LA Times Crossword Answers 17 Mar 16, Thursday

Happy St. Paddy’s Day, everyone!

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Jump to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Jerry Edelstein
THEME: Square Roots … in today’s grid we have the word ROOT arranged in a SQUARE four times:

36A. Patrick Creadon documentary about SpongeBob … and what’s found in this puzzle’s circles SQUARE ROOTS

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 9m 08s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. Religion with Five Pillars ISLAM
Followers of the Muslim tradition believe in the Five Pillars of Islam, five obligatory acts that underpin Muslim life. The Five Pillars are:

– The Islamic creed
– Daily prayer
– Almsgiving
– Fasting during the month of Ramadan
– The pilgrimage to Mecca (haj) once during a lifetime

10. NCO rank MSGT
A master sergeant (MSgt) is a non-commissioned officer (NCO).

14. Word with man or horse IRON
Iron Man is another one of those comic book superheroes, created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. The character has become very famous in recent years since the appearance of the 2008 action movie “Iron Man” starring Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role.

The term “iron horse” starting appearing in Victorian times, describing those new-fangled steam-driven trains and trams that left horse-drawn vehicles in their dust. The term was especially popular in North America where it described steam locomotives.

15. Black Panthers co-founder SEALE
Bobby Seale is the civil rights activist who co-founded the Black Panther Party with Huey Newton.

16. Gillette product ATRA
Fortunately for crossword setters, the Atra razor was introduced by Gillette in 1977. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

25. Oahu resident, for example ISLANDER
O’ahu has been called “The Gathering Place”, although the word “O’ahu” has no translation in Hawaiian. It seems that O’ahu is simply the name of the island. One story is that it is named after the son of the Polynesian navigator who first found the islands. The island is made up of two volcanoes, Wai’anae and Ko’olau, joined together by a broad valley, the O’ahu Plain.

29. AAA suggestion RTE
Route (rte.)

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.

30. Source of a nutritious oil COD
Cod liver oil is a nutritional supplement that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins A and D. I remember being dosed with the stuff as a kid. Ugh …

35. Dirty money GRIFT
“Grift” is money made dishonestly, especially as the result of a swindle. The term perhaps is an alteration of the the word “graft”, which can have a similar meaning.

36. Patrick Creadon documentary about SpongeBob … and what’s found in this puzzle’s circles SQUARE ROOTS
“Square Roots: The Story of SpongeBob SquarePants” is a 2009 documentary by filmmaker Patrick Creadon. I haven’t seen this movie, but I did see another documentary by Creadon: the excellent, excellent film “Wordplay” about the New York Times crossword.

39. “¿Cómo está __?” USTED
“¿Cómo está usted?” is the more formal way of asking, “How are you?” in Spanish.

48. Licorice-flavored seed ANISE
The essential oil in the anise plant is anethole. Anethole has a licorice-like flavor, and is used extensively in cooking.

51. V x CCXXI MCV
5 x 221 = 1105

55. Mineo and Maglie SALS
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.

Sal Maglie was a professional baseball pitcher, one of just a few players who played for all three New York teams of his day, namely the New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Maglie was known as Sal the Barber because he was said to give “close shaves” to hitters, frequently pitching on the inside.

56. It may be caught in the flue SOOT
The flue in a chimney is a duct that conveys exhaust gases from a fire to the outdoors. An important feature of a flue is that it is adjustable. When starting a fire, the flue should be wide open, maximizing airflow to get help ignition. When the fire is burning, flow through the flue should be more restricted. The flue needs to be open sufficiently to allow smoke and exhaust gases exit, but not too wide so that too much hot air escapes, dragging cold air into the house from elsewhere.

58. 2014 Olympics city SOCHI
Sochi is a city in the west of Russian on the Black Sea coast. It is the largest resort city in the whole country. Sochi is going through a busy phase in its life. It hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2014, and is scheduled to host some games for the 2018 World Cup in soccer.

62. Uffizi hangings ARTE
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest art museums in the western world and is housed in the Palazzo degli Uffizi in Florence, Italy. The Palazzo was built in 1560, intended to house the offices of the Florentine magistrates. This original usage gave the gallery its name, as “uffizi” is Italian for “offices”.

67. Yank who missed the 2014 season A-ROD
Professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez earned more nicknames than just A-Rod. He has been called “the Cooler” by some players as there is a perception that teams go cold when he joins them and hot when he leaves. He has also been called “A-Fraud” by teammates because of another perception, that he is over-demanding. On top of all that, Rodriguez was suspended by Major League Baseball for the entire 2014 season, after he admitted to using performance enhancing drugs.

