LA Times Crossword 13 Dec 18, Thursday

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Constructed by: David Alfred Bywaters
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: This or That

Themed answers appear to be common words and phrases at first sight, but are actually answers in the format “X OR Y”:

  • 17A. Should we name the kid after the eldest Brady son or the James Bond author? : GREG OR IAN? (looks like “Gregorian”)
  • 26A. Should we roll this old piano away or put it in order? : WHEEL OFF OR TUNE? (looks like “Wheel of Fortune”)
  • 45A. Should we read a religious pamphlet or watch a movie ad? : TRACT OR TRAILER? (looks like “tractor trailer”)
  • 61A. Should we work on the experiment or go for a swim? : LAB OR POOL? (looks like “labor pool”)

Bill’s time: 8m 09s!

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9. New Zealand mystery author Ngaio __ : MARSH

Dame Ngaio Marsh was a crime writer from New Zealand. Marsh is known as one of the four original “Queens of Crime”, namely: Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, and Marsh. All her novels feature her hero, a British CID detective named Roderick Alleyn.

14. Automaker whose name means “Hark!” in Latin : AUDI

The Audi name has an interesting history. The Horch company was founded by August Horch in 1909. Early in the life of the new company, Horch was forced out of his own business. He set up a new enterprise and continued to use his own name as a brand. The old company sued him for using the Horch name so a meeting was held to choose something new. Horch’s young son was studying Latin in the room where the meeting was taking place. He pointed out that “horch” was German for “hear” and he suggested “Audi” as a replacement, the Latin for “listen”.

16. Expiate, with “for” : ATONE …

To expiate is to make amends for something. The term comes from the Latin verb “expiare”, which has the same meaning.

17. Should we name the kid after the eldest Brady son or the James Bond author? : GREG OR IAN (looks like “Gregorian”)

The character Greg Brady is the oldest Brady son in the sitcom “The Brady Bunch”. Greg was played by Barry Williams in the TV show. It was revealed in spin-offs of the original sitcom that Greg married a nurse and became an obstetrician.

Ian Fleming is most famous for writing the “James Bond” series of spy novels. You might also know that he wrote the children’s story “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, which was made into a cute movie released in 1968 and even a stage musical that opened in 2002.

The word “Gregorian” is an adjectival form of the name “Gregory”. I suppose the most common uses of the term are in Gregorian chant and Gregorian calendar. Gregorian chant is named for Pope Gregory I, and the Gregorian calendar is named for Pope Gregory XIII.

20. “Cray” and “totes adorbs,” e.g. : SLANG

“Cray” is a slang term meaning “insane”, and is a shortening of “crazy”.

“Totes adorbs” is a slang term meaning “totally adorable”.

22. Moans and groans : CARPS

The word “carp” used to mean simply “talk” back in the 13th century, with its roots in the Old Norwegian “karpa” meaning “to brag”. A century later, the Latin word “carpere” meaning “to slander” influenced the use of “to carp” so that it came to mean “to find fault with”.

23. Trip letters : LSD

LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

26. Should we roll this old piano away or put it in order? : WHEEL OFF OR TUNE? (looks like “Wheel of Fortune”)

Contestants have been spinning the “Wheel of Fortune” since the game show first aired in 1975.

35. Bit : IOTA

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, and one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

38. Continental currency : EUROS

The Euro is the official currency of most of the states in the European Union, but not all. The list of EU states not using the Euro includes the UK, Denmark and Sweden.

45. Should we read a religious pamphlet or watch a movie ad? : TRACT OR TRAILER? (looks like “tractor trailer”)

The term “trailer” was originally used in the film industry to describe advertisements for upcoming features. These trailers were originally shown at the end of a movie being screened, hence the name. This practice quickly fell out of favor as theater patrons usually left at the end of the movie without paying much attention to the trailers. So, the trailers were moved to the beginning of the show, but the term “trailer” persisted.

53. Mass vestment : ALB

An alb is a white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from “albus”, the Latin word for “white”.

63. Low prime : SEVEN

A prime number is a number greater than 1 that can only be divided evenly by 1 and itself. There are still some unanswered questions involving prime numbers, perhaps most notably Goldbach’s Conjecture. This conjecture dates back to the 1740s and is assumed to be true, but has never been proven. It states that every even integer greater than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two prime numbers.

