LA Times Crossword Answers 22 Apr 17, Saturday










Constructed by: Debbie Ellerin

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

Quicklink to comments

Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Some conversion targets : PAGANS

A pagan is someone who holds religious beliefs that are different from the main religions of the world. In classical Latin “paganus” was a villager, a rustic.

7. Time to “Run for the Roses” : RACE DAY

The first Kentucky Derby took place in 1875, and is a race modelled on the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris (now called the “Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe”). As such, the Kentucky Derby was run over 1½ miles, although in 1896 this was shortened to 1¼ miles. The winning horse is presented with a very elaborate blanket made of red roses, and so the Derby is nicknamed “Run for the Roses”. The race is held on the first Saturday in May each year, and is limited to 3-year-old horses.

16. Shout from Speedy : ARRIBA!

When I was a kid, Speedy Gonzales was one of my favorite cartoon characters. He was billed as “The Fastest Mouse in all Mexico” and tore around the place yelling “¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Epa¡ ¡Epa! ¡Epa! Yeehaw!”

17. Devils’ playgrounds? : ICE RINKS

The New Jersey Devils are the professional ice hockey team based in Newark. The club was founded in 1974 in Kansas City, originally as the Mohawks, and then quickly renamed the Scouts. The franchise moved to Denver in 1976, becoming the Colorado Rockies. The move to Newark happened in 1982, when the team was renamed the New Jersey Devils.

18. “Losing My Religion” group : REM

R.E.M. was a rock band from Athens, Georgia formed in 1980. The name “R.E.M.” was chosen randomly from a dictionary, apparently.

The REM song “Losing My Religion” was released in 1991. The title is a phrase used in the southern US with the meaning “losing my temper, civility”.

19. “Kiss of the Spider Woman” star Sonia : BRAGA

Sonia Braga achieved fame in her native Brazil playing the title role in the movie “Gabriela”. There followed roles in American films such as “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “The Milagro Beanfield War”. She has also played in the Portuguese version of “Desperate Housewives”.

22. Rotten Tomatoes caution : SPOILER ALERT!

“Rotten Tomatoes” is a website that mainly provides reviews and ratings of movies, although it now covers TV shows as well. The site was launched in 1998 and takes its name from the practice of audience members throwing rotten tomatoes at a unappreciated performer on stage.

26. Canonized pope who persuaded Attila not to attack Rome : ST LEO

The first pope named Leo is now known as Pope Saint Leo the Great. Leo I is famous for meeting with the feared Attila the Hun and persuading him to turn back his invading force that was threatening to overrun Western Europe.

27. Accessory for Miss Piggy : BOA

The Muppet called Miss Piggy has a pretentious air, and so refers to herself as “moi”. In 1998, Miss Piggy even released her own perfume called “Moi”.

30. Half a luau serving? : MAHI

Mahi-mahi is the Hawaiian name for the dolphin-fish, also called a dorado. The mahi-mahi is an ugly looking creature if ever I saw one …

32. Usher’s creator : POE

“The Fall of the House of Usher” is perhaps the most famous short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1839. The story is a Gothic tale, an interview with Robert Usher in his house which literally “falls”, breaks into two and is swallowed up by a lake. Some believe that the story was inspired by events at a real Usher House that once stood on Boston’s Lewis Wharf. When the Usher House was torn down, the bodies of a man and woman were found embracing in a cavity in the cellar, a fact reflected in the story as Robert Usher’s sister is supposedly buried alive in the crypt.

35. Thatcher or Blair, e.g. : OXONIAN

An Oxonian is a graduate of Oxford University in England. The equivalent term for a graduate of Cambridge University is “Cantabrigian”.

Margaret Thatcher served as Prime Minister of the UK from 1979 to 1990, making her the longest serving leader of the country in the 20th century, and the first woman to hold the office. Thatcher’s nickname in the press was the “Iron Lady”, a moniker bestowed on her by a Soviet journalist. The “Iron Lady” was born Margaret Hilda Roberts, the daughter of a grocer. She studied chemistry at Oxford University and worked for a while as a research chemist.

