LA Times Crossword Answers 20 Sep 2017, Wednesday










Constructed by: Roger & Kathy Wienberg

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

Quicklink to comments

Theme: Scatterbrain

Each of today’s themed answers includes five circled letters SCATTERED throughout. Those letters spell out the word BRAIN:

  • 53A. Forgetful person literally indicated by this puzzle’s circles : SCATTERBRAIN
  • 19A. Bulb that’s more sweet than pungent : BERMUDA ONION
  • 31A. Basic two-element computation : BINARY OPERATION
  • 39A. Concern for a marketing department : PUBLIC RELATIONS

Bill’s time: 5m 48s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

6. “London Fields” writer Martin : AMIS

I suppose the successful English novelist Martin Amis must have writing in his blood. He is the son of the respected author Kingsley Amis, a Booker Prize winner. Martin Amis’s best-known novels comprise his so-called “London Trilogy” consisting of “Money” (1984), “London Fields” (1989) and “The Information” (1995).

10. Serengeti grazer : GNU

A gnu is also known as a wildebeest, and is an antelope native to Africa. Wildebeest is actually the Dutch word for “wild beast”.

The Serengeti is a region in Africa that is located in northern Tanzania and southwest Kenya. The name “Serengeti” comes from the Maasai language and means “Endless Plains”.

17. Mexican pyramid builder : AZTEC

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.

19. Bulb that’s more sweet than pungent : BERMUDA ONION

Bermuda has been a major producer of onions since the 1880s when seed was brought to the island from the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. Apparently, Ernest Hemingway was a fan of Bermuda onions. While buying some at a market he met a man called Gregorio Fuentes, who Hemingway ended up hiring as the first mate of his boat. Some say that Fuentes was the inspiration for Santiago, the protagonist in “The Old Man and the Sea”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

22. Quarterback Dawson : LEN

Len Dawson is a retired AFL-NFL quarterback who played for the Kansas City Chiefs (originally known as the Dallas Texans).

23. Renewable fuel made from organic matter : BIOGAS

Biogas is mixture of methane and carbon dioxide resulting from the breakdown of organic matter by anaerobic bacteria. Biogas is used as a renewable energy source, as it is produced from recycled waste.

30. Tokyo, long ago : EDO

Edo is the former name of the Japanese city of Tokyo. Edo was the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate, a feudal regime that ruled from 1603 until 1868. The shogun lived in the magnificent Edo Castle. Some parts of the original castle remain and today’s Tokyo Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor of Japan, was built on its grounds.

31. Basic two-element computation : BINARY OPERATION

We use a base-ten numbering system, with ten digits (0 – 9). The binary system, or base two, uses just two digits (0 & 1). The binary system is used at a fundamental level in computing, because the number 0 and 1 can be represented by microcircuits being switched “on” or “off”.

44. One of the Galápagos, e.g.: Abbr. : ISL

The Galápagos Islands lie over 500 miles west of Ecuador. The Galápagos owe their celebrity to the voyage of HMS Beagle which landed there in 1835, with Charles Darwin on board. It was Darwin’s study of various species on the islands that inspired him to postulate his Theory of Evolution.

46. Cartoon frame : CEL

In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

49. Justice Dept. division : DEA

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was set up in 1973 while President Nixon was in office.

50. Car stat with city and hwy. components : MPG

Miles per gallon (mpg)

57. Fundraising portmanteau : WALKATHON

A portmanteau was a large suitcase, one that could be taken apart into two separate pieces. The word “portmanteau” is French for a “travelling bag”, from “porter” (to carry) and “manteau” (a coat, cloak). We also use “portmanteau” to mean a word that has been melded together from two parts (just as the suitcase comprised two parts). This usage was introduced to the world by Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. He explained to Alice that the nonsense words in the “Jabberwocky” poem were actually portmanteau words. For example “slithy” comes from from “slimy” and “lithe”.

60. “You Don’t Join Us, We Join You” insurance company : AETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mt. Etna, the European volcano.

