LA Times Crossword Answers 5 Apr 17, Wednesday










Constructed by: Mark MacLachlan

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

Quicklink to comments

Theme: Threesomes

Today’s themed answers include two occurrences of SOME THREE-letter sequence, one at the start of the answer, and one at the end:

  • 57. Each answer to a starred clue begins and ends with identical ones : THREESOMES
  • 17. *Process of electron gain or loss : IONIZATION
  • 24. *Beneficial substance in berries : ANTIOXIDANT
  • 34. *Eating : INGESTING
  • 48. *London subway system, with “the” : UNDERGROUND

Bill’s time: 7m 14s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Chickens (out) : WIMPS

Our term “wimp”, describing a “timid person”, probably is an alteration of “whimper”, the sound that such an individual may make.

15. Advil target : ACHE

Advil is Wyeth’s brand of ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug.

19. Killer whale : ORCA

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is Orcinus orca. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

20. Cereal with lemony lemon and orangey orange flavors : TRIX

Trix is a corn-based breakfast cereal that has been around since 1954, produced by General Mills. Ads for the cereal featured Trix Rabbit, who would try hard to get hold of bowls of the cereal. He would always get caught though, and be admonished with, “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!” With 46% sugar content, the rabbit probably wouldn’t have liked it anyway …

22. Bryn Mawr undergrads : WOMEN

I used to live not far from Bryn-mawr (sometimes written as “Brynmwar”) in Wales, the town with the highest elevation in the country. Appropriately enough, “bryn mawr” is Welsh for “big hill”. There is also a Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania (note the different capitalization) that is named after its Welsh counterpart. At the Pennsylvania location there’s a Bryn Mawr college, a private women’s school that was the first American university to offer graduate degrees to women.

29. Katy who voiced Smurfette in “The Smurfs” : PERRY

Katy Perry is an American singer who grew up listening to and singing gospel music, as she was the daughter of two Christian pastors. In fact, her first musical release was a gospel album in 2001. She has branched out since then. Her first successful single was “Ur so Gay”, followed by “I Kissed A Girl”. She was married (only for a year) to the British comedian Russell Brand, until 2012.

“The Smurfs” is a 2011 animated feature film featuring the “The Smurfs” comic book characters. The movie has an impressive cast of live actors, including Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris and Sofía Vergara, as well Katy Perry, Alan Cumming and Jonathan Winters as voice actors.

The Smurfs are little blue people created in 1958 by the Belgian cartoonist who went by the pen name Peyo. The Smurfs became famous in the US when Hanna-Barbera used them in a children’s cartoon series. The characters are largely a group of males. The original lineup included just one “Smurfette”, who is wooed by almost all of the boy Smurfs. Later, another female was introduced into the mix called Sassette, and still later along came Granny Smurf.

30. “Jeopardy!” creator Griffin : MERV

Merv Griffin was quite the entertainer, truly a mogul in the business. He started his career as a singer on the radio during the big band era. In the sixties he hosted his own talk show, and then famously developed such great game shows as “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune”.

45. Asian rice porridge : CONGEE

Congee is an Asian dish, a gruel prepared by cooking rice in water for an extended period, long enough for the grains to practically disintegrate.

48. *London subway system, with “the” : UNDERGROUND

The official name “London Underground” is a little deceptive, as over half of the track system-wide is actually “over ground”, with the underground sections reserved for the central areas. It is the oldest subway system in the world, opening in 1863. It was also the first system to use electric rolling stock, in 1890. “The Tube”, as it is known by Londoners, isn’t the longest subway system in the world though. That honor belongs to the Shanghai Metro. My personal favorite part of the Tube is the Tube map! It is a marvel of design …

54. “Monday Night Countdown” airer : ESPN

“Monday Night Countdown” is an ESPN show, runup to that evening’s Monday Night Football game.

55. Cruciverbalist Reagle of “Wordplay” : MERL

Merl Reagle was a renowned constructor of puzzles in crossword circles. Despite the availability of computer tools Reagle was known for constructing puzzles using pencil and paper. There is an interesting segment in the 2006 movie “ Wordplay” in which we see Reagle in action creating a puzzle for the New York Times. Reagle even made an appearance in a 2008 episode of “The Simpsons”.