Tony Blair was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for ten years, from 1997 to 2007. Blair led his Labour Party from the left towards the center, helped along by the phrase “New Labour”. Under his leadership, Labour won a landslide victory in 1997, and was comfortably elected into power again in 2001 and 2005. Blair stepped down in 2007 and Gordon Blair took over as prime minister. Labour was soundly defeated at the polls in the next general election, in 2010.

38. Capital since 1797 : ALBANY

New York’s state capital of Albany was founded as a Dutch trading post called Fort Nassau in 1614. The English took over the settlement in 1664 and called it Albany, naming it after the future King of England James II, whose title at the time was the Duke of Albany. It became the capital of New York State in 1797.

42. “It Don’t Come Easy” singer : STARR

Ringo Starr’s 1971 song “It Don’t Come Easy” was his first release following the breakup of the Beatles. Although Starr is credited as the sole songwriter, Starr has acknowledged that he wrote it with fellow Beatle George Harrison.

44. “Star Trek” record : LOG

The word “logbook” dates back to the days when the captain of a ship kept a daily record of the vessel’s speed, progress etc. using a “log”. A log was a wooden float on a knotted line that was dropped overboard to measure speed through the water.

49. Dixie elision : MA’AM

“Dixie” is a nickname sometimes used for the American South, and often specifically for the original 11 states that seceded from the Union just prior to the Civil War. It’s apparently not certain how the name “Dixie” came about. One theory is that it comes from the term “dixie” which was used for currency issued by banks in Louisiana. The 10-dollar bills had the word “dix” on the reverse side, the French for “ten”. From the banknote, the French speaking area around New Orleans came to be known as Dixieland, and from there “Dixie” came to apply to the South in general.

52. Cellular messenger : RNA

Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by what is called transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

53. Soaking solution : MARINADE

Our verb “to marinate” comes from the French “mariner” meaning “to pickle in sea brine”, which in turn comes from the Latin “marinus” meaning “of the sea”. So, “marinade” is related to “marine”.

57. Fashion item used for protection in ancient Egypt : EYELINER

Eyeliner has been used for a long time. There is evidence that the Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians used a dark black line around the eyes to protect the skin from the sun as early as 10,000 BCE.

59. Leafs, e.g. : NISSANS

The Leaf is an electric car made by Nissan that was introduced in 2010. The model name is an acronym standing for “leading environmentally-friendly affordable car”.

60. Yoga class regimen : ASANAS

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

Down

2. “Mad Men” extra : AD REP

“Mad Men” was the flagship show on the AMC television channel for several seasons. Set in the sixties, it’s all about an advertising agency located on Madison Avenue in New York (hence the title). “Mad Men” became the first show created by a basic cable channel to win an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.

4. “The Phantom Menace” boy : ANI

Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in the first six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:

  • Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
  • Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
  • Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
  • Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
  • Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …

5. Angler’s hope : NIBBLE

We use the verb “to angle” to mean “to fish” because “angel” was an Old English word for a hook.

7. Automaker’s bane : RECALL

Today we tend to use the word “bane” to mean anathema, a source of persistent annoyance. A few centuries ago, a bane was a cause of harm or death, perhaps a deadly poison.

8. Preceder of beauty? : AGE

Age before beauty.

9. Stud venue : CARD ROOM

Stud poker is the name given to many variants of poker, all characterized by the dealer giving each player a mix of cards face-down and face-up. The cards facing upwards are called “upcards”. The cards facing downwards are called “hole cards”, cards only visible to the individual who holds that particular hand. This gives rise to the phrase “ace in the hole”, a valuable holding that only the player with the ace is aware of.

10. Prufrock’s creator : ELIOT

“The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” is a very famous poem by T. S. Eliot, first published in 1915. The rather odd name of “Prufrock” seems to have just come to Eliot, although there was a Prufrock-Littau Company in St. Louis while he lived there.

13. “Roundabout” rock group : YES

Yes is a rock band from England that formed in 1968 and was most successful in the 1980s. The band’s biggest hit was “Owner of a Lonely Heart” from 1983.

