LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Mar 17, Saturday

Constructed by: Greg Johnson

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

Quicklink to comments

Theme: None

Bill’s time: 12m 10s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies


10. It may be on a dog : SLAW

The term “coleslaw” is an Anglicized version of the Dutch name “koolsla”, which in itself is a shortened form of “Koolsalade” meaning “cabbage salad”.

A hot dog is a sausage served in a split roll. The term “hot dog” dates back to the 19th-century and is thought to reflect a commonly-held opinion that the sausages contained dog meat.

14. Sacred Aboriginal landmark : AYERS ROCK

Ayers Rock was discovered by Europeans in 1873, who gave it its name in honor of Sir Henry Ayers who was the Chief Secretary of South Australia at the time. The Aborigines call the landmark Uluru, which is the more accepted name these days.

19. Jefferson Davis’ org. : CSA

The Confederate States of America (CSA) set up government in 1861 just before Abraham Lincoln took office. Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the CSA at its formation, and retained the post for the life of the government.

20. “Barefoot Contessa” host Garten : INA

Ina Garten is an author as well as the host of the cooking show on the Food Network called “Barefoot Contessa”. Garten has no formal training as a chef, and indeed used to work as a nuclear policy analyst at the White House!

23. Best Director between Soderbergh and Polanski : HOWARD

Ron Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show”. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like “Apollo 13”, “The Da Vinci Code” and “A Beautiful Mind”, the latter earning Howard a Best Director Oscar.

Steven Soderbergh first came to international attention as a director at only 26 years old, for his 1989 indie film “Sex, Lies, and Videotape”. Since then, he has directed many box-office hits, such as “Erin Brockovich”, “Traffic” (for which he won a Best Director Oscar) and all of the “Ocean’s 11” films.

Roman Polanski is a Polish film director, and an Oscar winner for directing the 2002 movie “The Pianist”. Polanski has had an eventful life. His pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by the Manson family in 1969. In 1977, Polanski was arrested in Los Angeles for sexual assault of 13-year-old girl, and pleaded guilty to having sex with a minor. He fled the country to avoid sentencing, and has mainly lived in France since then.

29. “Nebraska” star : DERN

Bruce Dern is a Hollywood actor with quite a pedigree. Dern is the grandchild of former Utah governor and Secretary of War, George Henry Dern. Bruce’s godparents were Adlai Stevenson and Eleanor Roosevelt!

“Nebraska” is a really interesting 2013 movie starring Bruce Dern as an elderly man who heads to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect a million-dollar sweepstakes prize that is clearly a scam. This one is filmed in black & white, which adds to the mood nicely. I note that a local movie theater here did a one-day showing of a color version.

43. Petrol purchase : LITRE

On the other side of the Atlantic, we use the French spelling for measurements that originated in French, so “metre” for “meter” and “litre” for “liter”.

Petrol is the same thing as gasoline. “Petrol” comes via French from the Latin “petroleum”, itself derived from “petra” meaning “rock” and “oleum” meaning “oil”.

44. White wine grape : RIESLING

The Riesling grape variety originated in the Rhine region of Germany, and is used to make wines that are often described as fruity and aromatic. The wine generally has a high level of acidity which makes it ideal for aging, with some examples being proclaimed as excellent at over a hundred-years-old.

49. Land shaped by erosion : MESA

“What’s the difference between a butte and a mesa?” Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, taller than it is wide.


3. Its only counties are Kent, New Castle and Sussex : DELAWARE

Delaware is the second smallest state in the country in terms of area, but has the fewest counties (3), namely New Castle, Kent and Sussex. Rhode Island, the smallest state, ties with Hawaii as the state with the second-lowest number of counties at five.

7. Ninth in a series : IOTA

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

8. Cry over spilled Milch? : ACH!

The German exclamation “ach!” is usually translated into English as “oh!”

In German, one often puts “Milch” (milk) in one’s “Kaffee” (coffee).

