LA Times Crossword 15 Mar 19, Friday

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Constructed by: Susan Gelfand
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Change of Venue

Themed answers are common phrases that have been reinterpreted to describe varying sports venues:

  • 20A. High-quality tennis venue? : SUPERIOR COURT
  • 34A. Well-known boxing venue? : FAMILIAR RING
  • 41A. Virtual golf venue? : ONLINE COURSE
  • 56A. Attractive soccer venue? : MAGNETIC FIELD

Bill’s time: 7m 03s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. No-way man? : JOSE

No way, Jose.

5. Shade-loving plant : HOSTA

The Hosta genus of plant was once classified as a lily, but is now in a family of its own and is described as “lily-like”. The plant was given the name “Hosta” in honor of the Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host.

14. At Dodger Stadium, briefly : IN LA

Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles is the third oldest stadium currently used in Major League Baseball (after Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago).

15. Playwright Fugard : ATHOL

Playwright Athol Fugard was born in South Africa. Fugard wrote plays that opposed apartheid, many of which had to be produced outside of South Africa given the political climate at home. Fugard now lives in San Diego, California.

16. London’s __ Park : HYDE

Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London. A famous element in Hyde Park is Speakers’ Corner, which is located in the northeast corner of the park. Speakers’ Corner was the site of the infamous Tyburn gallows that was used for public executions in centuries past. Today, Speakers’ Corner is a site for public speeches and debate, and a center for public protest. Some say that the tradition of allowing free speech at the site dates back to the condemned man being allowed to say his final words prior to execution at the Tyburn gallows.

20. High-quality tennis venue? : SUPERIOR COURT

Our use of the term “superior court” comes from the English court system of old. In centuries past, the highest courts were the royal courts. Royal courts became known as “superior courts”, while local courts were “inferior courts”.

24. Fireplace shelf : HOB

A hob is the cooking surface on a stove. The term “hob” originally applied to a shelf at the back or side of a fireplace that was used for keeping food warm.

29. Legal tender with an 8-Down : DIME
(8D. Statue of Liberty feature : TORCH)

The term “dime”, used for a 10-cent coin, comes from the Old French word “disme” meaning “tenth part”.

32. Kind of network : NEURAL

It used to be that “neural network” was just the name given to a network nerve cells in an organism. In the modern world, the term “neural net” (short for “neural network”) also applies to virtual or electronic devices designed to mimic the function of the human brain, and in particular learning from past experiences.

36. Udon cousin : SOBA

Soba is a thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. In Japan, the word “soba” tends to be used to describe any thin noodle, in contrast with the thicker noodles that are called udon.

Udon noodles are made from wheat-flour and are very popular in Japanese cuisines such as tempura.

39. Texting format, briefly : SMS

Short Message Service (SMS) is the name for the text messaging service that many of us still use on our cell phones to contact friends and family.

41. Virtual golf venue? : ONLINE COURSE

There’s an urban myth that the standard number of holes on a golf course is 18 because it takes 18 shots to polish off a fifth of scotch whisky. However, the truth is that the standard number of holes in the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland happened to settle down over time at 18, and that standard was adopted all around the world.

48. Maple output : SAP

About 75% of the world’s maple syrup comes from the province of Quebec. The US’s biggest producer is the state of Vermont, which produces 5-6% of the world’s supply.

52. MLB player nickname since 2005 : NAT

The Washington Nationals (“Nats”) baseball team started out life as the Montreal Expos in 1969, and were the first Major League Baseball team in Canada. The Expos moved to Washington in 2005 becoming the Nats. There are only two Major Leagues teams that have never played in a World Series, one being the Mariners and the other the Nats.

54. Em, for one : AUNTIE

In the children’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, Dorothy Gale lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry.

62. Starting word containing five of the letters of what it starts : ALEPH

“Aleph” is the first letter of the Hebrew “alphabet”.

63. Street __ : CRED

“Street cred” is slang for “street credibility”, of which I have none …

64. Fashionable Christian : DIOR

Christian Dior was a French fashion designer. As WWII approached, Dior was called up by the French military, drawing a temporary halt to his career in fashion. He left the army in 1942 and for the duration of the war designed clothes for wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators. After the war his designs became so popular that he helped re-establish Paris as the fashion center of the world.

67. Like the Marx Brothers : ZANY

Something described as zany is clownish and bizarre. “Zany” can also be a noun, a term used for a clown or a buffoon. The original noun was “Zanni”, a Venetian dialect variant of Gianni, short for Giovanni (John). Zanni was a character who appeared in comedy plays of the day, and was someone who aped the principal actors.