Down
1. Hamm with a kick MIA
Mia Hamm is a retired American soccer player, a forward who played on the US national team that won the FIFA women’s World Cup in 1991. Hamm has scored 158 international goals, more than other player in the world, male or female. Amazingly, Hamm was born with a clubfoot, and so had to wear corrective shoes when she was growing up.

3. Saturn ring components MOONLETS
According to the latest count, Saturn has at least 62 moons, and over 150 moonlets. Moonlets are particularly small satellites, usually less than 1 km in diameter.

8. Knighted Guinness ALEC
Sir Alec Guinness played many great roles over a long and distinguished career, but nowadays is best remembered (sadly, I say) for playing the original Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars”.

9. Plateau cousin MESA
“Mesa” is the Spanish for “table”, which gives rise to our English usage of “mesa” to describe a geographic feature.

10. 1960 Pirate World Series hero, familiarly MAZ
Bill “Maz” Mazeroski is a former Major League baseball player who spent his whole career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In game seven of the 1960 World Series, Mazeroski hit a home run to win the championship, the only time that a home run had ever won a World Series. Then Joe Carter did something similar for the Blue Jays in 1993, a home run to win in game six, the only other time a World Series has been decided with a homer.

12. Complain GROUSE
It isn’t really clear where we get our verb “to grouse” from (meaning “to complain”). The term was first used as slang in the British Army in the 1880s.

13. Packed tightly TAMPED
“Tamp” means to pack down tightly by tapping. “Tamp” was originally used to specifically describe the action of packing down sand or dirt around an explosive prior to detonation.

23. Projected financial statements PRO FORMAS
The Latin term “pro forma” translates as “as a matter of form”, and is used in English to describe actions or documents that are considered merely a formality. In the world of accounting, a pro forma financial statement indicates hypothetical figures based on previous operations, and are as estimates before actual results become available.

25. Author Levin IRA
As well as writing novels, Ira Levin was a dramatist and a songwriter. Levin’s first novel was “A Kiss Before Dying”, and his most famous work was “Rosemary’s Baby” which became a Hollywood hit. His best known play is “Deathtrap”, a production that is often seen in local theater (I’ve seen it a couple of times around here). “Deathtrap” was also was a successful movie, starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve. My favorite of Levin’s novels though are “The Boys from Brazil” and “The Stepford Wives”.

28. Word in a home run call OUTTA
You’re outta here!

34. Top-of-the-line Hyundai whose name means “horse” in Latin EQUUS
The Hyundai Equus is the largest and most expensive sedan made by the Korean manufacturer. The Equus is often used by limousine services.

35. H.S. equivalency test GED
The General Educational Development (GED) tests are a battery of five tests designed to demonstrate that a student has the academic skills of someone who has graduated from an American or Canadian high school.

37. Arizona Cardinal mascot Big __ RED
The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals mascot is a cardinal (the bird) known as Big Red. Big Red was “hatched” on October 4th, 1998.

41. Baton user MAESTRO
“Maestro” is often used to address a musical conductor. “Maestro” (plural “maestri”) is the Italian word for “master, teacher”. The plural in English is usually “maestros”.

43. “Kitchen Nightmares” host Gordon RAMSAY
“Kitchen Nightmares” is a reality TV show in which celebrity chef spends a week in a failing restaurant identifying and resolving operational issues. There’s a lot of screaming, shouting and swearing. The show is a remake of “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” that was made for British television from 2004 until 2014.

44. “Play it again, Sam!” ENCORE!
There is a famous exchange in the movie “Casablanca” that results in the piano player Sam singing “As Time Goes By”.

Ilsa: Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake.
Sam: I don’t know what you mean, Miss Ilsa.
Ilsa: Play it, Sam. Play “As Time Goes By.”
Sam: Oh, I can’t remember it, Miss Ilsa. I’m a little rusty on it.
Ilsa: I’ll hum it for you. Da-dy-da-dy-da-dum, da-dy-da-dee-da-dum…
Ilsa: Sing it, Sam.

An equally famous exchange takes place a little later in the film, resulting in a reprise of the song:

Rick: You know what I want to hear.
Sam: No, I don’t.
Rick: You played it for her, you can play it for me!
Sam: Well, I don’t think I can remember…
Rick: If she can stand it, I can! Play it!

Great stuff!

46. Toy company co-founder Herman FISHER
The toy company Fisher-Price was founded in 1930 by Herman Fisher and Irving Price, along with Margaret Evans Price and Helen Schelle. The company’s first toy was introduced the following year, a pull-along duck named Dr. Doodle.

49. Insurance spokeslizard GECKO
The Gecko is the “spokes-lizard” for GEICO. When the Gecko was introduced in 1999, he was voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer of “Cheers” and “Frasier” fame. Since then, the Gecko has been voiced by British radio presenter Dave Kelly and most recently by actor Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning on the British soap opera “EastEnders”.