12. Holiday hymn opener : ADESTE

The lovely Christmas hymn “Adeste Fideles” (entitle “O Come, All Ye Faithful” in English) was written by one John Francis Wade in the 13th century. Well, he wrote the original four verses, with four more verses being added over time. A kind blog reader pointed out to me that the English translation is in fact a little “off”. The term “adeste” best translates from Latin as “be present, attend”, rather that “come”. The verb “come” appears later in the lyrics in “venite adoremus”, meaning “come, let us worship”.

17. Folded Italian fare : CALZONE

A calzone is like a pizza but with the dough base folded in half, forming a semicircle.

22. Pre-revolution bigwig : TSAR

The former Soviet Union (USSR) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the Tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and comprised fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

26. Ancient pyramid builders : AZTECS

The Aztec people of Central America dominated the region in the 14th – 16th centuries. Two traits of the Aztec people are oft cited today. They built some magnificent pyramids, and they also engaged in human sacrifice. The two traits were linked in a way … for the consecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan, 84,400 prisoners were sacrificed over a period of four days.

28. Wind-borne grains : POLLEN

The fine powder known as pollen is basically a flower’s sperm, as it carries a seed plant’s male reproductive cells.

37. Light ring : HALO

The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo”, used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.

39. Superior, of all five : DEEPEST

Lake Superior is the deepest of the Great Lakes, and Lake Erie is the shallowest.

42. Indian Ocean arm : RED SEA

The Red Sea (sometimes called the Arabian Gulf) is a stretch of water lying between Africa and Asia. The Gulf of Suez (and the Suez Canal) lies to north, and the Gulf of Aden to the south. According to the Book of Exodus in the Bible, God parted the Red Sea to allow Moses lead the Israelites from Egypt.

45. Stanford-__ test : BINET

The first usable intelligence test was invented by a French psychologist named Alfred Binet. Binet collaborated with Théodore Simon and together they produced the Binet-Simon Intelligence Scale that is still in use today for IQ tests.

52. Pig thief of rhyme : TOM

Tom, Tom, the piper’s son,
Stole a pig, and away did run;

The “pig” mentioned in the rhyme isn’t actually a live animal but is actually a small pastry with an apple filling.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers


1. Hot-button subject in journalism : MEDIA BIAS

10. It may be on a dog : SLAW

14. Sacred Aboriginal landmark : AYERS ROCK

15. Tendency : TIDE

16. Like a meeting of the minds? : TELEPATHIC

18. “__ so … ” : EVEN

19. Jefferson Davis’ org. : CSA

20. “Barefoot Contessa” host Garten : INA

21. Still : AT REST

23. Best Director between Soderbergh and Polanski : HOWARD

25. Unnatural register : FALSETTO

27. Remove : ERASE

28. Firebrick cooker : PIZZA OVEN

29. “Nebraska” star : DERN

30. Become twisted : CONTORT

31. “Told you” : SEE?

32. Bygone : OLDEN

33. Congressional approval : YEA

36. Ceremonial cup : CHALICE

38. Settled : PAID

40. Points at and yells, perhaps : THREATENS

43. Petrol purchase : LITRE

44. White wine grape : RIESLING

45. Looked good on : BECAME

46. Attaches, as a new deck : ADDS ON

47. Costumer’s suggestion : WIG

48. Edge : LIP

49. Land shaped by erosion : MESA

50. Fall behind : GET IN A HOLE

54. It sticks out in the water : PIER

55. Model rocket components : NOSE CONES

56. Order to stop : STAY

57. Common college consequence : EMPTY NEST


1. __ set : MATCHED

2. Demolition candidates : EYESORES

3. Its only counties are Kent, New Castle and Sussex : DELAWARE

4. Steaming state : IRE

5. Hopeful’s term : ASPIRE

6. Ford or Chevy : BRAND

7. Ninth in a series : IOTA

8. Cry over spilled Milch? : ACH!

9. Waxed sports equipment : SKI

10. Conventional : STEREOTYPIC

11. NFL games, e.g. : LIVE TV

12. Holiday hymn opener : ADESTE

13. Took place : WENT ON

17. Folded Italian fare : CALZONE

22. Pre-revolution bigwig : TSAR

24. When needed : AS NECESSARY

25. Bit of successful research : FINDING

26. Ancient pyramid builders : AZTECS

28. Wind-borne grains : POLLEN

30. An inch of snow, e.g. : COATING

34. What one might do after a broken date : EAT ALONE

35. Credit card bonus : AIR MILES

37. Light ring : HALO

39. Superior, of all five : DEEPEST

40. Walks heavily : TRAMPS

41. “Quick, get that out of sight!” : HIDE IT!