65. Austen’s aspiring matchmaker : EMMA

Jane Austen’s novel “Emma” is the tale of Emma Woodhouse and the wonderful George Knightley. At the end of the story, Emma marries Knightley and her young friend Harriet marries Robert Martin, who had been trying to get Harriet’s attention practically from page one of the novel.

Down

4. One finger for a fastball, say : SIGN

In baseball, the signs commonly used by the catcher for common pitches are:

  • One finger downwards = fast ball
  • Two fingers downwards = curve ball
  • Three fingers downwards = slider
  • Four fingers downwards, maybe wiggling = change up

7. Isaac’s eldest : ESAU

Esau, was the grandson of Abraham and the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When Esau was born to Isaac and Rebekah, the event was described “Now the first came forth, red all over like a hairy garment”. Esau is portrayed later in life as being very different from his brother Jacob, as a hunter and someone who loves the outdoor life.

9. It may run during a sad movie : MASCARA

Variants of mascara have been around a long time, and certainly there was a similar substance in use in Ancient Egypt. “Mascara” is a Spanish word meaning “stain, mask”.

10. Classic song title words before “my love has come along” : AT LAST

The 1942 song “At Last” was written for the 1941 musical film “Sun Valley Serenade” in which it is performed by Glenn Miller and his orchestra. Etta Jones recorded a version of the “At Last” in 1960, after which it became her signature song.

12. Tonsorial sound : SNIP

Something described as tonsorial pertains to a barber or to haircutting. The Latin term “tonsor” translates as “barber, shaver, shearer”.

27. Quick Draw’s co-creator : HANNA

William Hanna was an animator who is best known for his collaborations with Joseph Barbera. After creating “Tom and Jerry” for MGM, the partners founded the Hanna Barbera studio that produced such classics as “The Flintstones”, “The Huckleberry Hound Show”, “The Jetsons”, “Scooby-Doo”, “The Smurfs” and “Yogi Bear”.

“Quick Draw McGraw” was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon show starring Quick Draw the horse, a sheriff in the old West. His deputy was also an equine creature, a Mexican burro named Baba Looey. When I was a little kid, I had curtains on my bedroom window featuring Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw. Happy days …

28. Oktoberfest cubes : EIS

In German, “Eis” (ice) is frozen “Wasser” (water).

Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I’ve been there twice, and it really is a great party …

29. Guinness adjective : FIRST

“The Guinness Book of World Records” holds some records of its own. It is the best-selling, copyrighted series of books of all time and is one of the books most often stolen from public libraries! The book was first published in 1954 by two twins, Norris and Ross McWhirter. The McWhirter twins found themselves with a smash hit, and eventually became very famous in Britain hosting a TV show based on world records.

30. Rock’s __ Fighters : FOO

Foo Fighters are described as an alternative rock band, one formed in 1994 by the drummer from Nirvana, Dave Grohl. The term “Foo fighters” originally applied to unidentified flying objects reported by allied airmen during WWII. Spooky …

33. Ovine animals : EWES

The Latin word for “sheep” is “ovis”, giving us the adjective “ovine” meaning “like a sheep”.

39. Old Mideast org. : UAR

The United Arab Republic (UAR) was a union between Egypt and Syria made in 1958 and dissolved in 1961 when Syria pulled out of the arrangement.

40. Short, for short : LIL’

Lil’ is a short form of the word “little”. There are a whole slew of rappers named “Lil’ something”, such as Lil Wayne, Lil’ J, and Lil’ Kim.

46. Black Sea peninsula : CRIMEA

Crimea is a peninsula jutting out into the Black Sea that is almost completely surrounded by water. It is connected to the Ukrainian mainland to the north by the Isthmus of Perekop, and is separated from the nearby Russian region of Kuban by the narrow (less than 10 miles) Kerch Strait. Crimea has been occupied by foreign powers many times over the centuries, and now control of the region is disputed by Ukraine and Russia.

47. Colorful prize : RIBBON

A common award for winning first place in a competition, especially at a fair, is a blue ribbon. In Canada and the UK, first place is usually recognized with a red ribbon, and blue ribbon is given for second place.

51. Pop diva in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” : CHER

“Cher” is the stage name used by Cherilyn Sarkisian. Formerly one half of husband-wife duo Sonny & Cher, she is often referred to as the Goddess of Pop. In her acting career, Cher was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar of 1984 for her performance in “Silkwood”. She went further in 1988 and won the Best Actress Oscar for playing Loretta Castorini in “Moonstruck”.

