LA Times Crossword 26 Dec 18, Wednesday

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Constructed by: David Poole
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Royal Flush

Themed answers end with a card needed to hold a ROYAL FLUSH in the CLUB suit in a game of poker:

  • 54A. What’s hidden at the ends of 17-, 23-, 29-, 43- and 47-Across–if all are in, say, 38-Across : ROYAL FLUSH
  • 17A. Bullied : BROWBEATEN
  • 23A. Breakfast fare : FLAPJACK
  • 29A. “12 Years a Slave” director Steve or “Bullitt” star Steve (not the same person) : MCQUEEN
  • 43A. Stirring up, as resentment : STOKING
  • 47A. Commoners : POPULACE
  • 38A. See 54-Across : CLUBS

Bill’s time: 8m 07s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. __ East, Chicago-based pizza chain : GINO’S

Gino’s East is a chain of pizza restaurants that was founded in Chicago in 1966. As well as eating at a Gino’s East restaurant, pizza lovers can order frozen pizzas and have them delivered by mail.

10. Remove politely, as one’s hat : DOFF

One doffs one’s hat, usually as a mark of respect. To doff is to take off, with “doff” being a contraction of “do off”. The opposite of “doff” is “don” meaning “to put on”.

15. “__ Mio” : ‘O SOLE

“O sole mio” is a famous Italian song from Naples, written in 1898. The song’s lyrics are usually sung in the original Neapolitan, as opposed to Italian. The title translates from Neapolitan into “My Sun” (and not into “O, My Sun” as one might expect). It’s a love song, sung by a young man declaring that there is a sun brighter than that in the sky, the sun that is his lover’s face. Awww …

17. Bullied : BROWBEATEN

To be browbeaten is to be bullied, to be intimidated by someone exhibiting a stern manner. So, the “brow” of the bully “beats” down the victim by giving a stern look.

20. World Golf Hall of Famer Aoki : ISAO

Isao Aoki is one of Japan’s greatest golfers. Aoki’s best finish in a major tournament was runner-up to Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 US Open.

21. Used TurboTax, perhaps : E-FILED

TurboTax is a software- and online-based income tax preparation service. It’s what I’ve used since I retired, and I have no complaints …

27. Actor Mineo : SAL

The actor Sal Mineo’s most famous role was John “Plato” Crawford, the kid who was in awe of the James Dean character in “Rebel Without a Cause”. Sadly, Mineo was murdered in 1976 when he was just 37 years old. He was attacked in the alley behind his Los Angeles apartment and stabbed through the heart. When an arrest was made it was discovered that the murderer had no idea that his victim was a celebrity, and that his plan was just to rob anyone who came along.

29. “12 Years a Slave” director Steve or “Bullitt” star Steve (not the same person) : MCQUEEN

Steve McQueen is a film director from England who is best known for the 2013 movie “12 Years a Slave”. That movie won the Best Picture Oscar.

“12 Years a Slave” is a powerful 2013 film adapted from the memoir “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northup. Northup was an African American who was born a free man in Upstate New York where he worked as a farmer and a violinist. He was lured to Washington, D.C. where slavery was legal, and there was kidnapped by slave traders. Northup spent twelve years as a slave in Louisiana before an intermediary made contact with friends and family who were able to obtain his release. The slave trader in Washington who committed the crime was arrested and tried, although he was acquitted, because D.C. law prohibited an African American from testifying against Caucasians.

Apparently Steve McQueen wasn’t the easiest actor to work with, at least as far as directors were concerned. He pretty much had a free rein though, as he was so popular with the public in the seventies (he had the nickname “The King of Cool”). McQueen was the highest paid movie star in 1974.

33. Farewell that is bid : ADIEU

“Adieu” is the French for “goodbye” or “farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

34. Pumps and platforms : SHOES

A pump is a woman’s shoe that doesn’t have a strap. Such shoes are probably called “pumps” because of the sound they make while walking in them.