42. Indian Ocean arm : RED SEA

43. What’s left : LEGACY

45. Stanford-__ test : BINET

47. Fleeting puff : WISP

51. Storm dir. : ENE

52. Pig thief of rhyme : TOM

53. Sweetie : HON

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23 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Mar 17, Saturday”

  1. Zero errors, about 2 hours or so – about double Bill’s time to crack into the grid, let alone finish the solve. Bout like last week. Fun part is that I ran out of regular paper and moved onto some colored flyer paper that I needed to use up because I don’t have any other purpose for it. So I’m doing puzzles on bright red paper (for right now, there’s 4 other colors). Interesting part though is that it both writes and erases much better than the last ream of paper I used, so I don’t know if I can find the same kind of paper in white or not when I really do run out. Fun stuff, anyhow.

    Onto the WSJ and Newsday, whenever I can get to both…

  2. Someone told me that he believed that the pyramids were built by aliens using their spaceships. I asked why would such advanced beings build a bunch of rock piles. His answer was that they were alien teenagers and they were on spring break just messing around. Sort of makes sense, I guess.
    I could believe that space aliens wrote some of today’s clues, by the way.

  3. Nice challenge today. There were so many simple yet vague clues in this one (e.g. “Still” for 21A) that I figured once I got a foothold in it, I could finish rather quickly. That’s pretty much what happened. 54 minutes on this one – about half of which was spent getting the first few answers. There’s a reason I’m not in Stamford today…

    I thought STEREOTYPIC was a little awkward, but it is in the I lose.

    Anon- your comments reminded me of a situation here in Texas back in the late 80’s. There is a Goddess of Liberty statue that had been on top of the Texas capitol for about 100 years. It weighed about 3000 lbs. When they restored it in the mid 80’s, it took a Sikorsky helicopter to remove it. But the helicopter tried in vain for 3 days to put it back up.

    Suggestions as to how to get it up there included: “Put a sign in front of the fraternities at the U of Texas on a Friday afternoon that says ‘Do not put statue on top of the capitol’ and it will be up there by Monday morning.”

    Eventually the helicopter was able to place the statue back atop the building, but no one knows how it was put up there in the late 1800’s. It was not constructed there as there are photos of it standing in front of the capitol .

    Best –

  4. 13:50, no errors. Got started in the middle, with OLDEN, but put in NOT MUCH instead of COATING, which held me up for a bit. Once I fixed that, the solve quickly spread to fill the bottom half and then the upper right. The upper left took a bit longer, starting with CSA, DERN, and SEE, and proceeding fitfully to the end. Good puzzle.

    @Anonymous … I love that theory about the pyramids! Wonderful!

  5. 44 minutes, three dumb errors on the WSJ. Good week for those who don’t have regular access to the NYT over there. Two of the classic good constructors had grids at the WSJ that (I don’t think) ever show up in the LAT: Lynn Lempel on Wednesday and Elizabeth Gorski today. Good to try both out if you’ve never done the NYT enough to see them.

    BTW, Round 1 (puzzles 1-3) is going on the ACPT. Will have to check results in a bit.

  6. Had a pretty good week until today! Had no way to even get a good start. Oh, well, maybe tomorrow…………

  7. I guess I am too late – but I would like to put my wee bit in, and wish Bill the very best at the ACPT.
    Best of luck, and may the god(s) and the muses watch over you and give you constant inspiration, flashes of brilliance, and mental strength !!!!!