“Cruciverbalist” is a term developed in the 1990s to describe crossword enthusiasts. The word comes from the Latin for cross (crux) and word (verbum). “Cruciverbalist” is sometimes limited to those who actually construct the puzzles. Over on the other side of the Atlantic, we call such people “setters”.

56. Danish shoe company : ECCO

I have to say, after owning several pairs, that ECCO shoes are the most comfortable in the world …

59. Big bunch : SLEW

Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew”. The noun “slew” come into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.

61. Sailor’s “Halt!” : AVAST!

“Avast” is a nautical term used to tell someone to stop or desist from what they are doing. The word comes from the Dutch “hou vast” meaning “hold fast”.

62. Gull relative : TERN

Terns are a family of seabirds. They are similar to gulls, but more slender and more lightly built. Many species of tern are known for their long-distance migrations, with the Arctic tern migrating so far that it is believed to see more daylight in a year than any other animal.

64. __-Bismol : PEPTO

Pepto-Bismol was originally marketed as a remedy for infant diarrhea, and sold under the name “Bismosol: Mixture Cholera Infantum”.

Down

4. Amount to pay in Calais : PRIX

“Prix” is French for “price”.

Calais is a major ferry port in northern France that overlooks the Strait of Dover, which is the narrowest point in the English Channel. The strait is just over 20 miles wide, making Calais the nearest French town to England.

7. “The Martian” genre : SCI-FI

“The Martian” is a very intriguing 2015 science fiction film starring Matt Damon as an astronaut who is accidentally stranded on Mars. The movie is based on a 2011 novel of the same name by Andrew Weir. One thing that I liked about the film is that the science cited is fairly realistic. In fact, NASA collaborated with the filmmakers extensively from script development to principal casting.

8. Snapchat upload : PHOTO

Snapchat is a messaging system that allows users to send photos and video clips to a limited list of recipients. The photos and clips, called “snaps”, can be viewed for only a few seconds before they are deleted from the recipient’s device, and from the Snapchat servers.

9. Nikkei index currency : YEN

The Korean Won, the Chinese Yuan, and the Japanese Yen (all of which are Asian currencies) take their names from the Chinese written character that represents “round shape”.

The Nikkei is a stock market index for the Tokyo Stock Exchange that has been published by the “Nihon Keizai Shimbun” newspaper since 1950. The “Nihon Keizai Shimbun” has the largest circulation of any financial newspaper in the world, and is read by over 3 million people daily.

10. Diabetic’s concern : BLOOD SUGAR

Diabetes is a group of disorders characterized by high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s failure to make enough insulin, a hormone that promotes the absorption of glucose from the blood. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body’s cells fail to respond properly to insulin.

12. Holy smoke : INCENSE

Incense is a plant material that gives off a pleasant-smelling smoke when burned. Examples of such material are camphor, frankincense, balsam, myrrh and sandalwood. The term “incense” describes the material that is burned, and not the smoke or aroma that is given off.

18. Former Education secretary Duncan : ARNE

Long before Arne Duncan became Secretary of Education he was a professional basketball player, but not in the NBA. Duncan played for the National Basketball League of Australia, for the Eastside Spectres in Melbourne.

22. Golfer Michelle : WIE

Michelle Wie is an American golfer on the LPGA Tour. Wie began playing golf at the age of four and was the youngest player ever to qualify for an LPGA tour event. She turned pro just before her 16th birthday …

24. Kirk __, first movie Superman : ALYN

Kirk Alyn was the actor who played the title role in the first ever “Superman” movie, way back in 1948. Alyn reprised the role in a 1950 sequel called “Atom Man V. Superman”.

25. Last Super Bowl won by the Giants : XLVI

Super Bowl XLVI was played at the end of the 2011 season, with the New York Giants emerging victorious over the New England Patriots with a score of 21-17. MVP for the game was Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

27. Capital of Barbados : BRIDGETOWN

Bridgetown is the largest city and capital of the island nation of Barbados. Barbados was uninhabited when the British landed there in 1625. Permanent English settlers established a settlement in the area now known as Bridgetown three years later, in 1628. The settlement had grown by the 1650s into what was called the Town of Saint Michael. The name changed to Bridgetown following the construction of a new bridge over the Constitution River that runs through the town in 1654. As an aside, Bridgetown was the only city that George Washington ever visited that was located outside of the United States.

