsman Charles Macintosh.

16. Devastated sea : ARAL

The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

19. Taboo : NO-NO

The word “taboo” was introduced into English by Captain Cook in his book “A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean”. Cook described “tabu” (likely imitative of a Tongan word that he had heard) as something that was both consecrated and forbidden.

20. DUI-fighting org. : SADD

Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) was founded in Massachusetts in 1981. SADD’s aim is to prevent road traffic accidents by urging students to avoid potentially destructive decisions (such as driving under the influence of alcohol).

In some states, there is no longer a legal difference between a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). Other states retain that difference, so that by definition a DUI is a lesser offence than a DWI.

21. Card game shout : UNO!

In my youth I remember being taught a great card game by a German acquaintance of mine, a game called Mau Mau. Years later I discovered that UNO is basically the same game, but played with a purpose-printed deck instead of the regular deck of playing cards that’s used for Mau Mau. I hear that Mau Mau is derived from the game called Crazy Eights.

22. Dairy prefix : LACTO-

The prefix “lacto-” is used in words from the fields of chemistry and biochemistry like “lactose”, “lactic” and “lactase”. The term comes from the Latin “lac” meaning “milk”.

23. Relief pitcher? : DIAMOND BACKUP (from “diamondback”)

The Arizona Diamondbacks joined Major League Baseball’s National League in 1998. By winning the World Series in 2001, the Diamondbacks became the fastest expansion team to do so in Major League history.

27. Spot for a springbok : VELDT

Also known as “veld”,”veldt” is the name given to large rural spaces in southern Africa. We might use the term “boondocks” for the same thing. The word “veldt” comes from the German for “field”.

Springboks are brown and white gazelles native to southwestern Africa. The name “springbok” comes from the Afrikaans for “jump goat”.

30. “Cats” source : ELIOT

“Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” is a 1939 collection of poems by T. S. Eliot (TSE). The collection of whimsical poetry was a favorite of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber when he was a child. Webber used Eliot’s poems as inspiration for this megahit musical “Cats”.

33. Snarky retort : AS IF!

“Snark” is a term that was coined by Lewis Carroll in his fabulous 1876 nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”. Somehow, the term “snarky” came to mean “irritable, short-tempered” in the early 1900s, and from there “snark” became “sarcastic rhetoric” at the beginning of the 21st century.

37. Cheshire can : TIN

Cheshire is an “unofficial” county in the northwest of England, unofficial in that it was abolished as an administrative area in 2009. One of Cheshire’s claims to fame is the production of Cheshire cheese.

41. Where Charlemagne reigned: Abbr. : HRE

Charlemagne was the first king to use the title “Holy Roman Emperor”, even though the Holy Roman Empire (HRE) was not actually founded until over a century later when Otto I was crowned Emperor. Otto was the first of an unbroken line of Holy Roman Emperors who ruled Central Europe from 962 until 1806.

47. Boone, to his buds : DAN’L

Daniel Boone was a pioneer and folk hero. For frontiersman Boone, the frontier was what we now call the state of Kentucky. He led the building of the Wilderness Road through the famous Cumberland Gap in the Appalachians, a route subsequently taken by hundreds of thousands of migrants into Kentucky. Boone fought in the Revolutionary War with distinction, and after the war returned to Kentucky and got himself into land speculation. He became mired in debt, forcing him to emigrate to Missouri to settle down on land that was at that time owned by the French. It was there that he spent the last decades of his life.

50. Showoff with gags? : HOTDOG STAND-UP (from “hot dog stand”)

Although “hotdogging” is a term now used across all sports, it was primarily associated with skiing and described the performance of showy and risky stunts on the slopes.

56. Swashbuckling Flynn : ERROL

Actor Errol Flynn was born 1909 in Tasmania, Australia where he was raised. In his twenties, Flynn lived in the UK where he pursued his acting career. Around the same time he starred in an Australian film “In the Wake of the Bounty” and then appeared in a British film “Murder at Monte Carlo”. It was in the latter film that he was noticed by Warner Brothers who brought him to America. Flynn’s non-American heritage shone through even while he was living the American dream in California. He regularly played cricket, along with his friend David Niven, in the Hollywood Cricket Club.