“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is the 2018 sequel to the hit 2008 movie “Mamma Mia!” I am an unashamed fan of the original film, and really loved the “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”. I especially enjoyed Cher’s rendition of a couple of ABBA hits at the end of the movie, and have Cher’s 2018 album “Dancing Queen” on my Christmas list.

56. Big primates : APES

Apes and monkeys both belong to the order of primates. The most obvious way to distinguish apes from monkeys is by the presence or lack of a tail. Almost all apes have no tail, and almost all monkeys have tails.

57. Weighty work : TOME

“Tome” first came into English from the Latin “tomus” which means “section of a book”. The original usage in English was for a single volume in a multi-volume work. By the late 16th century, “tome” had come to mean “large book”.

58. Browser button : HOME

Google’s Chrome is now the most popular web browser used in the US, with Mozilla Firefox in second place and Internet Explorer in third. I find Chrome to be much, much more user-friendly than Internet Explorer, and more featured than Firefox. Chrome also works more seamlessly with other Google products and with Android phones.

59. Manual comeuppance : SLAP

To receive one’s comeuppance is to get one’s just deserts, to experience an unpleasant consequence for one’s actions. The term “comeuppance” likely derives from the concept of being told to “come up” to a higher authority for judgment.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. “__ just won’t do” : THIS
5. “What a relief!” : PHEW!
9. New Zealand mystery author Ngaio __ : MARSH
14. Automaker whose name means “Hark!” in Latin : AUDI
15. Peace of mind : EASE
16. Expiate, with “for” : ATONE …
17. Should we name the kid after the eldest Brady son or the James Bond author? : GREG OR IAN? (looks like “Gregorian”)
19. Done in : SLAIN
20. “Cray” and “totes adorbs,” e.g. : SLANG
21. Same old routine : RUT
22. Moans and groans : CARPS
23. Trip letters : LSD
25. __ it coming : HAS
26. Should we roll this old piano away or put it in order? : WHEEL OFF OR TUNE? (looks like “Wheel of Fortune”)
34. Word in many hymn titles : PRAISE
35. Bit : IOTA
36. Unheard-of? : NEW
37. ’50s-’60s car features : FINS
38. Continental currency : EUROS
40. As it happens : LIVE
41. Swampy area : FEN
42. Places for me-time : SPAS
43. Some party reminders : E-VITES
45. Should we read a religious pamphlet or watch a movie ad? : TRACT OR TRAILER? (looks like “tractor trailer”)
48. Operate : RUN
49. Neutral possessive : ITS
50. Sharp : ACRID
53. Mass vestment : ALB
55. Swear words : OATHS
60. Self-reproach : SHAME
61. Should we work on the experiment or go for a swim? : LAB OR POOL? (looks like “labor pool”)
63. Low prime : SEVEN
64. Lying on : ATOP
65. Austen’s aspiring matchmaker : EMMA
66. Unexpected pleasure : TREAT
67. Mailed : SENT
68. Move slowly : SEEP

Down

1. License plates : TAGS
2. Spew, as insults : HURL
3. Notion : IDEA
4. One finger for a fastball, say : SIGN
5. According to : PER
6. Salon creation : HAIRDO
7. Isaac’s eldest : ESAU
8. Departed : WENT
9. It may run during a sad movie : MASCARA
10. Classic song title words before “my love has come along” : AT LAST
11. Bust a gut : ROAR
12. Tonsorial sound : SNIP
13. Cooped-up layers : HENS
18. Looks untowardly toward : OGLES
24. Consider overnight : SLEEP ON
25. Uncomfortable situation : HOT SEAT
26. More twisted, in a way : WRIER
27. Quick Draw’s co-creator : HANNA
28. Oktoberfest cubes : EIS
29. Guinness adjective : FIRST
30. Rock’s __ Fighters : FOO
31. Make one : UNITE
32. Not once : NEVER
33. Ovine animals : EWES
34. [It disappeared!] : PFFT!
39. Old Mideast org. : UAR
40. Short, for short : LIL’
42. Campus figure : STUDENT
44. Sun screen : VISOR
46. Black Sea peninsula : CRIMEA
47. Colorful prize : RIBBON
50. Second: Abbr. : ASST
51. Pop diva in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” : CHER
52. Wild party : RAVE
53. Word often said with a sigh : ALAS
54. Stuck in traffic, say : LATE
56. Big primates : APES
57. Weighty work : TOME
58. Browser button : HOME
59. Manual comeuppance : SLAP
62. Choose : OPT

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