15. Tie up in surgery : LIGATE

In the context of surgery, a ligature is a suture tied around an anatomical structure, usually a blood vessel. The term “ligature” comes from the Latin “ligare” meaning “to bind”.

23. Youngest of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” : IRINA

Olga, Masha and Irina were the “Three Sisters” in the play by Anton Chekhov. The three title characters were inspired by the three Brontë sisters, the English authors.

27. Oktoberfest setting : BEER GARDEN

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. Lhasa __ : APSO

The Lhasa apso breed of dog originated in Tibet and is named after “Lhasa” (the capital city) and “apso” (a Tibetan word meaning “bearded”). The Lhasa apso has been around since 800 BC and is one of the oldest breeds in the world, one very closely related to the ancestral wolf.

30. Safety feature for zoo visitors : MOAT

A “moat” is a protective trench that surrounds a castle, say, or a an exhibit in a zoo. A moat may or may not be filled with water.

36. Problem addressed by counters : INSOMNIA

People with insomnia might count sheep as an aid to falling asleep.

44. Powerball and others : LOTTOS

The Powerball lottery game is available in most states of the US, as is its major rival called Mega Millions.

45. Word in pregame instructions : TAILS

The two sides of a coin are known as the “obverse” and the “reverse”. The obverse is commonly referred to as “heads”, as it often depicts someone’s head. The reverse is commonly called “tails”, as it is the opposite of “heads”.

47. Setting for “Slumdog Millionaire” : INDIA

The brilliant film “Slumdog Millionaire” is a screen adaptation of a 2005 novel by Indian author Vikas Swarup. This low-budget movie won eight Oscars in 2008. I reckon it turned a profit …

50. Father of Phobos and Deimos : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

53. Valets, e.g. : MEN

A “varlet” was an attendant or servant, perhaps a knight’s page. The term comes from the Old French “vaslet”, which also gave us our contemporary word “valet”.

54. Rockport’s cape : ANN

Cape Ann is 30 miles north of Boston and is on the northernmost edge of Massachusetts Bay. The Cape was first mapped by the explorer John Smith. Early in his adventurous life Smith had been captured and enslaved by the Ottoman Empire. His “owner” in his days of slavery was a woman called Tragabigzanda, and apparently the slave and owner fell in love. Smith originally called Cape Tragabigzanda in her memory, but King Charles I changed the name to Cape Ann in honor of his own mother, Anne of Denmark.

Rockport is a town in Massachusetts located at the very tip of Cape Ann, about 40 miles northeast of Boston. Given its location, the town is surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Some conversion targets : PAGANS