A swashbuckler is a flashy swordsman. The term “swashbuckler” probably derives somehow from “swash” meaning “fall of a blow”, and “buckler” meaning “small round shield”.

58. “¿Cómo __?” : ESTA

“Cómo estas?” is Spanish for “how are you?”

62. Tenement for one on the lam? : PERP WALK-UP (from “perp walk”)

Back in the 1300s, a tenement was a holding of immovable property, e.g. land or a building. The important word here is “holding”, as the term ultimately comes from the Latin “tenere” meaning “to hold”. By the mid-1850s, a tenement house was a building, one usually in a poor neighborhood, that had been broken into apartments.

When a crime suspect in the custody of the police is walked through a public place, often to and from a courthouse, it is known as a “perp walk”.

65. Director Gus Van __ : SANT

Gus Van Sant is a movie director (among other things) who has been nominated twice for an Oscar, for “Good Will Hunting” in 1997 and for “Milk” in 2008.

67. “A Fish Called Wanda” Oscar winner : KLINE

The actor Kevin Kline stars in many of my favorite films, like “French Kiss” (in which he had a very impressive French accent) and “A Fish Called Wanda.” Kline also appeared in the romantic comedy “In & Out”, another favorite. “In & Out” is perhaps best remembered for its dramatic “interaction” between Kevin Kline and Tom Selleck … if you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil it for you by saying any more!

The 1988 comedy “A Fish Called Wanda” is a favorite of mine. The film was co-written by and stars John Cleese, and has an exceptional cast including Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline and Cleese’s friend from “Monty Python”, Michael Palin. Kevin Kline won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance. The “fish” in the film is the con artist Wanda, played by Curtis.

68. Petro-Canada competitor : ESSO

The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

Petro-Canada started out life as a government-owned corporation in 1976. Petro-Canada is now a brand name of Suncor Energy.

69. Erelong : ANON

“Anon” originally meant “at once”, but the term’s meaning evolved into “soon” apparently just because the word was misused over time.

70. Worked with osier : CANED

Most willows (trees and shrubs of the genus Salix) are called just that, “willows”. Some of the broad-leaved shrub varieties are called “sallow”, and the narrow-leaved shrubs are called “osier”. Osier is commonly used in basketry, as osier twigs are very flexible. The strong and flexible willow stems are sometimes referred to as withies.

Down

1. Cornerback’s coups, briefly : INTS

Interception (Int.)

2. One-third of a WWII film : TORA

The predetermined code word to be used by the Japanese if they managed to achieve surprise in their attack on Pearl Harbor was “tiger”, or “tora” in Japanese. This gave the title to the excellent 1970 movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!”.

5. Olive __ : OYL

“Thimble Theater” was the precursor comic strip to the famous “Popeye” drawn by E. C. Segar. Before Popeye came into the story, the brother and sister characters Castor Oyl and Olive Oyl were the protagonists. And then along comes a sailor …

6. Acid type : AMINO

Amino acids are essential to life in many ways, not least of which is their use as the building blocks of proteins. Nine amino acids are considered “essential” for humans. These nine must be included in the diet as they cannot be synthesized in the body.

7. Ivanhoe, e.g. : SAXON

“Ivanhoe” is an 1819 historical novel by Sir Walter Scott that is set in 12th-century England. The story is divided into three adventures that involve such characters as Richard the Lionheart, King John and Robin Hood, although the protagonist is a Saxon knight named Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe. An underlying theme in the book is the tension between the Saxons and the Normans who conquered Britain a century earlier.

8. Post-OR stop : ICU

Many a hospital (hosp.) includes an intensive care unit (ICU).

9. Nile biter : ASP

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

10. Cure-all : PANACEA

Panacea was the Greek goddess of healing. She lent her name to the term “panacea” that was used by alchemists to describe the beguiling remedy that could cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely.

11. Bunch of baloney : CROCK

We’ve been using the term “crock” to mean “worthless rubbish” since the 1800s. The usage very possibly arose from the use of crockery as chamber pots.