The five Marx Brothers were born to “Minnie” and “Frenchy” Marx in New York City. The more famous older boys were Chico, Harpo and Groucho. Zeppo was the youngest brother, and he appeared in the early Marx Brothers movies. The fifth son was called Gummo, and he decided to pursue a different career off the stage.

69. Loudness unit : SONE

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

Down

1. Something to put together : JIGSAW

Jigsaws are saws designed for the cutting of irregular curves by hand. The original jigsaw puzzles were created by painting a picture on a sheet of wood and then cutting the picture into small pieces using a jigsaw, hence the name. Today, almost all jigsaw puzzles are pictures glued onto cardboard. The puzzle pieces are now die-cut, and so there’s no jigsaw involved at all.

5. Orthodox Jewish sect : HASIDIM

The Hasidic Jewish movement was founded in the 18th century by Baal Shem Tov, a mystical rabbi from Eastern Europe.

6. Emperor after Galba : OTHO

AD 69 was a year of civil war in ancient Rome. The unrest started with the death of emperor Nero in AD 68, after which followed the brief rule of Galba, of Otho, of Vitellius, and of Vespasian all in the same year. As a result, AD 69 became known as the Year of the Four Emperors.

7. Toots in a restaurant : SHOR

Toots Shor ran his Toots Shor’s Restaurant in Manhattan during the forties and fifties. The establishment served relatively plain American cuisine, but it was a celebrated hangout for the New York elite. Shor’s personality brought in the rich and famous, like Jackie Gleason, Charlie Chaplin, Chief Justice Earl Warren and Louis B. Mayer.

8. Statue of Liberty feature : TORCH

Visitors to New York City’s Liberty Island can enter the statue’s base and pedestal. At most, 240 visitors per day are allowed to climb two spiral staircases giving access to the observation point in the statue’s crown. There is also an observation platform surrounding the torch, but public access has been denied for safety reasons since 1916.

9. Pennsylvania railroad city : ALTOONA

Altoona is in central Pennsylvania, and is home to the Ivyside Park Campus of Pennsylvania State University. Altoona is also home to Lakemont Park and Leap-The-Dips, the world’s oldest operating wooden roller coaster. Altoona was founded in 1849 by the Pennsylvania Railroad as the site of a large maintenance facility. Railroad enthusiasts flock to Altoona to stand at the center of Horseshoe Curve, a tightly curved section of track that allows trains to achieve the elevation necessary to cross the Allegheny Ridge.

12. Suffix with ox- : IDE

Oxides are usually named for the number of oxygen atoms in each molecule of the oxide. Oxides with one oxygen atom are called monoxides (as in carbon monoxide: CO). Oxides with two oxygen atoms are dioxides (as in carbon dioxide: CO2). Oxides with three oxygen atoms are trioxides (as in sulfur trioxide: SO3). Oxides with four oxygen atoms are tetroxides (as in dinitrogen tetroxide: N2O4).

13. Middle of Venezuela? : ZEE

There is a letter Z (zee) in the middle of the word “Venezuela”.

21. “The Scarlet Letter” letter : RED A

The main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter” is Hester Prynne. After the birth of her illegitimate daughter Pearl, she is convicted by her puritanical neighbors of the crime of adultery. Hester is forced to wear a scarlet “A” (for “adultery”) on her clothing for the rest of her life, hence the novel’s title “The Scarlet Letter”.

22. Means of getting around town : UBER

In some locations, the transportation network company Uber offers water-taxi services under the brand name UberBOAT. Most notably available in the city of Istanbul in Turkey, the service is also offered in other locations, often during special events.

27. Pond growth : ALGA

Algae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they use photosynthesis to create sugars from light and carbon dioxide, but they differ in that they have simpler anatomies, and for example lack roots.

31. St. __ Fire : ELMO’S

Saint Elmo is the patron saint of sailors. More formally referred to as Erasmus of Formia, St. Elmo is perhaps venerated by sailors as tradition tells us that he continued preaching despite the ground beside him being struck by a thunderbolt. Sailors started to pray to him when in danger of storms and lightning. He lends his name to the electrostatic weather phenomenon (often seen at sea) known as St. Elmo’s fire. The “fire” is actually a plasma discharge caused by air ionizing at the end of a pointed object (like the mast of a ship), something often observed during electrical storms.

36. Sectional __ : SOFA

“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.

38. Very long time : BLUE MOON

As there is a full moon once every four weeks, approximately monthly, there are usually twelve full moons in any given year. However, every 2-3 years, depending on the phase of the moon at the beginning of the calendar year, there may be a thirteenth full moon. The “extra” full moon is called a “blue moon”, although no one seems to really know why the term “blue” is used, as far as I can tell. Which of the thirteen full moons that is designated as the blue moon varies depending on tradition. My favorite definition is from the Farmer’s Almanac. It states that as each of the seasons normally has three full moons (one for each calendar month), then the season with four full moons is designated as “special”, then the third (and not the fourth) full moon in that “special” season is the blue moon. Complicated, huh?

