LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Nov 2017, Saturday



Constructed by: Greg Johnson
Edited by: Rich Norris



Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 8m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0


Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies


13. Leader of the track : PACE CAR

In automobile racing, a pace car is used for safety when there is an obstruction on the track. The pace car enters the track in front of the leader and slows the racing cars to what is deemed to be a safe speed. While the pace car is on the track, the competitors cannot pass the pace car and nor can they pass each other. When the pace car exits the track, the race resumes.

16. Immediate slap shot after receiving a pass, in hockey : ONE-TIMER

A slap shot in ice hockey involves slapping the ice just behind the puck with the stick, causing the stick to bend and store up extra energy. When the stick finally hits the puck, all that extra energy is released along with the energy from the swing resulting in the hardest shot in hockey.

18. Biology notebook doodle : AMOEBA

An ameba (or “amoeba”, as we spell it back in Ireland) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

19. __ Mahal : TAJ

“Mahal” is the Urdu word for “palace”, as in “Taj Mahal” meaning “crown of palaces”. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum holding the body of Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The name “Mumtaz Mahal” translates as “the chosen one of the palace”.

20. Parsons School sketches : DESIGNS

The Parsons School of Design is a private school in New York’s Greenwich Village. Parsons was established in 1896 by artist William Merritt Chase as the Chase School, and was renamed two years later to the New York School of Art. Frank Alvah Parsons joined the school as a teacher in 1904, and soon after became president. His contributions to the school’s success was recognized in 1936 when it was renamed again, to the Parsons School of Design.

23. “A Jug of Wine … ” poet : OMAR

Here are some lines by 11th-century poet Omar Khayyam:

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread–and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness–
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

30. Blue ghost in Pac-Man : INKY

The Pac-Man arcade game was first released in Japan in 1980, and is as popular today as it ever was. The game features characters that are maneuvered around the screen to eat up dots and earn points. The name comes from the Japanese folk hero “Paku”, known for his voracious appetite. The spin-off game called Ms. Pac-Man was released in 1981.

37. Order of encyclopedias : A TO Z

An encyclopedia is a compendium reference work containing summary information about a branch of knowledge, or about all knowledge. The word “encyclopedia” comes from the Greek “enkyklios paideia” meaning “general education”, or literally “general rearing of a child”.

42. Cook seen on TV specials : DANE

Dane Cook is a stand-up comedian who has had a number of roles in movies as well. He had a setback handling the income he was earning from his work though back in 2008. His half-brother had been his business manager up to that point and it was discovered that he had embezzled millions of dollars from Dane. The half-brother and his wife are now in prison for the crime.

44. Cover on the street : PAVE

Back in Ireland, the “pavement” is what we call the “footpath” (because the footpath is “paved”, often with “paving” stones!). It’s very confusing when you arrive in this country from Ireland, and a little dangerous when one has been taught from a young age to “walk on the pavement” …

45. GI grub : MRE

The Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) comes in a lightweight package that’s easy to tote around. The MRE replaced the more cumbersome Meal, Combat, Individual (MCI) in 1981, a meal-in-a-can. In turn, the MCI had replaced the C-ration in 1958, a less sophisticated meal-in-a-can with a more limited choice.

50. Leaning to the right, in a way : ITALIC

Italic type leans to the right, and is often used to provide emphasis in text. The style is known as “italic” because the stylized calligraphic form of writing originated in Italy, probably in the Vatican.

52. Cheese from the Italian for “sheep” : PECORINO

Pecorino is a family of hard cheeses from Italy, with the name coming from the Italian “pecora” meaning “sheep”. The most famous variety here in North America is Pecorino Romano, which we often refer to simply as “Romano”.


2. Southernmost location in continental North America : PANAMA

The nation that we now know as Panama sits on an isthmus that formed about 3 million years ago. The isthmus was the result of a land bridge forming between North and South America as two tectonic plates of the Earth’s crust slowly collided. Man first attempted to create a waterway across the Isthmus of Panama in 1881, but the 48-mile long Panama Canal only opened for business in 1914.

8. Stage embarrassments : HAMS

The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is apparently a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.

12. Dallas plaza in 1963 headlines : DEALEY

Dealey Plaza is a square in downtown Dallas that was the location of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The plaza is mainly a city park, one that was completed in 1940 as a project funded by the WPA. The name honors George Bannerman Dealey, publisher of “The Dallas Morning News”.