Platform shoes have been around in various forms for centuries. For example, a pair of platform shoes were popular in Venice in the 1400s, when they were used to keep the feet dry while walking in flooded streets.

36. Sorbonne article : UNE

“Sorbonne” is the name usually used for the old University of Paris, and some of the institutions that have succeeded it. The institution was named for French theologian Robert de Sorbonne who founded the original Collège de Sorbonne in 1257. That’s quite a while ago …

37. Black-plumed pond swimmer : COOT

The coot is a water bird in the rail family. It looks as though it is bald because of its markings, but the head is actually covered with feathers. As a result, a person might be described as “bald as a coot”, meaning that the person has no hair at all.

40. Hung. neighbor : AUS

The name “Austria” is a Latin variant of the German name for the country, “Österreich”. “Österreich” itself means “Eastern borderlands”, a reference to the country’s history as a prefecture of neighboring Bavaria to the west.

Hungary is a country in Central Europe that has become a popular tourist destination since the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in 1989. Hungarians refer to themselves as “Magyars”.

41. Gives the heave-ho : BOOTS

“Heave-ho” is a nautical term that was used as a chant when sailors were hoisting a sail, for example. The term has come to mean “dismissal”, as in “give him the old heave-ho”.

45. Solid alcohol : STEROL

Sterols occur in nature in both plants and animals. The most famous of the animal sterols is cholesterol, which is found in all animals as a vital component of cell walls. Cholesterol is made within the body, so it isn’t a necessary part of the diet.

49. Like Dagwood’s wife : BLONDE

“Blondie” was created as a comic strip by Chic Young. It was first published in 1930, and is still being created today (although the strip is now controlled by Chic’s son, Dean). The strip spawned a series of radio programs (1939-1950) and a series of “Blondie” films (1938-1950). Blondie Boopadoop married her boyfriend Dagwood Bumstead in 1933. Dagwood slaves away at a construction company run by Julius Dithers, whose wife is named Cora. Another famous character in the strip is Elmo Tuttle, a pesky kid who is always bugging Dagwood.

I speak a little French (very badly) so have trouble with the usage of “blond” and “blonde” in English. Both are French words, with the “blonde” spelling applying to all feminine usages in that language. In American English, we only use the “blonde” spelling when using the term as a noun, when referring to a female with light-colored hair. We use the “blond” spelling for all adjectives and in compound verbs, e.g. “blond women”, “women deciding to go blond”.

52. Ottawa-based flying gp. : RCAF

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is also known as the Aviation royale canadienne (ARC). The RCAF is a partner with the USAF in providing protection to the whole of the North American airspace in the arrangement known as NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command). The RCAF motto is “Sic Itur ad Astra”, which translates from Latin as “Such is the Pathway to the Stars”.

54. What’s hidden at the ends of 17-, 23-, 29-, 43- and 47-Across–if all are in, say, 38-Across : ROYAL FLUSH

The poker hand called a royal flush is the highest-ranking hand possible. It consists of a run of 10, jack, queen, king and ace, with all in the same suit.

60. “Fantastic Beasts” actor Miller : EZRA

Ezra Miller is an actor and classical-trained singer who is best known for playing the Flash in a series of superhero movies, and Credence Barebone in the “Fantastic Beasts” films. As a singer, Miller has sung with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a 2016 spin-off and prequel to the incredibly successful “Harry Potter” series of films. The film is an adaptation of a book of the same name written by J. K. Rowling that purports to be a guide book about the magical creatures in the “Harry Potter” universe. Harry Potter carries a copy of the guide book as one of his school books in the original novel “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”.

61. Twitter troublemaker : TROLL

In Internet terms, a troll is someone who attempts to disrupt online group activities. The fishing term “troll” is used to describe such a person, as he or she throws out off-topic remarks in an attempt to “lure” others into some emotional response. Sad, sad people …

62. “Off the Court” autobiographer Arthur : ASHE

“Off the Court” is a 1981 autobiography by tennis player Arthur Ashe. The book deals with Ashe’s life off the court, including his involvement in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

64. Gumbo pods : OKRAS

Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. Okra gave the dish its name as the vernacular word for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.