12. Linguistic group that includes Zulu : BANTU

There are hundreds of Bantu languages, which are mainly spoken in central, east and southern Africa. The most commonly spoken Bantu language is Swahili, with Zulu coming in second.

The Zulu are the largest ethnic group in South Africa, with an estimated population of 10-11 million people today. The Zulu were famous for resisting the colonization by the British in 19th century, resulting in the Anglo-Zulu War. The Zulus had initial success, but the British eventually prevailed (see the excellent film “Zulu”, starring Michael Caine and others, from 1964).

13. Single-master : SLOOP

Sloops and cutters are sailboats, and each has just one mast. One major difference between the two types of vessel is that the mast on a cutter is set much further aft than the mast on a sloop.

18. Silent : MUM

The phrase “mum’s the word” has been around since the early 1700s. “Mum” has been used to mean “silent” for centuries, the idea being that “mum” is the sound made when the lips are tightly sealed.

22. __ Palmas: Canary Islands city : LAS

Gran Canaria, or Grand Canary Island, may be grand but it isn’t quite as big as Tenerife, the largest island of the group and the most populated. The capital of Gran Canaria is Las Palmas, which was a port of call for Christopher Columbus in 1492 on his way to the Americas.

24. Western tip of Alaska : ATTU

Attu is the westernmost island in the Aleutian chain, and so is the westernmost part of Alaska. Japanese forces took the island in October 1942, eventually landing as many as 2,900 soldiers there. In May 1943, the US Army retook the island in twenty days of fighting that is now called the Battle of Attu, the only land battle to take place on US soil during WWII. I am very proud of my father-in-law, who served in the Aleutians during WWII …

27. Checks out : VETS

The verb “to vet” comes from the term “veterinarian”. The idea is that to vet something is to subject it to careful examination, like a veterinarian checking out an animal.

28. Oscar-winning director Kazan : ELIA

Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. In 1999 Kazan was given an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.

32. Press : INK

Both of the terms “ink” and “press” are used informally to mean “publicity”, especially in the print media.

34. Grad’s award : SHEEPSKIN

In ancient times, diplomas issued by educational institutions were made of thin sheepskin, as paper wasn’t an economically viable material back then. We still use the term “sheepskin” to mean “diploma”.

39. Early Atari offering : PONG

Do you remember the arcade video game that was like a game of tennis, with paddles moving up and down to hit what looked like a ball, over what looked like a net? Well, that was Pong. The arcade version of Pong was introduced in 1972, with Atari selling a home version through Sears for the Christmas market in 1975.

40. __-Frank: 2010 financial reform bill : DODD

The Dodd-Frank Act became law in 2010 and was a response to the Great Recession during the late 2000s. Sponsored by Senator Chris Dodd and by Representative Barney Frank, the act tightened financial regulations in an attempt to prevent a recurrence of the 2007-2010 financial crisis.

46. First name in Disney villains : CRUELLA

Cruella de Vil is the villain in the 1956 novel “The Hundred and One Dalmatians” written by Dodie Smith. Most famously perhaps, Cruella was played so ably by Glenn Close in the Disney movie adaption “101 Dalmatians”, released in 1996.

48. Verizon subsidiary : AOL

The telecom giant Verizon acquired AOL in 2015, and Yahoo! in 2017. Just after the latter purchase, Verizon launched Oath, a subsidiary company that served as the umbrella under which AOl and Yahoo! continued to operate. Oath was renamed to Verizon Media Group after a corporate reorganization at the end of 2018.

50. “Siddhartha” author : HESSE

Hermann Hesse was not only a novelist, but also a poet and a painter. His best known work is probably his 1927 novel “Steppenwolf”.

The 1922 novel “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse focuses on the spiritual journey of a man called Siddhartha. Even though the Buddha’s name was Siddhartha Gautama before he renounced his former life, Hesse’s Siddhartha is a different character who lived around the time of the Buddha.