32. “The Kite Runner” boy : AMIR

“The Kite Runner” was the first novel by Khaled Hosseini, published in 2003. The very successful book became an equally successful film released in 2007. “The Kite Runner” tells the story of a young boy called Amir growing up in Kabul, Afghanistan. Hosseini is a medical doctor, but after the success of “The Kite Runner” he gave up his practice and is now a fulltime write. His second book “A Thousand Splendid Suns” is also a great success.

33. Pre-metalworking period : STONE AGE

Ancient societies can be classified by the “three-age system”, which depends on the prevalence of materials used to make tools. The three ages are:

  • The Stone Age
  • The Bronze Age
  • The Iron Age

The actual dates defined by each age depend on the society, as the timing of the transition from the use of one material to another varied around the globe.

36. Spring festival focus : TULIP

Tulip festivals are held in a few cities around the world. The largest of these is the Canadian Tulip Festival that is held every year in the capital city of Ottawa. The tradition of growing tulips in Ottawa really started at the end of WWII. The Dutch royal family presented the city with 100,000 tulip bulbs as an act of thank for having sheltered Princess Juliana and her children while the Nazis occupied the Netherlands. The first Canadian Tulip Festival took place in 1953.

41. Red herrings, perhaps : DECOYS

The exact origin of the term “red herring”, meaning “something that misleads”, isn’t known. The most common explanation for the use of the phrase is that kippers (strong-smelling smoked herrings) were used to by fugitives to distract bloodhounds who were on their trail. Kippers become red-colored during the smoking process, and are no longer “white herrings”.

46. Arcade game ender : TILT

In a game of pinball, some players get an irresistible urge to “nudge” the machine . Such a nudge, a movement of the machine designed to influence the path taken by the ball, is called a “tilt”. Most pinball machines have sensors designed to detect a tilt, and when activated a “tilt” warning light comes on and the player’s controls are temporarily disabled.

47. Harbor hauler : SCOW

A scow is a flat-bottomed boat with squared-off ends that’s often used for transportation, usually pushed or pulled by a barge. Often a scow can be seen carrying junk or garbage.

51. “Hotel du __”: Anita Brookner novel : LAC

Anita Brookner is a British novelist and art historian. Brookner’s fourth book was “Hotel du Lac”, which was published in 1984 and won that year’s Booker Prize.

53. Light color : RED

The first traffic lights date back to 1868 when they were installed outside the Houses of Parliament in London. They resembled the signals already in use for trains, with semaphore arms and red and green gas lamps for nighttime use. That first system was operated manually, by a policeman at the base. Sadly, one police officer was killed, just one year after the light’s installation, when the gas system exploded.


Complete List of Clues/Answers


1. __ cord : SPINAL
7. Considered, with “on” : CHEWED
13. Leader of the track : PACE CAR
15. “To the end of the block! C’mon!” : RACE ME!
16. Immediate slap shot after receiving a pass, in hockey : ONE-TIMER
18. Biology notebook doodle : AMOEBA
19. __ Mahal : TAJ
20. Parsons School sketches : DESIGNS
22. __ Kan: Alpo rival : KAL
23. “A Jug of Wine … ” poet : OMAR
25. Brought along : TOOK
26. Plural contraction : WE’RE
27. Desk accessories : NAMEPLATES
30. Blue ghost in Pac-Man : INKY
31. Recycling center debris : GLASS SHARDS
33. Opposite of hastens : SLOWS
34. Gets under control : TAMES
35. “This doesn’t concern you” : STAY OUT OF IT
37. Order of encyclopedias : A TO Z
38. Shaking one’s head, maybe : FRUSTRATED
42. Cook seen on TV specials : DANE
43. Cut down : FELL
44. Cover on the street : PAVE
45. GI grub : MRE
46. Like the most substantial sum : TIDIEST
49. Social post : PIC
50. Leaning to the right, in a way : ITALIC
52. Cheese from the Italian for “sheep” : PECORINO
54. Entertain lavishly : REGALE
55. Strength : POTENCY
56. Puts up : ERECTS
57. Golfer’s short irons : WEDGES