    Jeff, as for putting difficult and heavy objects on building roofs, maybe you should google and find out the antics of the students at MIT etc. – especialy during the Yale-MIT football games.
    As for how an immense statue can be put on the Capitol dome, may I suggest, that sometimes it is easier to haul such a white elephant, to the center and up, before the entire building has been constructed – and it is not possible to do that after the entire walls and pillars have been cast into place. One thing for sure, there was no Sikorsky nor his helicopter, at that time.

    For the lady (?) who linked the harmonic motions of the Tacoma bridge, may I suggest a couple of youtubes, that exist, on the 32 metronomes, and how they synchronize ‘each other’ ….. which I have linked before.

    Have a good weekend, all.

  8. I hated to give up “It may be on a dog” as FLEA, but eventually had to. “Tendency” as TIDE threw me for quite a while – pretty indirect cluing.

    @ Jeff: Funny story about how the statue got back on top of the tower. From my college experiences, I believe it.

    I think undoubtedly that space aliens constructed the pyramids to serve as navigation beacons when they would come to invade the earth (read the 1968 book “Chariots of the Gods”). I wonder what went wrong with that plan. Perhaps the SciFi movies of the 50’s showed the aliens that it just wasn’t worth it. 🙂

    1. Great job, Bill. First time in that division and at number 8. Looks like he stumbled a bit out of the gate with the first puzzle but has done really well since.

      Glenn – are there 3 more? 5 more? I couldn’t tell.

      Best –

      1. @Jeff
        Six today, one tomorrow for everyone. Top 3 of A, B, & C get an 8th puzzle done on marker board in front of everybody, winner gets the prizes.

        I’ll say for doing the 2001 ACPT series (still have the 2006 series I could do, but haven’t gotten to those in this book yet), they’re definitely *weird* (and harder) puzzles than what you normally see. Got how they figure the points here, but won’t dig it out unless requested.

    2. 219 overall, 8th D Division after 5 logged now. I guess they’re done now and just waiting to set everything.

    3. @Glenn … Thanks for the update on Bill’s standing. Some results for me on today’s puzzles: The WSJ took me 27:58, with no errors. The Newsday took me 1:10:16, with two very stupid errors (two letters, three entries) that I could have corrected had I not been impatient. (Still, I came very close to giving up a couple of times, so I should be grateful to have finished at all.) I’ve done eight of the “Saturday Stumpers” now, with a total of three errors (three letters, five entries) and my average time (for the six I’ve remembered to time) is 57:14; they’re wonderful puzzles. As for Friday’s WSJ meta: I’m still staring at it for minutes at a time, but without a glimmer of insight (beyond a couple of obvious things).

      1. @David
        Tried for 30 minutes and didn’t crack the Saturday Newsday today beyond a small handful of clues. I think a lot of it is that I don’t get a lot of sleep lately with everything going on, then a level of frustration over how I’ve been doing (worse) with puzzles lately. Of course, the NYT stuff I get awaits tomorrow (Thu-Sun), so I’ll probably just dismiss the Newsday (and the Fri one I have sitting here) if I can’t get it done before the Sunday LAT becomes available later tonight. But good you’re finding enjoyment with them. I definitely am now, even if I can’t get anywhere with them when I do.

  9. Go, Bill! Pretty good puz today — challenging for a themeless, but satisfying. But some of the clues (and answers) are weak. STAY for “Order to stop” Huh? It’s not even fit for a dog. I’m with Jeff on STEREOTYPIC. Ever seen it in print without AL at the end? Or heard it said? Didn’t think so. And Piano Man was too kind on TIDE for “Tendency.” Wa-a-yyy too much of a reach. Still, Mr. Johnson, I enjoyed solving your puzzle. Thanks.

  10. “DNFC” (Did Not Finish Correctly) on the LAT’s grid today. 15 Across (tendency) completely eluded me and when I saw “tide” as the answer I still didn’t/don’t get it. I know, I know…”swimming with the tide” and all that, but I just missed the meaning and took a WAG of “tire” which turned out to be both idiotic as a guess and wrong too boot…D’oh!