61. “Monday Night Football” airer before ESPN : ABC SPORTS

“Monday Night Football” aired on ABC from 1970 until 2005, before moving to ESPN in 2006.

Down

2. Chisel’s cutting edge : BEZEL

A bezel is a groove which is designed to hold a beveled edge. An example would be the groove around the face of a watch, which accepts the beveled edge of a watch crystal.

8. “__ See for Miles”: The Who : I CAN

“I Can See for Miles” is the biggest selling single for the Who in the United States, and it’s a song that’s got added exposure when it was adopted as the theme tune for the TV show “CSI: Cyber”.

10. “Today” rival, familiarly : GMA

“Good Morning America” (GMA) is ABC’s morning show, and has been since 1975. There was even a spinoff show called “Good Afternoon America”, although that only lasted for a few months in 2012.

NBC’s “Today” was launched in 1952, becoming the first of the morning news/talk shows on US television. The show’s first host was Dave Garroway, who was at the helm until 1961. Back in those days, “Today” had a mascot who often appeared on air with Garroway: a chimpanzee named J. Fred Muggs.

11. Fish-fowl link : NOR

Something that is “neither fish nor fowl” is not recognizable, is not familiar at all.

15. Beethoven’s Third : EROICA

Beethoven originally dedicated his “Symphony No. 3” to Napoleon Bonaparte. Beethoven admired the principles of the French Revolution and as such respected Bonaparte who was “born” out of the uprising. When Napoleon declared himself Emperor, Beethoven (and much of Europe) saw this as a betrayal to the ideals of the revolution so he changed the name of his new symphony from “Bonaparte” to “Eroica”, meaning “heroic, valiant”.

16. Nevada city near Tahoe : RENO

Reno, Nevada was named in honor of Major General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer killed in the Civil War. The city has a famous “Reno Arch”, a structure that stands over the main street. The arch was erected in 1926 to promote an exposition planned for the following year. After the expo, the city council decided to keep the arch and held a competition to decide what wording should be displayed, and the winner was “The Biggest Little City in the World”.

24. Company with “save you 15%” ads : GEICO

GEICO was founded in 1936 with a very specific mission, to provide auto insurance for employees of the federal government and their families, hence the name Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO). GEICO is a private company, despite the word “government” in its name. The founders’ idea was to focus on government employees as they believed such a group represented a lower risk profile than the rest of the population. Nowadays any qualifying person can take out a policy with GEICO.

26. Loudness units : SONES

In the world of acoustics, the sone was introduced as a unit of perceived loudness in 1936.

27. Astronomer Sagan : CARL

Carl Sagan was a brilliant astrophysicist and a great communicator. Sagan was famous for presenting obscure concepts about the cosmos in such a way that we mere mortals could appreciate. He also wrote the novel “Contact” which was adapted into a fascinating 1997 film of the same name starring Jodie Foster.

31. Hasbro game requiring quick reflexes : BOP IT

Bop It is a line of toys with a speaker that issues commands to activate input devices on the toy, devices such as handles, cranks, wheels and switches. The commands come in a series of increasing length, and at increasing speed. So, I guess Bop It is a test of memory and dexterity.

35. Elongated comet part : TAIL

Comets and asteroids are similar, both being relatively small celestial bodies orbiting the sun. Comets differ from asteroids in that they have a coma or tail, especially when they are close enough to the sun. The coma and tail are temporary fuzzy atmospheres that develop due to the presence of solar radiation. Comets are sometimes referred to as “dirty snowballs”, a reference to their composition: rock, dust, water ice and frozen gases.

40. Arctic covering : ICE CAP

The polar ice cap at the north of our planet is floating pack ice in the Arctic Ocean. The southern polar ice cap is an ice sheet that covers the land mass known as Antarctica. About 70% of all the freshwater on Earth is held in the southern polar ice cap.

41. Museum manager : CURATOR

The term “curator” is Latin and applies to a manager, guardian or overseer. In English, the original curators were the guardians and overseers of minors and those with mental disease.