1. 100% correct : SPOT ON
2. Southernmost location in continental North America : PANAMA
3. It may delay river traffic : ICE JAM
4. Realize : NET
5. Sour : ACID
6. “That’s so weak!” : LAME!
7. Engine part often connected to a flywheel : CRANKSHAFT
8. Stage embarrassments : HAMS
9. Prefix with tourist : ECO-
10. Time off for many : WEEKENDS
11. Boards a ship : EMBARKS
12. Dallas plaza in 1963 headlines : DEALEY
14. Lead-in to a promise : REST ASSURED
17. Gets out of control : RIOTS
21. Calls it a night : GOES TO SLEEP
24. Do some window maintenance : REGLAZE
26. Evidence-gathering device : WIRETAP
28. Tactic : PLOY
29. Some partners’ workplaces : LAW OFFICES
32. “The Kite Runner” boy : AMIR
33. Pre-metalworking period : STONE AGE
35. First course : STARTER
36. Spring festival focus : TULIP
37. Esteem : ADMIRE
39. Recording : TAPING
40. Show clearly : EVINCE
41. Red herrings, perhaps : DECOYS
46. Arcade game ender : TILT
47. Harbor hauler : SCOW
48. Handy bag : TOTE
51. “Hotel du __”: Anita Brookner novel : LAC
53. Light color : RED


24 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Nov 2017, Saturday”

  1. LAT: 36 minutes, no errors. A nice fun little romp. WSJ: 45 minutes, 3 very random dumb errors. Better than 2 weeks ago anyhow. Newsday: DNF after 2 hours with 90% filled and a couple dozen errors. While most of them are hard to even break into, they get really fun when you can. Unfortunately, there was too much confusion and shenanigans in that one for me to make any sense out of it. Some pure messes of editing and tense in that one (-ING in one clue that doesn’t appear in the answer, which doesn’t make sense, for instance), along with quite a few that make no sense at all to me after I see the answers. I’ll probably try to finish it out myself.

    Final thought on yesterday and all the comments: The funny part to me (and I’m not trying to insult), is that all these “long-timers” have never seen a grid like that. I’ve only been at this for 3 years, and knew what I was looking at when I figured it out by experience (in fact the WSJ ran a similar grid last week Sat, not the only other grid I’ve seen with UP answers in any fashion).

  2. LAT: 16:29, no errors. I did it last night after finishing a brutal NYT puzzle and I think I was still a little shell-shocked.

    WSJ: 26:59, no errors. Unremarkable.

    Newsday: untimed and unfinished, but only because I’m still staring at the lower left corner square, where 59D and 65A intersect; I can think of two possibilities, but am unwilling to commit … ?. The rest of the puzzle went pretty smoothly and I think it took about an hour. I started it last night more or less unintentionally – it was sitting there and I kind of got sucked in – after struggling painfully with the NYT puzzle, limping through the LAT puzzle, and more or less mastering the WSJ puzzle, so maybe I was cruising in recovery mode … ?.

    @Glenn … I assume the “ing” clue in the Stumper is the one for 23D (“Mitigating”)? Think of it as an adjective rather than a verb (as in “a mitigating circumstance”).

    I don’t know what to think of yesterday’s riot on this blog. Where did all those people come from, anyway? … ?

    1. So I finally gave up on the last square of the Saturday Stumper and looked up the answer: it turned out to be one of my two top choices. I guess I should have just flipped a coin … ?. Everything else was okay, though … ?

      1. Finished Friday’s Tim Croce puzzle (#313), with no errors, in 30 or 40 minutes; it really wasn’t too bad. However, I’m still working on #224 (from 2017/91/17); I have only filled in 79 out of 192 squares (~41%), some of which may be in error, and I seem to be completely stuck … but … I’ve been there before with some of his puzzles … ?.

        I just read Vidwan’s comments about tryptophan (below), which more or less confirmed my suspicions on the topic. Still, I think there ought to be a team, called the Tryptos, who play one game a year, on Thanksgiving, in the Trypto Bowl, before thousands of snoring Trypto Fans. They could use a frozen turkey in place of the traditional pigskin … ?

  3. @Dave now we see just how many read this blog but don’t contribute. At the beginning of today’s puzzle I thought, Oh no I’m in trouble again, but jumping to the crosses I found it to be lots of fun. One has to keep the faith!

    1. Re “Now we see just how many read this blog but don’t contribute”: True that. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was.

  4. This would have gone more smoothly had I not inked in “pole car” before I finally saw it had to be “pace car.” D’oh! Overall a pretty easy Saturday grid.