65. Cameo stone : ONYX

Onyx is a form of quartz that comes in many different shades, but most often it’s the black version that’s used for jewelry. The name “onyx” comes from the Greek word for “fingernail”, as onyx in the flesh color is said to resemble a fingernail.

Cameo is a method of carving, often the carving of a gemstone or a piece of jewelry. The resulting image is in relief (sits proud of the background), whereas an engraved image would be produced by the similar carving method known as intaglio. Nowadays, the term “cameo” is used for any piece of oval-shaped jewelry that contains the image of a head, usually in profile (maybe even a photograph).

Down

1. Name : DUB

Kneel, and a monarch might “dub thee a knight” if you’re lucky. “Dub” is a specific term derived from Old English that was used to mean “make a knight”. As the knight was also given a knightly name at the same time, “dub” has come to mean “give someone a name”.

3. Fourth word in the “Star Wars” intro : AGO

Every “Star Wars” film starts out with an opening crawl announcing “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….”

4. Part of four state names : NEW

The four US state names that include the word “New” are

  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • 6. Fashion designer Mizrahi : ISAAC

    Isaac Mizrahi is a fashion designer from Brooklyn, New York. Mizrahi pops up on television quite a lot. He took on the post of head judge on the reality show “Project Runway: All Stars” in 2012.

    8. World Cup cry : OLE!

    The FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious tournament in the sport of soccer. The competition has been held every four years (excluding the WWII years) since the inaugural event held in Uruguay in 1930. The World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world, even outranking the Olympic Games.

    9. Grows old : SENESCES

    Something or someone described as senescent is aging, growing old. The term comes from the Latin “senex” meaning “old”.

    10. Arnaz-Ball production company : DESILU

    As one might imagine, “Desilu” is a contraction of the names of the production company’s owners, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. The name “Desilu” was first given to the couple’s ranch in Chatsworth, California. Desilu produced some great shows, including the original “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible”.

    12. Dave Brubeck classic “Take __” : FIVE

    Dave Brubeck is a jazz pianist from Concord, California. Brubeck is very much associated with the Dave Brubeck Quartet that he founded in 1951.

    “Take Five” is a jazz song released by the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1959. Composed by saxophonist Paul Desmond, “Take Five” is biggest-selling jazz single ever. Royalties from “Take Five”, and all of Desmond’s compositions, have gone to the American Red Cross since 1977, when the composer passed away.

    18. Exquisite trinket : BIJOU

    The noun “bijou” (plural “bijoux”) is used for a small expensive trinket. “Bijou” is French for “jewel”.

    22. Web help pgs. : FAQS

    Most websites have a page listing answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Even this blog has one!

    23. Skirmish : FRACAS

    “Fracas”, meaning “noisy quarrel”, is a French word that we absorbed into English. In turn, the French usage evolved from the Italian “fracasso” meaning “uproar, crash”.

    25. Melodic passage : ARIOSO

    The adjective “arioso” means “melodic, in the style of an aria”.

    26. Auden, Blake or Coleridge : POET

    The noted poet W. H. Auden was born and raised in England, but eventually became a US citizen. As well as hundreds of poems, Auden also wrote librettos for operas, including Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress”.

    William Blake was an English poet and artist who is considered now to have been a powerful force in his field during the Romantic Age. One of Blake’s more famous poems is “The Tyger”, which has the celebrated lines:

    Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a pioneer for the Romantic Movement in England, along with his friend William Wordsworth. Coleridge’s most famous works are “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and “Kubla Khan”, which is my wife’s favorite poem.