31. PC key : ESC

The escape key (Esc) was originally used to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.

32. MapQuest output: Abbr. : RTE

MapQuest is a very popular Internet site, one that provides driving directions and maps. MapQuest has been owned by AOL since 2000. One nice feature of MapQuest is a page where gas prices are recorded by users, allowing others to find the lowest price in their area.

35. Oldest Brady boy : GREG

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

38. Accessory for Mr. Peanut : MONOCLE

Planters is the company with the Mr. Peanut icon. Mr. Peanut was the invention of a first-grader named Antonio Gentile, a young man who won a design contest in 1916. A remarkable achievement, I’d say …

39. Ambien, vis-à-vis sleep : INDUCER

Ambien is a brand name for the prescription drug Zolpidem. I have a friend who used to swear by it for helping cope with jet lag. I once had to deal with jet lag almost monthly and swear by the diet supplement melatonin, which you can buy over the counter here in the US. But, I am no doctor so don’t listen to anything I say …

We can use the French phrase “vis-à-vis” as a preposition meaning “compared with”. When used as an adverb or adjective, it means “face-to-face”, which is a more literal translation from French.

43. “Into Thin Air” peak : EVEREST

Mount Everest was first summited in 1953 by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepalese sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Hillary and Norgay were part of an expedition from which two pairs of climbers were selected to make a summit attempt. The first pair were Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans, and they came within 330 feet of their goal but had to turn back. The expedition sent up the second pair two days later, and history was made on 29 May 1953.

“Into Thin Air” is a 1997 book by Jon Krakauer in which he gives a firsthand account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. That disaster was centered on a rogue storm that enveloped the summit of the mountain and led to the death of eight climbers. The book was adapted into an intense 1997 TV movie of the same name.

46. Workplaces for LPNs : ERS

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) might work in an operating room (OR), emergency room (ER) or an intensive care unit (ICU).

47. Green Gables girl : ANNE

“Anne of Green Gables” is a 1908 novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery that she set in the fictional Prince Edward Island community of Avonlea. Montgomery wrote several sequels to “Anne”, with them all being set on Prince Edward Island (PEI), from where the author hailed.

50. “Hamlet” courtier : OSRIC

In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, Osric is the courtier that Claudius dispatches to invite Hamlet to participate in a duel.

58. Con man’s target : SAP

“Sap” is slang for a fool, someone easily scammed. The term arose in the early 1800s in Britain when it was used in “saphead” and “sapskull”. All these words derive from “sapwood”, which is the soft wood found in tree trunks between the bark and the heartwood at the center.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Chickens (out) : WIMPS