51. Black-and-white cetaceans : ORCAS

Cetaceans are mammals who have adapted to life in water. Examples of cetaceans are whales, dolphins and porpoises. The cetaceans’ nearest relative still living on land is the hippopotamus, with divergence having taken place about sixty million years ago.

53. Supercharger : TURBO

A turbocharger is a device that is designed to extract more power out of an internal combustion engine. It does so by increasing the pressure of the air entering the intake. The pressure increase comes from the use of a compressor that is powered, cleverly enough, by the engine’s own exhaust gases.

54. Steamboat Springs alternative : ASPEN

Aspen, Colorado used to be known as Ute City, with the name change taking place in 1880. Like many communities in the area, Aspen was a mining town, and in 1891 and 1892 it was at the center of the highest production of silver in the US. Nowadays, it’s all about skiing and movie stars.

Steamboat Springs is a major winter resort destination in Colorado. The area in which the city is located is home to many hot springs. The chugging sound of the hot springs reminded early settlers of steamboats, so they named their settlement “Steamboat Springs”.

62. Woods gp. : PGA

The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) was founded in 1916 and today has its headquarters (unsurprisingly) in Florida, where so many golfers live. Back in 1916, the PGA was based in New York City.

The golfer Tiger Woods’ real name is Eldrick Tont Woods. “Tont” is a traditional Thai name. Tiger’s father Earl Woods met his second wife Kultida Punsawad in 1966 while on a tour of duty with the US Army in Thailand.

63. Strauss’ “__ Heldenleben” : EIN

The title of Richard Strauss’ tone poem “Ein Heldenleben” translates into English as “A Hero’s Life”.

64. Pedigree-tracking org. : AKC

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the organization that handles registration of purebred dogs The AKC also promotes dog shows around the country including the famous Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. “__ simple, duh!” : IT’S SO
6. Gobi container : ASIA
10. Pollutants targeted in Great Lakes cleanups : PCBS
14. “Sorry, bro” : NO WAY
15. Brits’ foul-weather gear : MACS
16. Devastated sea : ARAL
17. Novice hiker’s predicament? : TRAIL MIX-UP (from “trail mix”)
19. Taboo : NO-NO
20. DUI-fighting org. : SADD
21. Card game shout : UNO!
22. Dairy prefix : LACTO-
23. Relief pitcher? : DIAMOND BACKUP (from “diamondback”)
27. Spot for a springbok : VELDT
29. Allay : EASE
30. “Cats” source : ELIOT
31. Stopped working : DIED
33. Snarky retort : AS IF!
37. Cheshire can : TIN
38. Flipped … and what four puzzle answers are? : UPENDED
41. Where Charlemagne reigned: Abbr. : HRE
42. Extended account : SAGA
44. Sources of some barrels : OAKS
45. Salty expanse : OCEAN
47. Boone, to his buds : DAN’L
49. Put oil and vinegar on, say : DRESS
50. Showoff with gags? : HOTDOG STAND-UP (from “hot dog stand”)
56. Swashbuckling Flynn : ERROL
57. Employ : USE
58. “¿Cómo __?” : ESTA
61. Digitize, in a way : SCAN
62. Tenement for one on the lam? : PERP WALK-UP (from “perp walk”)
65. Director Gus Van __ : SANT
66. Barb : GIBE
67. “A Fish Called Wanda” Oscar winner : KLINE
68. Petro-Canada competitor : ESSO
69. Erelong : ANON
70. Worked with osier : CANED