    30. “Why I Live at the P.O.” author Welty : EUDORA

    Eudora Welty was an author from Jackson, Mississippi who wrote short stories and novels about the American South. Welty won a Pulitzer in 1973 for her novel “The Optimist’s Daughter”. She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1980.

    31. As a whole : EN BLOC

    To do something “en bloc” is to do it all together. “En bloc” is French for “in a block, lump”.

    32. Acupuncture tool : NEEDLE

    Acupressure and acupuncture are related alternative medical techniques. Both aim to clear blockages in the flow of life energy through the body’s meridians. The treatment is given by stimulating “acupoints’ in the body, by applying pressure in the case of acupressure, and by applying needles in the case of acupuncture.

    38. Any one of Bach’s Brandenburgs : CONCERTO

    The six, beautiful Brandenburg Concertos were composed by Johann Sebastian Bach and presented to the Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt in 1721.

    39. Most sparsely populated Eur. country : ICEL

    Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in the whole of Europe, with two-thirds of the nation’s population residing in and around the capital city of Reykjavik. Iceland was settled by the Norse people in AD 874, and was ruled for centuries by Norway and then Denmark. Iceland became independent in 1918, and has been a republic since 1944. Iceland is not a member of the EU but is a member of NATO, having joined in 1949 despite not having a standing army.

    41. Owl or osprey : BIRD

    Much of an owl’s diet consists of small mammals. As a result, humans have used owls for centuries to control rodent populations, usually by placing a nest box for owls on a property. Despite the the fact that owls and humans live together in relative harmony, owls have been known to attack humans from time to time. Celebrated English bird photographer Eric Hosking lost an eye when attacked by a tawny owl that he was trying to photograph. Hosking wrote an 1970 autobiography with the wry title “An Eye for a Bird”.

    The osprey is also known as the sea hawk or fish eagle. Osprey nests are large heaps of sticks usually built in forks of trees and rocky outcrops. I’ve seen quite a few osprey nest built on the tops of light poles and utility poles.

    44. “Dust in the Wind” band : KANSAS

    Kansas is a rock band that formed in 1970s in Topeka, Kansas. The group’s biggest hits were “Carry on Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind”, both of which charted in the mid-seventies.

    45. Stone chips : SPALLS

    Flakes of material that are broken off a larger solid body can be called “spall”. The original use of the term was in the mid-1600s to refer to a chip of stone. Nowadays, we use the term “spalling” more generally. For example, spalling takes place at the surface of a ball bearing due to friction.

    47. Richard who played “The Wiz” in 1978 : PRYOR

    Richard Pryor was a stand-up comedian and actor from Peoria, Illinois. Pryor had a rough childhood. He was the daughter of a prostitute and was raised in his grandmother’s brothel after his mother abandoned him at the age of ten years. He was regularly beaten by his grandmother, and was molested as a child. Pryor grew up to become the comedian’s comedian, one who was much respected by his peers. Jerry Seinfeld once referred to Pryor as “the Picasso of our profession”.

    “The Wiz”, the 1975 musical, was written by Charlie Smalls and is an African-American adaptation of Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The film version of the stage show was released in 1978, starring Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow. I haven’t seen it, though. “The Wizard of Oz” scares me, as the flying monkeys creep me out. There, I’ve admitted it in public …

    48. City west of Daytona Beach : OCALA

    The city of Ocala, Florida was founded near a historic village with the same name. In the local Timucua language “Ocala” means “Big Hammock”. Back in the 1890s, Ocala was famous for its oranges, with over one third of that fruit shipped from Florida coming from the city. Also, thoroughbred horse farming in Florida started in Ocala, back in 1943. Some folks today call Ocala the “Horse Capital of the World”, but I bet that’s disputed by others …

    The coastal city of Daytona Beach in Florida is known for hard-packed sand on the beach. This makes a good surface for driving motorized vehicles, and resulted in Daytona Beach becoming a center for motorsports. The Daytona 500 is the event with the largest purse on the NASCAR calendar.