42. Big name in PCs : ACER

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I used to visit a lot when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …

43. Lipton pouches : TEA BAGS

Sir Thomas Lipton was a grocer in Glasgow, Scotland. He founded a tea packing company in North America in 1893, in Hoboken, New Jersey. He was very successful as his blends of tea became popular in the US. Despite the Lipton roots in the UK, Lipton black tea isn’t available there, so I’ve always thought of it as an American brand.

50. Passover cracker : MATZO

Matzo is an unleavened bread that is very brittle. The bread is crushed, creating Matzo meal that is then formed into balls using eggs and oil as a binder. The balls are usually served in a chicken stock.

58. Prez in a stovepipe hat : ABE

A stovepipe hat is also known as a top hat.

59. Type of TV display : LCD

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) are the screens that are found in most laptops today, and in flat panel computer screens and some televisions. LCD monitors basically replaced Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens, the old television technology.

Return to top of page

Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Helps illegally : ABETS

6. “London Fields” writer Martin : AMIS

10. Serengeti grazer : GNU

13. French name meaning “born again” : RENEE

14. Goal-oriented suburban parent? : SOCCER MOM

17. Mexican pyramid builder : AZTEC

18. Late with one’s payments : IN ARREARS

19. Bulb that’s more sweet than pungent : BERMUDA ONION

21. Scheming : SLY

22. Quarterback Dawson : LEN

23. Renewable fuel made from organic matter : BIOGAS

27. Crow’s cry : CAW!

28. Building guideline : SPEC

30. Tokyo, long ago : EDO

31. Basic two-element computation : BINARY OPERATION

36. “Want the light __ not?” : ON OR

37. “Golly!” : GEE!

38. Good-sized backyard : ACRE

39. Concern for a marketing department : PUBLIC RELATIONS

44. One of the Galápagos, e.g.: Abbr. : ISL

45. Fed a line to : CUED

46. Cartoon frame : CEL

47. Balance precariously : TEETER

49. Justice Dept. division : DEA

50. Car stat with city and hwy. components : MPG

53. Forgetful person literally indicated by this puzzle’s circles : SCATTERBRAIN

57. Fundraising portmanteau : WALKATHON

60. “You Don’t Join Us, We Join You” insurance company : AETNA

61. “Monday Night Football” airer before ESPN : ABC SPORTS

62. Lingering looks : GAZES

63. Deleted, with “out” : XED

64. Scheme : RUSE

65. Wade noisily : SLOSH

Down

1. Many Mideast natives : ARABS

2. Chisel’s cutting edge : BEZEL

3. Contest submission : ENTRY

4. Abound (with) : TEEM

5. Not connected to the church : SECULAR

6. From Thailand, say : ASIAN

7. Like old records : MONO

8. “__ See for Miles”: The Who : I CAN

9. Metal-marking tool : SCRIBER

10. “Today” rival, familiarly : GMA

11. Fish-fowl link : NOR

12. Hesitation sounds : UMS

15. Beethoven’s Third : EROICA

16. Nevada city near Tahoe : RENO

20. Like morning grass : DEWY

24. Company with “save you 15%” ads : GEICO

25. Beautify : ADORN

26. Loudness units : SONES

27. Astronomer Sagan : CARL

28. Ignore the limit : SPEED

29. Spa treatment : PEEL

31. Hasbro game requiring quick reflexes : BOP IT

32. Unavailable : IN USE

33. Duke or duchess : NOBLE

34. Fairy tale brute : OGRE

35. Elongated comet part : TAIL

40. Arctic covering : ICE CAP

41. Museum manager : CURATOR

42. Big name in PCs : ACER

43. Lipton pouches : TEA BAGS

48. Disdainful clicks : TSKS

49. Like thick fog : DENSE

50. Passover cracker : MATZO

51. Needle bearers : PINES

52. Grind, as teeth : GNASH

54. Drive-__ window : THRU

55. Youngsters : TOTS

56. Legitimate : REAL

57. Car wash extra : WAX

58. Prez in a stovepipe hat : ABE

59. Type of TV display : LCD

Return to top of page

9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 20 Sep 2017, Wednesday”

  1. LAT: 7:41, no errors.

    WSJ: 13:49, no errors. The clue for 53D was interesting: “Putin ally”. Five letters. Hmm … whatever could it be? A bit of political commentary/humor from the setter?