Down

1. Cornerback’s coups, briefly : INTS
2. One-third of a WWII film : TORA
3. Wrapping tightly : SWADDLING
4. Got married : SAID “I DO”
5. Olive __ : OYL
6. Acid type : AMINO
7. Ivanhoe, e.g. : SAXON
8. Post-OR stop : ICU
9. Nile biter : ASP
10. Cure-all : PANACEA
11. Bunch of baloney : CROCK
12. Linguistic group that includes Zulu : BANTU
13. Single-master : SLOOP
18. Silent : MUM
22. __ Palmas: Canary Islands city : LAS
24. Western tip of Alaska : ATTU
25. Closing documents : DEEDS
26. Expressed, as farewell : BADE
27. Checks out : VETS
28. Oscar-winning director Kazan : ELIA
31. Gives a hand : DEALS
32. Press : INK
34. Grad’s award : SHEEPSKIN
35. Nest egg choices : IRAS
36. Bogs : FENS
39. Early Atari offering : PONG
40. __-Frank: 2010 financial reform bill : DODD
43. Enlarge, as a house : ADD ONTO
46. First name in Disney villains : CRUELLA
48. Verizon subsidiary : AOL
50. “Siddhartha” author : HESSE
51. Black-and-white cetaceans : ORCAS
52. Mission opening? : TRANS-
53. Supercharger : TURBO
54. Steamboat Springs alternative : ASPEN
55. Fresh : NEW
59. Piece of music : TUNE
60. Impersonated : APED
62. Woods gp. : PGA
63. Strauss’ “__ Heldenleben” : EIN
64. Pedigree-tracking org. : AKC

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15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 16 Nov 18, Friday”

  1. LAT: 10:41, no errors. WSJ: 38:42, 3 errors trying to guess what 17A is supposed to be (same problem in this grid as Monday’s BEQ, that area is loaded with Natick intersections). Over half of that final time spent on that section. Think I see what I’m supposed to see for the meta, but don’t know what to do with it to get the answer. Newsday: 13:15, no errors.

    1. Croce: DNF after 20:00, very little filled, 11 errors in what I did fill. Pretty typical of these puzzles though, where I can’t get enough to even get going.

  2. LAT: 14:37, no errors. Newsday: 11:21, no errors.

    WSJ: 17:57, no errors. Easy except for the upper middle, which was indeed a bit of a Natick Nest: I spent the last 4:31 of my solve sorting out the possibilities for 7A, 15A, and 8D (made more difficult by the cleverly deceptive clues for 7D and 9D). (However, the answer for 17A had surfaced from somewhere in the depths of my memory, else I’d have spent a lot more time in that area.) And, as for the meta: what Glenn said! (Perhaps something will come to me later.)

      1. It’s an across/down crossing of things that a reasonable person wouldn’t likely know, and ultimately would have to guess since the crossing would require the person to know at least one. It’s usually of two specific/proper names.

  3. Thought I was going to have a tough time with this one, but in fact it turned out nice. But 27A & 66A (veldt & gibe) had me spinning for a while. Puzzle seemed to have a lot of English overtones to it. Anyone else agree?

  4. 18 mins, 25 sec, and DNF: 13 little errors scattered throughout, and I kept looking for some down fills to be read from the bottom up. Totally missed the UP endings of the theme filled.

    This one left me feeling tricked and hard done-by. Not one of my favorites by any means.

  5. Tim Croce: 45:19, no errors; a relatively easy one. Haven’t thought much more about the WSJ meta; instead, I took a much-needed nap; maybe tonight … 😜

  6. Fairly easy Friday; took 24:48 online with no errors. Kind of sleepy today, so good thing it was easy.

    @Carrie – Well, I decided on “Deadwood” instead of “Breaking Bad” since it’s only 3 seasons, and after watching the first episode, is really good. The language is pretty salty but the writing, in general, is excellent.

  7. Wassup guys and gals?🙃

    No errors, but almost didn’t survive that NE corner!! Couldn’t remember PCBS and kept thinking PCP instead—😮 which I believe is a hallucinogen people used to call Angel dust….?? And, it took me forever to read the SLOOP clue correctly. “Single master!” That was hard.

    I thought the themed answers were cute! 😊

    Kay! Hmm… I didn’t pick up an English feel to this puzzle…it seemed kinda all over the place. 🤔

    Hey Dirk!! I haven’t tried “Deadwood,” as I’m not generally interested in period TV shows, but now I may. It’s funny: I googled Deadwood, and some “similar” shows came up. Among them? “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” The little I know about both shows, I suspect they have NOTHING in common except an old-west backdrop. It made me laugh.

    And FWIW, Season One of “Breaking Bad” has only 7 episodes….but 6 seasons, of course.

    Be well ~~🍭

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