6. Lay eyes on : ESPY

10. Judge’s setting : BAIL

14. Like kindling when lit : AFIRE

15. Advil target : ACHE

16. Insulate, as a jacket : LINE

17. *Process of electron gain or loss : IONIZATION

19. Killer whale : ORCA

20. Cereal with lemony lemon and orangey orange flavors : TRIX

21. Falling-out : RIFT

22. Bryn Mawr undergrads : WOMEN

23. Have a bawl : SOB

24. *Beneficial substance in berries : ANTIOXIDANT

26. Lacking the skill : UNABLE

28. Not as much : LESS SO

29. Katy who voiced Smurfette in “The Smurfs” : PERRY

30. “Jeopardy!” creator Griffin : MERV

33. Takes off the shelf : USES

34. *Eating : INGESTING

37. At the center of : AMID

40. Compete in a sack : RACE

41. Lets up : EASES

45. Asian rice porridge : CONGEE

47. Show up : ARRIVE

48. *London subway system, with “the” : UNDERGROUND

52. Bus. card info : TEL

53. Highly recommends : TOUTS

54. “Monday Night Countdown” airer : ESPN

55. Cruciverbalist Reagle of “Wordplay” : MERL

56. Danish shoe company : ECCO

57. Each answer to a starred clue begins and ends with identical ones : THREESOMES

59. Big bunch : SLEW

60. Golf game spoiler : RAIN

61. Sailor’s “Halt!” : AVAST!

62. Gull relative : TERN

63. Start of a preschool song : ABCD …

64. __-Bismol : PEPTO

Down

1. Watches late TV until a teen comes home, say : WAITS UP

2. “From my perspective … ” : I FOR ONE …

3. Hotel room amenity : MINI-BAR

4. Amount to pay in Calais : PRIX

5. “__ who?” : SEZ

6. Absorb the loss : EAT IT

7. “The Martian” genre : SCI-FI

8. Snapchat upload : PHOTO

9. Nikkei index currency : YEN

10. Diabetic’s concern : BLOOD SUGAR

11. High behind a front, e.g. : AIR MASS

12. Holy smoke : INCENSE

13. Campsite shelters : LEAN-TOS

18. Former Education secretary Duncan : ARNE

22. Golfer Michelle : WIE

24. Kirk __, first movie Superman : ALYN

25. Last Super Bowl won by the Giants : XLVI

27. Capital of Barbados : BRIDGETOWN

30. “Tell __ story” : ME A

31. PC key : ESC

32. MapQuest output: Abbr. : RTE

35. Oldest Brady boy : GREG

36. Geeky sort : NERD

37. Most severe : ACUTEST

38. Accessory for Mr. Peanut : MONOCLE

39. Ambien, vis-à-vis sleep : INDUCER

42. Webpage index : SITE MAP

43. “Into Thin Air” peak : EVEREST

44. Does business with : SELLS TO

46. Workplaces for LPNs : ERS

47. Green Gables girl : ANNE

49. Post-op therapy : REHAB

50. “Hamlet” courtier : OSRIC

51. Flip over : UPEND

55. Bit of chess action : MOVE

57. __-la-la : TRA

58. Con man’s target : SAP

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11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 5 Apr 17, Wednesday”

  1. 12:08, no errors.

    This web page just reloaded itself, wiping out a long message I was composing, and I haven’t the time to start over. Grrrrr … ?

    @Sfingi … While I agree that pen-and-paper solves and online solves are different, I don’t think they are as different as you have sometimes suggested. In particular, as I have said before, error-checking (which would drive me nuts) is a feature that one does not have to turn on. Over the last year, after a rocky start, I have gotten pretty good with the online tools I use and, as Glenn says, there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods.

    The only online Sudoku tool I have used myself is one that I wrote and it was a bit clumsy to use as a replacement for pen-and-paper solves (mostly because of the underlying platform on which it was based). I eventually just turned it into a solver and let it do all the work ?. (I still use it occasionally, when I get stuck on a Sudoku and want to gauge its intrinsic difficulty level.) I have watched others use Sudoku apps and was unimpressed.

    Well, I’ll leave it at that (for fear this page is about to reload itself again … )

  2. Best part of this puzzle was trying to figure out the theme as I filled in the puzzle. Embarrassingly enough I never did until I got the theme key answer, 57A, then I just felt a little foolish for missing it. Pretty obvious in retrospect.

    Finished error free, but the last letter I filled in was the E where CONGEE and ERS meet. It could have been the oR and CONGoE for all I knew. CONGEE sounds like something that was invented by accident when someone fell asleep cooking rice.

    Had to laugh at Tony’s comments yesterday regarding Sunday’s puzzle. That grid caused a lot of people some teeth gnashing – myself included. Tony – I’m curious if the comments matched your own thoughts well enough…

    Best –

    1. Hi Jeff. I call that Sunday grid solving experience either a grind (in which I never get any solving rhythm going and am grinding out every answer) or my “hunt & peck” solving system in which I keep going around and around the grid trying to fill in any letters I can, even if that means only adding an “s” if I think the answer is plural. And that’s how found this past Sunday’s LAT’s grid. It’s how I solve most of the NYT’s Sunday grids too.

      I found today’s LAT’s puzzle much tougher than the usual Tuesday example. I got it filled in but I found the NW corner a challenge.

  3. Aaach! Done in on a Wednesday!
    ACUTEST/CONGEE, ALYN,WIE, BRIDGETOWN. etc.
    So much I didn’t know today.
    The theme totally eluded me to boot.

  4. Zero errors, 26 minutes on the WSJ. One Error, 30 minutes on the CHE. Working on a puzzle I recently found and haven’t named here at the moment. Haven’t gotten to this one yet (this tin-can Internet wasn’t working last night when they posted it). Probably will post on this one in an hour or so though if everything works out, along with early week NYT (on the other blog).