50. Islamic ruling FATWA
In the Muslim tradition, a fatwā is a religious opinion issued by an Islamic scholar (a “mufti”) on a matter of Islamic law. There is a common misconception that a fatwā is a death sentence imposed on a person, and although such a drastic directive is a possible component of the opinion, it is a very rare occurrence.

54. Type of baggy ’40s suit ZOOT
A zoot suit has pants that are fairly loose fitting, except around the cuff at the bottom of the leg. The pants also have a high waist. The jacket of the suit has wide lapels and wide padded shoulders. Zoot suits were popular in the US in the thirties and forties, and were often associated with the African American, Latino American and Italian American ethnic groups. Over in the UK, the zoot suit was worn by the “Teddy boys” of the fifties and sixties. “Zoot” is probably just a slang iteration of the word “suit”.

57. President pro __ TEM
“Pro tempore” can be abbreviated to “pro tem” or “p.t.” “Pro tempore” is a Latin phrase that best translates as “for the time being”. It is used to describe a person who is acting for another, usually a superior. The President pro tempore of the US Senate is the person who presides over the Senate in the absence of the Vice President of the US. It has been tradition since 1890 that the president pro tem is the most senior senator in the majority party. The president pro tem ranks highly in the line of succession to the presidency, falling third in line after the Vice President and the Speaker of the House.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Family nickname MAMA
5. Religion with Five Pillars ISLAM
10. NCO rank MSGT
14. Word with man or horse IRON
15. Black Panthers co-founder SEALE
16. Gillette product ATRA
17. Stub __ A TOE
18. Strains TAXES
19. Go fast ZOOM
20. Concerning IN RE
22. Postgame postmortem RECAP
24. Baby seal PUP
25. Oahu resident, for example ISLANDER
27. Wake ROUSE
29. AAA suggestion RTE
30. Source of a nutritious oil COD
31. Sorted homogeneously GROUPED
33. Rearward ASTERN
35. Dirty money GRIFT
36. Patrick Creadon documentary about SpongeBob … and what’s found in this puzzle’s circles SQUARE ROOTS
39. “¿Cómo está __?” USTED
40. Emergency room concern TRAUMA
43. Supposed REPUTED
46. What -ess may denote: Abbr. FEM
47. Spoiled BAD
48. Licorice-flavored seed ANISE
49. Animals that fight by necking GIRAFFES
51. V x CCXXI MCV
52. Bemused states DAZES
55. Mineo and Maglie SALS
56. It may be caught in the flue SOOT
58. 2014 Olympics city SOCHI
60. Carry TOTE
62. Uffizi hangings ARTE
63. Where to find a full house POKER
64. Past its prime WORN
65. Rural agreement YES’M
66. Long-legged wader STORK
67. Yank who missed the 2014 season A-ROD

Down
1. Hamm with a kick MIA
2. Recording pros ARTISTS
3. Saturn ring components MOONLETS
4. End of __ AN ERA
5. Real end -IST
6. Scorched SEARED
7. More lenient LAXER
8. Knighted Guinness ALEC
9. Plateau cousin MESA
10. 1960 Pirate World Series hero, familiarly MAZ
11. Clog STOP UP
12. Complain GROUSE
13. Packed tightly TAMPED
21. Covered with a hard coating ENCRUSTED
23. Projected financial statements PRO FORMAS
25. Author Levin IRA
26. Give DONATE
28. Word in a home run call OUTTA
31. Watchdog warning GRR!
32. Mob member RIOTER
34. Top-of-the-line Hyundai whose name means “horse” in Latin EQUUS
35. H.S. equivalency test GED
37. Arizona Cardinal mascot Big __ RED
38. It’s under the hardwood SUBFLOOR
41. Baton user MAESTRO
42. They can be classified ADS
43. “Kitchen Nightmares” host Gordon RAMSAY
44. “Play it again, Sam!” ENCORE!
45. Dance turns PIVOTS
46. Toy company co-founder Herman FISHER
49. Insurance spokeslizard GECKO
50. Islamic ruling FATWA
53. Lethal snakes ASPS
54. Type of baggy ’40s suit ZOOT
57. President pro __ TEM
59. Annoy IRK
61. Apt answer for this puzzle location END

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16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 17 Mar 16, Thursday”

  1. Happy St. Patrick's Day to all. I'll reiterate my green beer intentions for this evening. I like it falling on a Thursday. I met my college girlfriend on St. Paddys day….but I still celebrate it anyway….

    More conspiracy – we just talked about GED extensively yesterday, and here it is. Hmmmm

    MIA Hamm just happens to have today as her bday. I assume it's no accident that she was in today's puzzle. She turns 44 today according to the Houston Chronicle.