  5. This is a comment on yesterday’s puzzle and blog – that I didn’t get to , until early this morning…. I was very pleasantly and happily surprised to see ALL these people who commented …. and, as Dave K mentioned, where have they all been, all this time. ..?…

    Please, please continue to comment … if only so, that BIll feels that someone, and lots of “someones” are appreciating his sincere and dedicated efforts in his lifetime obsession !!@!!

    I had a tough time with yesterday’s puzzle, and could not make head or tail … er, head or foot out of it … until I came to Bill’s blog. I was, therefore, and appropriately quite delighted, that many, many other more experienced crossword solvers, – er, people – had such a problem with it !!@!

    I have come across this gimmick, once before, a long time ago. As Jeff would surmise, I have not attempted the NYT crosswords on Thursdays, lately, so I am not used to this level of difficulty.
    I remember a crossword in the LAT, about 3 years ago, probably a Friday puzzle too, ….. which had hebrew phrases in the long horizontal answers, which were spelt backwards …. because Hebrew, like Arabic, is read from right to left, and backwards through their books. That, also, elicited a lot of negative comments ….

    Have a nice weekend, all …. or, whats left of it.

  6. Thought I would have a hard time with this puzzle, but it turned out quite easy, especially for a Sat. Makes up for yesterday!

  7. Today the north west corner was the last to fall. Rest was very doable. I liked yesterdays puzzle! I prefer the one’s that make you get creative!

  8. I would like to comment on Jeff’s comment, yesterday, that solvers had overdosed on Trytophan …. and that the effect had ‘worn off in a hurry’.
    It was cute as common thinking goes – and I enjoyed it.
    However, with nothing better to do, I followed up on his sloughed off thoughts … and asked my wife …. who cared even less … and then decided to read up on Trytophan …

    According to some scholarly articles, including the Wiki article on Trytophan :

    1. The fact that there is supposedly, an ‘excess’ – or above normal amounts of Trytophan in turkey meat …. is a fallacy and erroneous folklore. Turkey meat, has, only an average amount of it, no more or less ….. like any other poultry meat … even if you overdose, or eat excessive amounts of it….

    2. The sleepiness, that is exhibited after a Thanksgiving day meal, is primarily because you have ODed on carbohydrates, accompanying the turkey. It is this excess …. (from Wiki, all – ) ….” …. ingestion of the meal rich in carbohydrates triggers the release of insulin … which stimulates the uptake of BCAA, ( branched chain amino acids ) but no trytophan into the muscle … which increases the ratio of Tryp vis a vis the BCAA in the brain … causing production of seratonin … and thereby eventually, melatonin in the pineal glands …. melatonin in the brain, promotes sleep …. thus “feast induced drowsiness” … or post prandial somnolence ( their words – ) … and hence sleep”. So, turkey meat alone, will not do the trick.

    Of course, alchohol definitely assists in this process.
    So, now we know. Or, rather, now I know.

  9. 22:02 for this one….thankfully.

    I needed an easy one – as Dave mentions, the NYT today is absolutely brutal. I had a DNF after 49 minutes. It was too much trouble to even cheat my way through. Even Bill had a time of 55 minutes. Glenn might know if that’s a record of some kind.

    Speaking of records, 33 comments yesterday might also be a record for this blog.

    @Tony –
    As to your last comment yesterday….you win. I thought I had exhausted all the puns to be had there….. 🙂

    Best –

    1. @Jeff
      >Glenn might know if that’s a record of some kind.

      For the time I scraped Bill’s blogs and recorded times (a time consuming activity too) to the end of June of this year on Saturdays, Bill had 28 DNFs. For the Saturday grids he did finish, he had 21 slower times than that. So arguably this Sat was his 50th toughest in the history of the blog.

  10. @Dave
    Yes, that would be the clue. My answer was ALLEVIATING, but the problem as usual when I look at any puzzle is that if I look at the clue and the answer and it still doesn’t make sense. (The worst is past/present tense stuff) And I didn’t see anything in the across answers at the bottom to indicate anything different. There’s a few like that in that puzzle. But usually with most of these (all the way back to Monday), if I see something that doesn’t make sense to me, I usually just accept it – this is where I get a lot of my random errors, but where I get a lot right too. This is because of my history of seeing much more weird stuff that actually *was* right. I don’t know if I’ll feel up to it when I get done, but I might post that particular grid on my blog as a review.