    50. Oscar winner Minnelli : LIZA

    The actress and singer Liza Minnelli is the daughter of Judy Garland and movie director Vincente Minnelli. Liza won her only Oscar for her lead performance in 1972’s “Cabaret”. She has also won an Emmy, Grammy and Tony, and is one of the very few entertainers to have made that “sweep”.

    51. Nashville venue : OPRY

    The Grand Ole Opry started out as a radio show in 1925 originally called the WSM “Barn Dance”. In 1927, the “Barn Dance” radio show was broadcast in a slot after an NBC production called “Musical Appreciation Hour”, a collection of classical works including Grand Opera. In a December show, the host of “Barn Dance” announced, “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera. From now on we will present the ‘Grand Ole Opry'”. That name was used for the radio show from then on.

    55. Mork’s planet : ORK

    The sitcom “Mork & Mindy” was broadcast from 1978 to 1982. We were first introduced to Mork (played by Robin Williams) in a special episode of “Happy Days”. The particular episode in question has a bizarre storyline culminating in Fonzie and Mork having a thumb-to-finger duel. Eventually Richie wakes up in bed, and alien Mork was just part of a dream! Oh, and “Nanu Nanu” means both “hello” and “goodbye” back on the planet Ork. “I am Mork from Ork, Nanu Nanu”. Great stuff …

    56. Vientiane language : LAO

    Vientiane is the capital city of Laos, and is situated on the famous Mekong River. The city was originally called the “city of sandalwood” by Buddhist monks, naming after the valued trees that grew in the area. The French took the Pali words for “city of sandalwood” and rewrote it as the French-sounding “Vientiane”.

    57. Org. with admirals : USN

    US Navy (USN)

    59. Jinx : HEX

    “Hexen” is a German word meaning “to practice witchcraft”. The use of the word “hex” in English started with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 1800s.

    A jinx is a charm or a spell, and the word “jinx” comes from an older word “jyng” from the 17th-century. A “jyng” was another word for the wryneck, a type of bird much used in witchcraft.

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    Complete List of Clues/Answers

    Across

    1. Campus VIP : DEAN
    5. __ East, Chicago-based pizza chain : GINO’S
    10. Remove politely, as one’s hat : DOFF
    14. Entreat : URGE
    15. “__ Mio” : ‘O SOLE
    16. Malevolence : EVIL
    17. Bullied : BROWBEATEN
    19. Word processor command : SAVE
    20. World Golf Hall of Famer Aoki : ISAO
    21. Used TurboTax, perhaps : E-FILED
    23. Breakfast fare : FLAPJACK
    27. Actor Mineo : SAL
    28. Take to a new planter : REROOT
    29. “12 Years a Slave” director Steve or “Bullitt” star Steve (not the same person) : MCQUEEN
    33. Farewell that is bid : ADIEU
    34. Pumps and platforms : SHOES
    36. Sorbonne article : UNE
    37. Black-plumed pond swimmer : COOT
    38. See 54-Across : CLUBS
    39. “__ glad to!” : I’D BE
    40. Hung. neighbor : AUS
    41. Gives the heave-ho : BOOTS
    42. Rebuke : SCOLD
    43. Stirring up, as resentment : STOKING
    45. Solid alcohol : STEROL
    46. Circle segment : ARC
    47. Commoners : POPULACE
    49. Like Dagwood’s wife : BLONDE
    52. Ottawa-based flying gp. : RCAF
    53. Material flaws : RIPS
    54. What’s hidden at the ends of 17-, 23-, 29-, 43- and 47-Across–if all are in, say, 38-Across : ROYAL FLUSH
    60. “Fantastic Beasts” actor Miller : EZRA
    61. Twitter troublemaker : TROLL
    62. “Off the Court” autobiographer Arthur : ASHE
    63. __ and means : WAYS
    64. Gumbo pods : OKRAS
    65. Cameo stone : ONYX