    @Carrie … “Vatican Rag” is an all-time favorite of mine. Just thinking about it makes me smile. In fact, I know most of the lyrics to quite a few of Tom Lehrer’s songs … ?

    Anticipating a (very expensive) dental appointment this afternoon, as I’m having yet another crown installed on yet another titanium post. Just call me BM.

    No, silly, not that! Bionic Mouth, of course … ?

  2. 16 minutes and change last night. I did this after the NYT which was easier than this one. More circles…

    I guess peat qualifies as biogas so would scotch be a renewable fuel?

    Very well, Dave, henceforth BM it is……

    Best –

  3. I did not know what BM stood for …. so I had to Google it. A common bodily function…. Anyway, now I know. ( I shoulda known, since 30 years ago, when my kids were small, my wife often referred to that. But that was 30 years ago. … )

    I had a good time with the puzzle … somewhat challenging … but I did get the theme, thanks to the circles, which I belatedly noticed.

    LCD’s developed out of some work done at Kent State University, about 30 miles away, from here …. although the university is better remembered for the Viet Nam protest movement and shootings by some Ohio State troopers …..

    Re: The Aztec Pyramids – now this is a question I expect Jeff to have asked – I wonder how they knew that 84.400 humans were sacrificed – did they keep notes ? Did this follow some sort of a mathematical algorithm ?

    On Bermuda Onions … IMHO, an onion without pungency, is a waste of time, money and effort ….
    And I thought Biogas was that released by the cows, that adds so mightily to global warming.

    Thank you, Bill, for Eroica, which I keep confusing with erotica …. heroic/ eroic …. got it.
    Have a nice day, folks.

  4. I managed to get through another Tim Croce puzzle (#289) with two letters in error. No timing, but I worked on it for at least thirty minutes before leaving the house, another fifteen minutes while waiting for the dentist, and another thirty minutes at home. If I had spent another five minutes checking it over, I might have fixed the errors, but … c’est la vie … I’m just glad to have finished it. Some of Mr. Croce’s clues are little short of evil! ? But I learn a lot from his puzzles. ?

    Oh, and my trip to the dentist has left me another $2495 poorer! (But insurance may pick up some of that, so I’m not complaining, no, not me.)

  5. Really quick Wednesday, but I had to run to a store in the middle before finishing, so…20 minutes or so, if I leave that time out of it. Had to change TadS to TOTS, but that’s it.

    As the circled letters evolved, I thought we were getting a zombie theme, but alas not. I guess that would’ve been “brains.”

    Thought of Jeff when I got to “Ignore the limit”, although I would’ve surely done the same. I remember being on I-10 going to Tucson going 80 when all of a sudden cars started passing me, after leaving Palm Springs. Then I saw the speed limit, so…naturally I sped up to 90 on my brand new bike.

  6. Hi all!
    Finíshed successfully, but not without complications. I had PEDI before PEEL, and I couldn’t figure out EROICA for awhile. Vidwan, I also thought EROTICA!! Great minds think alike, etc… ?
    Dave–LOL!! ? I never knew who did Vatican Rag (tho I used to know all the words to that one!!) so I had to Google Tom Lehrer. Apparently he wrote it as a satire addressing the Vatican 2 changes in the Catholic church. I attended Catholic school, and I remember how the religion became less formal in the late 60s. Nuns’ habits no longer reached the floor — they were knee length!! ? And we’d sing religious folk songs instead of just hymns.
    Back tomorrow!
    Be well~~™???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.