    @Dave, @Penny, @Vidwan
    From my last/first blog that got semi-popular, I noticed the view to comment ratio was anywhere from 100 to 200 to every 1 comment. I’d be curious to see how Bill’s blogs work in that regard (along with a statistical study, but that’s another subject). I second the comment about commenting for Bill’s blog. Part of what got me out of that other blog after about 5 years, besides some exceedingly poor life circumstances, was being ground down by putting all the work I did into it (6-8 hours per post on average) and getting so little appreciation back from the readership. And not really being able to post regularly, as a blog requires for people to read well. And needing to worry about financial priorities much more (still having to, sadly). Dave: This writing burnout is part of why I haven’t gotten the DNF issue, and a couple of other posts on the crossword blog yet and haven’t posted more grid reviews than I did. I definitely will post when I get the DNF one put up. But I definitely got burned out again on the crossword blog.

    The crossword grid posts I’ve done are much less of an investment (about 1 hr per post). I can imagine since Bill does it so much more, that it’s a bigger time drain per day. But still, the time investment on doing these isn’t small by any stretch of the imagination. Any time you can show appreciation to the blogs that provide content that you enjoy, by all means do it.

  11. for years your website faithfully opened up to the crossword answers period. Possible digression coming later. Now I can’t find the answers on the page, only discussions I might glance at later—-where are my answers?——-Please give us back the normal format–thanks!
    (Saving us time is a bigger part of your service)

    1. @Fred … This is Bill Butler’s LA Times crossword blog, and its format has not changed significantly in some time, so I think you may have navigated to a different web site than you are used to. Perhaps you were thinking of the following site:

      In any case, the answers are here: Just use the link (at the top of this page and highlighted in red) to “… a complete list of answers”.

      Hope this helps …

  12. I can’t help but wonder if Fred’s post (above) explains some of the unusually high traffic yesterday. Some of those posts were from people who, like Fred, left me with the impression that they thought they were writing to someone at the LA Times itself.

  13. Man, I feel like I’ve missed so much again. Between having family at my house and having to drive an hour to my parents’ house the last few days I haven’t had a chance to work on the puzzles. After reading comments for today and Friday I think I will definitely have to work on those puzzles!

    I was shocked at the amount of comments yesterday. Either lots of people coming out of the woodwork or as Fred stated they went to the wrong site. Definitely made me think of Dave’s blog post on a previous NYT puzzle editor.

    On a positive note I did have a chance to work on the WSJ Friday puzzle and I finally got the meta. Very clever.

    Hope you all have a great night. Will give my two cents on Friday’s puzzle once I get a chance to work on it.


    1. @Megan … Well, after reading that you had gotten the meta, I decided that I had no choice but to spend the rest of the weekend on it … ? … so I picked it up again and figured it out in about two minutes (after being mystified by it for two days). What I got stuck on was incredibly stupid, but I’ll have to wait until Monday to tell on myself (unless I forget … my aging memory is not what it was, you know … so by then I may well remember having figured out the meta even before starting the crossword itself … ?).

  14. Fun, challenging Saturday; took about 1:15, with no errors. Had to figure out how Dealey Plaza was spelled and change logJAM to ICEJAM, gET to NET and tan to RED. I guess Mr. Johnson is a Northerner or Canadian given the hockey reference and preference for ice-jam.

    Still, this is the 3rd Saturday in a row I’ve been able to do and I think I’m starting to get the hang of it. The slowness of my times is mostly due to excessive respect or anticipated difficulty.

    @Dave – re All the posters yesterday; As Megan said, I think you need to post your website again, with the old essay by the NYTimes crossword editor. It certainly made me think about tricky clues and gimmicks and what makes puzzles fun. I used to get irritated too, but now my sensors are up and ready starting on Thursdays.

  15. Hey folks!
    Night Watch checking in!! ?
    Good Saturday puzzle, but a DNF for this gal. Got most of it done but then had to look up 3 answers to finish. Shout-out to Parsons School of Design, home to Project Runway!! I’m bingeing on past seasons of that show, on Hulu. What did I do with myself before crosswords and binge-watching??? (Hmmm — I guess I was Accomplishing Things….)
    Dirk! I think the blog post you mention is on Glenn’s blog…?
    Glenn! Am I the only one who noticed your use of the terms “fun little romp” and “shenanigans”?? I like it!! ?
    Dave! Also liking Trypto Fans….?
    Be well~~™?

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