    @Tony
    While I wouldn’t go as far as Jeff says (“teeth gnashing”), efforts like that do make me wonder. For right now, I’m all over the board on things, which makes me question whether the difficulty of things vary that widely or whether it’s something mental about me at the time. That’s why I went ahead and posted my NYT time then (and at other times). It’s weird to me that I can struggle so much sometimes, like with the LAT last Sunday, and then utterly destroy (as much as my mental and writing ability allows) the NYT last Sunday and the Newsday grids (33 minutes two Sundays ago, 43 minutes last Sunday). Maybe the difficulty is that broad on particular days. Maybe it’s a function of experience (like the Wed/Thu WSJ I struggle with like that sometimes as well)? Of course, it feels to me like I’ve regressed a ton in the last couple of months on themeless grids – maybe those have gotten harder in general? I don’t know. I ask a lot of questions like this that there really aren’t any good forums to discuss simply because I am new to this and not sure what is “normal” in a lot of cases for someone in learning these.

    @Dave
    I would say they’re quite different, to the point of being two different games. At least for me, the experience varies that much between online and paper. Some of it are those advantages and disadvantages and that you can’t do certain things, but a lot of it is having to focus on the paper and be able to multi-task (write while searching other things). That’s why I made the “ditch online” comment in reference to the ACPT – and I know Bill’s testimony here seems to point towards that – and the fact that I’ve noticed several of the top finishers never do puzzles online. But different experiences for different people, I suppose? All I can do is relate my own and what I observe.

    1. Okay. A grid like this today is something that really sets the difference out to me of online to paper. I filled the grid in 9:27, and stared at it until 13:16 until I finally saw my typo and finished it (and probably wouldn’t have made the same mistake on paper). Too easy to make mistakes and spend ages looking at the grid to try to see them. I definitely see why “red letters” are a feature with online stuff. It is ANNOYING!

  5. @Kennison and @Glenn – thanx for responding.

    @Pookie – I used the theme to solve, second time this week, and without Googling, ended up with these words filled in I really didn’t know: ALYN, MERL, CONGEE, BRIDGETOWN.

    I’ve been doing Trivia games on my iPhone and have found that my weakest area, no surprise, is sports. But something I hadn’t thought about, Pop breaks down to old and young. I’m old and good at that – movies, singers, etc. and poor at young – and have no desire to learn more in that category. But it has led me to look close at what I don’t “get” in crosswords, and it’s young Pop.
    I’ve dropped many types of games on my phone for many reasons. Tripeaks because I finally saw it was more chance than art; Spider because I began to call it the “undo” game. I see myself dropping crosswords as the week gets much harder by Friday than it used to because of both the influence of the on-line demanding more and because I’m not keeping up with young Pop culture.
    I think I’ll start working on filling out my on-line Ancestry.

  6. The puzzle was a great challenge for me, but I enjoyed it very much. Very clever cluing and lots of puns. My time was way off, but I had a good time. Thank you Mark.

    On Merl Reagle, as I’m sure Bill knows, at the ACPT 2017, …. there was an award presented by his wife/ soulmate, in Merl’s honor. This link is from the NY Times.
    Great man, I hope to solve one of his puzzles, someday, soon.

    Thank you Bill, I hope to buy a pair of ECCO shoes, if I can find a store near me.

    I got caught up with some urgent work, so this post is six hours too late.
    Have a nice day, all.

  7. Greg Brady was played by Barry Williams on the original “Brady Bunch.” Christopher Daniels Barnes played Greg Brady in two movies.

  8. Got interrupted by a phone call and the need to go to the grocery store before it closed; finished with no errors, although I was wondering with CONGEE and ERS. Did have to look at IFORONE for awhile.

    Even though I’m fairly good with geography, I spaced on BRIDGETOWN and had to wait for some crosses.

    All in all a pretty fun puzzle and I’m guessing about 20 minutes without interruptions.

  9. Hi every buddy!!
    Missed ONE letter!!! I shoulda gotten it! I put in BRIDLETOWN, which sounds like a lovely place except that it DOESN’T EXIST!! That gave me CONLEE. Sounds like a delicious dish except that it DOESN’T EXIST!! Rats. Totally avoidable error; I just didn’t think it out.

    And once again my print-version puzzle was set by ATTENTION! Really want to know what’s going on there.

    @Bella, thanks! It does sound like a Laurel and Hardy thing.

    Be well~~™???

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