    The WSJ 21 X 21 wasn’t too difficult today, at least for me. I completed it in what I’m sure was less than an hour, although I never time myself on any grid as it really takes away from the pleasure of working the puzzle.

    Hope you all have a nice weekend. I’ll see you back here, maybe tomorrow but Monday for sure. It all depends on when I get around to doing the LAT’s Sunday grid.

  11. I believe it was Bella who linked the video of the bridge. I was reluctant to comment about the Tacoma bridge as I fear boring everyone to tears, but it was a far more complicated phenomenon than anyone imagined at the time. We knew more about relativity and quantum mechanics than we did about what this actually was – a case of aeroelastic flutter. We now know more about it now due to increased knowledge of aerodynamics on jet wings, but the same principle is used in bridges and even chimneys. Computers are used to calculate all of this now.

    To this day not everyone agrees on what really caused the failure of the bridge. The few things they know are that the bridge was way too shallow which made it susceptible to torsional (twisting) forces as opposed to just vertical ones, and the girders were also “too solid” and didn’t allow any wind to pass. This made it even more susceptible to catching wind and twisting.

    Essentially the bridge was too weak and flexible. When the torsional forces started, a cable band on the mid span slipped due to the motion. This created an imbalance that contributed even more to the vertical motion converting to torsional motion.

    Also something called vortex shedding had begun. The wind separated when it hit the girders. Even steel is elastic to some extent so a small amount of twisting began. The twisting caused the wind separation at the girder to increase. This caused a vortex (a kind of swirl to the wind you’d see off the tip of a wing of a plane) which twisted the bridge even more.

    The deck resisted the lifiting and twisting (i.e. it tried to go back to its original state). As it returned, its speed and direction actually matched the lifting force – ie it moved in phase with the motion the vortex itself had created.

    The wind alone, however, didn’t create enough force to cause enough twisting for the bridge to fail. The bridge went into something called torsional flutter. The bridge’s deck’s twisting motion began to control the wind vortex so the 2 were synchronized. The twisting therefore became sort of self generating – its own motion was creating the forces.

    In general those 2 types of forces (vortex shedding and torsional flutter) happen at different wind speeds. Because the bridge was so susceptible to twisting motion, both occured at roughly the same wind speed in this case. Twisting induced more twisting then more and more twisting and the bridge failed.

    I did a paper on the subject years ago. I actually looked up a couple of things to refresh my memory before posting…my memory isn’t that good.

    Bottom line it’s a very complicated phenomenon that no one saw coming before this happened.

    Please direct all hate mail for this post to Bella… 🙂

    Best –

    1. @Jeff … I loved your story about the statue and appreciated your comments about the Tacoma bridge (so, no hate mail from me 🙂 ). I’ve watched that video a number of times in the past and marveled that such a light wind could cause such a thing. It’s especially spooky to see the guy apparently walking off the bridge just before it collapses. Amazing …

    2. Torsional flutter—got it. Hopefully they thought abt that when they rebuilt.
      We take that bridge on occasional visits to Gig Harbor, and I always am relieved when we’re safely across!

      Oh, and I thought today’s puzzle was a bugger.

      Go Bill!!

  12. Hi gang!
    Today’s puzzle seemed relatively easy, for a Saturday. Maybe I got lucky with these clues. Easier than Friday’s — sometimes the themes are so convoluted that a themeless puzzle is relief!! ?
    Definitely agree that Tendency = TIDE was a stretch. That had me stumped for awhile.
    Bella, you beat me to it! Jeff, I wasn’t sure which phrase I like better, torsional flutter or vortex shedding. You’re smart! ? I guess I’m glad that there IS an explanation as to why that bridge swayed. Interesting to note, as we’re talking bridges and pyramids: the building of the ancient pyramids is an engineering mystery to us, yet we couldn’t build a bridge in the 1930s!!! And now we can.
    Glenn, I join Dave in thanking you for the update on Bill’s progress.
    Be well~~™???

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