7. Time to “Run for the Roses” : RACE DAY

14. Blissful : EDENIC

15. Bar talk? : LEGALESE

16. Shout from Speedy : ARRIBA!

17. Devils’ playgrounds? : ICE RINKS

18. “Losing My Religion” group : REM

19. “Kiss of the Spider Woman” star Sonia : BRAGA

21. … : DOTS

22. Rotten Tomatoes caution : SPOILER ALERT!

25. Teen introduction? : PRE-

26. Canonized pope who persuaded Attila not to attack Rome : ST LEO

27. Accessory for Miss Piggy : BOA

30. Half a luau serving? : MAHI

32. Usher’s creator : POE

33. Revolted : ROSE UP

35. Thatcher or Blair, e.g. : OXONIAN

37. Smirks : SIMPERS

38. Capital since 1797 : ALBANY

39. Expected : DUE

40. Ballpark phrase : OR SO

41. Provider of a small raise : TEE

42. “It Don’t Come Easy” singer : STARR

44. “Star Trek” record : LOG

45. 2008 financial crisis mantra : TOO BIG TO FAIL

49. Dixie elision : MA’AM

51. Plain to see : OVERT

52. Cellular messenger : RNA

53. Soaking solution : MARINADE

55. Feuding (with) : AT ODDS

57. Fashion item used for protection in ancient Egypt : EYELINER

58. “I’m a fan” : LOVE IT

59. Leafs, e.g. : NISSANS

60. Yoga class regimen : ASANAS

Down

1. Still-life subjects : PEARS

2. “Mad Men” extra : AD REP

3. One who shuns shaking : GERMOPHOBE

4. “The Phantom Menace” boy : ANI

5. Angler’s hope : NIBBLE

6. Close one : SCARE

7. Automaker’s bane : RECALL

8. Preceder of beauty? : AGE

9. Stud venue : CARD ROOM

10. Prufrock’s creator : ELIOT

11. Bump souvenir : DENT

12. Requires : ASKS

13. “Roundabout” rock group : YES

15. Tie up in surgery : LIGATE

20. Bad lighting? : ARSON

23. Youngest of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” : IRINA

24. Like many 32-Across works : EERIE

27. Oktoberfest setting : BEER GARDEN

28. Shared between us : OURS

29. Lhasa __ : APSO

30. Safety feature for zoo visitors : MOAT

31. Drive shaft component : AXLE

32. Check phrase : PAY TO

34. Make fun of : SPOOF

36. Problem addressed by counters : INSOMNIA

37. Power concern : SURGE

39. Club at a club : DRIVER

43. They may be humble : ABODES

44. Powerball and others : LOTTOS

45. Word in pregame instructions : TAILS

46. Refrain part : TRA-LA

47. Setting for “Slumdog Millionaire” : INDIA

48. Has legs, so to speak : LASTS

49. “Allow me” : MAY I?

50. Father of Phobos and Deimos : ARES

53. Valets, e.g. : MEN

54. Rockport’s cape : ANN

56. Eggs : OVA

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16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 22 Apr 17, Saturday”

  1. 2 (not good) errors on this one, about 90 minutes or so clock time, caught about 3/4 of it in the first 20-30 min. Still sleepwalking a bit. Slow on the WSJ too.

  2. Some clever cluing in this one, but I finished it error free in about 45 minutes. Nice end to an otherwise tough week of puzzles. Enjoyed this one out on my back patio in perfect weather this morning with headphones on. Kind of sad when I finished. Maybe I’ll go right to the NYT Saturday grid.

    Are there women who would admit to wearing Miss Piggy perfume?

    More good comma-less sentences yesterday. Joel’s was awful….so yes I’ll steal it and claim it as my own at some point.

    In the spirit of Spiro Agnew (grow a spine), an anagram of T.S. Eliot is “toilets” for those of you who don’t like his work…

    Best –

  3. What does ORSO (OR SO?) have to do w/ ball parks? My baseball fan husband doesn’t get this either.
    Thanks-

    1. @Jeff
      Had to look that up. Funny to see Miss Piggy perfume is really a thing. Meanwhile, I’m doing the Newsday during breaks from some non-crossword related activities I need to do today. NYT will (likely) come tomorrow, of course – along with LAT Sunday.

      @Bella
      Ballpark as in estimation.

      “Please give me an idea of how many head of cattle you have.”
      “I don’t know exactly.”
      “OK, give me a ballpark estimate.”
      “I have about 30 OR SO head of cattle.”

  4. Bella- Ditto Glenn. It took me a minute to get it as well. Ballpark as in an estimated figure rather than an actual structure. It will cost $1000 OR SO. Ballpark figure. Grrr.

    Glenn – NYT yesterday was very tough for me. DNF (without help) and a lot of time. Today wasn’t bad at all. I usually can gauge better off of Dave’s times which are very consistent, but he’s playing on a cruise and shirking his crossword duties these days.

    Best –

    1. @Jeff
      I’d offer up mine, but it’ll be about five weeks before I get to those. Of course, I’ll see how NYT goes for syndication when I get papers tomorrow. At least I know they’ll be good solving even if I can’t get them done, since I would rather work towards harder stuff than easier stuff when I got the choice. That’s why I got the Saturday Newsday even if I won’t be able to solve it completely – if I’m going to do crosswords I need to learn how. Then there’s always the dumb errors (which this one and the WSJ were both), which I need to figure out how to eliminate somehow too.