    Best –

  2. …oh and the puzzle itself, I ZOOMed through it. I guess I was just on my game today for some reason. More like a Tuesday time for me.

    Best –

  3. Anon., as above, you're right, ofcourse, but Bill is entitled to make one mistake in the thousands of clues that he elucidates. (said in a gentle manner, no offense meant ) 🙂 …. 605 would have been DCV

    The puzzle was quite difficult, but I was able to finish it. I am delighted beyond words. Thank you Bill, for the documentary info on Spongebob squarepants. I must watch it.

    Pookie, from yesterday, The Hand Crank light, as one example, on sale at Amazon . I think you will learn more, about the product, by reading the responses of other users and FAQ's. It is good to have a full set of four. About 15+5 or 20 dollars for all 4. I bought a dozen at a store which works like a flea market. Only half of them work. Better (for you) to buy them from Amazon – good quality, garanteed products. Very Useful.

    Anise, Dill and Fennel seeds have very similar tastes. I prefer Fennel – maybe a cultural preference – a lot of fun to chew the seeds raw. A mouth freshner, and the taste is sweet to boot.

    Have a nice day, all.

  4. I didn't think it was too terrible. The "rotating theme" is pretty common on Thursdays. Althought I will admit the non-sports fans will probably not have enjoyed it much.

    I didn't know he was the guy behind "Wordplay." I wonder if he has anything to say about yesterday's cluing debacle in the NY Times.

    Slainte!

  5. I got the wrong ending for 52 Across. I put in "dazed" instead of "dazes" so a DNF for me.

    @Glenn – I had fun with today's WSJ. I finished without error, but it was a good challenge, no doubt. What did you have trouble with? We can discuss it here if you want?

  6. @Tony Michaels
    I already threw out both grids. As far as I can recollect, the errors I was picking up over this one was mainly some wrong answers due to some of the cluing. Picked up enough errors that I thought I might as well quit on this one.

    As for the WSJ one, it was dodgy/vague cluing coupled with lack of knowledge. I had a handful of answers, but there were just too many Naticks all over the grid for me to make any progress with it. As I termed it over there, a good library exercise if you want to learn a few things. Not good for a grid in my book.

  7. @Glenn – If you find the WSJ in the trash the theme was changing a V (5) for an X (ten) in the long answers. So, for instance, 42 Across (The need to relay impulses?) became "Axon calling" instead of "Avon calling" and 55 & 62 Across ("In all likelihood…" (and a hint to the puzzle theme) was 55 Across "five will" and 62 Across was "get you ten".

  8. My brain is foggy, which I blame on the cough syrup.
    I blame taking cough syrup on my cold.
    I blame my cold on Daylight Saving Time.
    Yes I'm still grousing about the time change.
    Misspelled RAMSeY and had Erte hanging on the wall.
    Totally missed LAXER/TAXED after I fluffed off the last 3 letters in haste running the alphabet.
    @Vidwan Thanks very much for the link!
    I was wondering if they were anything like the wind-up flashlight I bought years ago at a discount store.
    I think they make more sense than flashlights with batteries that don't last, and are always dead when you go to use them.

    I was up until 2 or 3 the other morning (blame DST) and saw a documentary on global obesity. I couldn't stop watching. If you get the chance watch and see how many corporations are making junk food cheap and how much Type II diabetes is rising in Mexico, China, India, Brazil and other areas.

    GLOBESITY: FAT'S NEW FRONTIER

  9. @Tony Michaels
    Actually I figured that out. Pretty clever theme. But the rest of the fill was my problem more than the theme answers.

    I'll see what Friday brings. Probably better if experience of late serves as a predictor for the future.

  10. I can't believe I didn't Google and finished with no errors – and with 6 sports clues. That doesn't mean I didn't have question marks after several – most of the sports, and RAMSAY.

    Took some wrong turns – panTS before ROOTS, assUmED before REPUTED, aroSE before ROUSE, Ize before IST.

    I still don't agree with youngsters' music vocabulary – ARTIST for singer, MIC for mike, acoustic guitar for guitar; I could go on, but I'll be dead and they'll be going on.

    The NYT was impossible.

  11. Excellent grid, I think, partly because I did well. I'm feeling smug for sure! Got MAZ right away, got the theme pretty quickly. I'm always glad for the baseball clues!!
    Did have some tape-overs…(I use Wite Out correction tape.) I had GRAFT before GRIFT, and I took forever to get RIOTER.
    @Pookie! I had the same issue on ARTE. ERTE would make sense, right?!
    Success so far this week, but as usual I hold out no hope for Friday… I'll likely be stripped of my smugness but will enjoy while it lasts.
    Happy St Patrick's Day!
    Be well~~™

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