    Down

    1. Name : DUB
    2. Throw wildly, say : ERR
    3. Fourth word in the “Star Wars” intro : AGO
    4. Part of four state names : NEW
    5. Attacks : GOES AT
    6. Fashion designer Mizrahi : ISAAC
    7. Unacceptable : NOT OK
    8. World Cup cry : OLE!
    9. Grows old : SENESCES
    10. Arnaz-Ball production company : DESILU
    11. Racecourse shape : OVAL
    12. Dave Brubeck classic “Take __” : FIVE
    13. Took off : FLED
    18. Exquisite trinket : BIJOU
    22. Web help pgs. : FAQS
    23. Skirmish : FRACAS
    24. Escorted to the exit : LED OUT
    25. Melodic passage : ARIOSO
    26. Auden, Blake or Coleridge : POET
    29. Tough crowds : MOBS
    30. “Why I Live at the P.O.” author Welty : EUDORA
    31. As a whole : EN BLOC
    32. Acupuncture tool : NEEDLE
    34. Tough going : SLOG
    35. Crude shelter : HUT
    38. Any one of Bach’s Brandenburgs : CONCERTO
    39. Most sparsely populated Eur. country : ICEL
    41. Owl or osprey : BIRD
    42. Odds and ends : STUFF
    44. “Dust in the Wind” band : KANSAS
    45. Stone chips : SPALLS
    47. Richard who played “The Wiz” in 1978 : PRYOR
    48. City west of Daytona Beach : OCALA
    49. Make, as beer : BREW
    50. Oscar winner Minnelli : LIZA
    51. Nashville venue : OPRY
    55. Mork’s planet : ORK
    56. Vientiane language : LAO
    57. Org. with admirals : USN
    58. Far from forward : SHY
    59. Jinx : HEX

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    13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 26 Dec 18, Wednesday”

    1. LAT: 12:28, no errors. Pretty stiff, had a hard time getting going on this one, but finally got through with no serious missteps. WSJ: 8:01, no errors. Far easier than I expected for Wednesday. Newsday: 10:05, no errors. New Yorker: 15:49, no errors. Again pretty smooth like Monday’s, and not a “try-hard” like Tuesday’s.

    2. Good midweek puz from David Poole. Cool theme, well executed. Vocabulary addition: SPALLS (a new one on me, anyway … anyone else?)

    3. Way too hard for a Wed. puzzle I think. I might have gotten about 75% filled in. But even after seeing the answers, I just wasn’t on the same page with Poole.

    4. LAT: 7:39, no errors. Newsday: 6:23, no errors. WSJ: 7:51, no errors. Breezed through these last night in a tryptophan-induced coma, without so much as a misstep.

      New Yorker: 46:06 (much of it spent doing other things and/or waiting for inspiration to hit), three one-square errors at the intersections of sports and music references unfamiliar to me. Did it this morning (after the tryptophan wore off, I guess).

    5. Pretty difficult Wednesday for me; took 24:43 on-line with 2 peeks, but since nothing was wrong it still registered as “without help.”

      Learned SENESCES, EUDORA, SPALLS, GENO’S and STEROL, which is quite a bit for a Wednesday. Had to change Trump to TROLL, although I think I’m actually right! Also had to change REpOts to REROOT, just like Heidi.

      @Bill – The comments from Thelma and Joanne are correct. You have a slight typo in the Richard Pryor bio, referring to him as a daughter. Also, the abbreviation for Austria is in fact AUT, but this is a note to the constructor not to you.

      Happy Holidays everyone. I hope Santa brought you all what you hoped for!

    6. Hello every buddy!!🙃
      No errors, and I’m just glad I got out alive! Fun challenge and a good puzzle, I thought, despite several words I didn’t know. SENESCES??? Wowza!😯 That word looked so weird that I thought sure I had it wrong, but I was confident in the crosses. Clever theme.

      Excellent holiday, but starting Thursday it’s back to the diet! 🙄

      Be well~~🎸✌🏻

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