      Hopefully Dave will be able to fill you in when he gets back on his thoughts with those grids.

  5. I enjoyed this one. Everything fell relatively quickly, for a finish in a little over 20 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard “card room” (but I’m not a big gambler), and I don’t know why “ma’am” — as common in Boston, NY, and Wisconsin as it is here in Jawjuh — is a “Dixie” thing. The puz was refreshingly free of PPPs — only half a dozen OR SO. Overall, thanks to Debbie Ellerin for a fine Saturday morning’s diversion. @GLEN: I found today’s WSJ easier than a typical weekender. And please explain that theme tip “Tie game” to me. After finishing, I still don’t get it. @BILL: Thanx for educating me, so to speak, on OXONIAN. And REM randomly chosen? From the start, I thought those Athens boys were alluding to the sleep stage known as REM, for Rapid Eye Movement.

    1. “Tie Game” refers to the belt being tied around the waist of the gi a karate participant wears – as the revealer indicated. And as for difficulty, the WSJ Saturdays have been averaging around 40-60 minutes for me. I sleptwalk that one at 72 minutes with 2 dumb errors. I know if I was more awake I’d probably would have hit around that 40-45 minute mark on it with what I was seeing.

  6. A bit of staring and thinking time, but nothing too outlandish or untoward. Now on to the 21X21 WSJ. Hope everyone has a really nice weekend.

  7. This was a good one. Difficult but doable with perseverance. I had a lot of erasures but after staring at a mostly blank grid I just started guessing. And even if the guess was wrong some part of it usually helped with the crosses. I just kept doing that until it was filled in. No idea about the time it took – but waaaay longer than anyone else! 🙂

    @Glenn, @Bella – regarding OR SO – thanks. I totally missed that. Even though I had the answer I didn’t get it! I was too focused on baseball. LOL

  8. Good puzzle today; took about an hour and a half. Hosed the SW though with a desire to just get it over with. Had INSOMNIA and DRIVER and suspected ANN, MAAM and MAYI, but not much else when I just had to call it quits.

  9. Hi folks!
    Successful Saturday here. Very nice challenge. I’d certainly never heard OXONIAN. Had Y’ALL before MA’AM, Y’ALL being one of my fave words….?
    @Glenn, thanks for the assist yesterday!!! I’d never heard that weird expression….
    Hey Joe Bleaux, I think of MA’AM as southern, because Southerners are thought to be more courtly and polite. So, it’s apparently said more frequently there. What say you? Are you southern gentlemen more polite, or is it just a rumor??!?
    As for REM, I’ll bet they hit upon the term R.E.M. when they opened the dictionary, rather than hitting random letters. I’d also bet that they made several tries before landing on something they thought sounded cool…
    Anyone else notice that whenever there’s a Pope it’s a LEO?
    Hi mtnwest!!
    Sweet​ dreams~~™???

  10. @Carrie
    Never did hear of it myself, to be honest. Not into that sort of thing to know.

    As for REM, you aren’t far from the truth. The story goes their original names considered were things that wouldn’t fit the “breakfast test” (save “Twisted Kites”), so the lead singer opened the dictionary and found the first thing that sounded cool.

    And for LEO, it’s just a 3 letter word with a number of vowels on the end – only reason it’s being used like a large number of other words. You could almost construct one of those old ELHI English class spelling lists with those words and then just say “when in doubt, just put this when it asks for this and it’ll work”.

    There’s even a nice blog article on the NYT servers on sports figures that fit the definition (ALOU, AROD, ASHE, ELS, ORR, OTT, SOSA, PELE, TRIS, and YAO).

    Honestly, I did the “put this” with one of last week’s puzzles and it worked. Just like most of the times I resort to that for whatever reason. Clue says something about sewing and is four letters? Just don’t ask any more questions and put ETUI. How it goes with that list.

  11. Another puzzle I couldn’t find online and had to reconstruct. I thought it was a bit easy for a Saturday, but the reconstruction process may have given me some help, so I’m not posting my time …

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