42. Da __, Vietnam : NANG

Da Nang is a major Vietnamese port city on the South China Sea. During the Vietnam War, Da Nang was the site of a major air base used by the South Vietnamese and US air forces. At the height of the war, Da Nang was the biggest airport in the whole world.

44. Raid targets : ROACHES

The insect known as a cockroach is closely related to the termite. Although generally considered a pest, the lowly cockroach has at least one claim to fame. A cockroach named Nadezhda was sent into space in 2007 by Russian scientists, where it became the first terrestrial creature to give birth in space. Nadezhda bore 33 cockroaches.

Raid insecticide has been killing bugs since 1956.

45. Word after Double in a cookie name : STUF

Double Stuf Oreo was introduced in 1975, and has twice the normal amount of white cream filling as the original cookie.

49. Quinn of “Annie” : AILEEN

Aileen Quinn is an actress from Yardley, Pennsylvania. Quinn was only 12 years old when she was given the title role in John Huston’s 1982 film adaptation of “Annie”.

50. Hawk : PEDDLE

The verb “to hawk” has a Germanic origin, and comes from the Low German word “hoken” meaning “to peddle”. A hawker is actually slightly different from a peddler by definition, as a hawker is a peddler that uses a horse and cart, or a van nowadays perhaps, to sell his or her wares.

53. Fax ancestor : TELEX

Telex grew out of the world of the telegraph. What Telex brought to telegraphy was the ability to route messages. Instead of having to talk to an operator to route a particular message to the intended party, the user of a telex could route the message directly to another telex machine by way of a rotary dial, one very similar to that on a telephone.

57. Out of kilter : AWRY

To be “off-kilter” is to be off-balance, not aligned. To be “out of kilter” is to be out of order, not in good condition.

58. Md. athlete : TERP

The sports teams of the University of Maryland are called the Maryland Terrapins, or “the Terps” for short. The name dates back to 1932 when it was coined by the the university’s president at the time, Curley Byrd. He took the name from the diamondback terrapins that are native to the Chesapeake Bay.

59. __ facto : IPSO

“Ipso facto” is Latin, meaning “by the fact itself”. Ipso facto describes something that is a direct consequence of particular act, as opposed to something that is the result of some subsequent event. For example, my father was born in Dublin and was an Irish citizen ipso facto. My son was born in California and is an Irish citizen by virtue of being the son of an Irish citizen (i.e. “not” ipso facto).

60. Wood shaper : ADZ

An adze (also “adz”) is similar to an axe, but is different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool’s shaft. An axe blade is set in line with the shaft.

61. Routing term : VIA

“Via” is a Latin word meaning “by way of”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. No-way man? : JOSE
5. Shade-loving plant : HOSTA
10. Brainiac : WHIZ
14. At Dodger Stadium, briefly : IN LA
15. Playwright Fugard : ATHOL
16. London’s __ Park : HYDE
17. Walk, e.g. : GAIT
18. Electrical problem : SHORT
19. “Makes sense to me” : I SEE
20. High-quality tennis venue? : SUPERIOR COURT
23. Made amends : ATONED
24. Fireplace shelf : HOB
25. Noteworthy stretch : ERA
28. Earned : WON
29. Legal tender with an 8-Down : DIME
32. Kind of network : NEURAL
34. Well-known boxing venue? : FAMILIAR RING
36. Udon cousin : SOBA
39. Texting format, briefly : SMS
40. Infatuated : GAGA
41. Virtual golf venue? : ONLINE COURSE
46. Early morning hr. : FOUR AM
47. Catch sight of : SPOT
48. Maple output : SAP
51. Art nowadays? : ARE
52. MLB player nickname since 2005 : NAT
54. Em, for one : AUNTIE
56. Attractive soccer venue? : MAGNETIC FIELD
60. Declare : AVOW
62. Starting word containing five of the letters of what it starts : ALEPH
63. Street __ : CRED
64. Fashionable Christian : DIOR
65. Curt : TERSE
66. Ship’s spine : KEEL
67. Like the Marx Brothers : ZANY
68. Trade shows : EXPOS
69. Loudness unit : SONE

Down

1. Something to put together : JIGSAW
2. Running by itself : ON AUTO
3. Comfy shoe : SLIP-ON
4. Polished off : EATEN
5. Orthodox Jewish sect : HASIDIM
6. Emperor after Galba : OTHO
7. Toots in a restaurant : SHOR
8. Statue of Liberty feature : TORCH
9. Pennsylvania railroad city : ALTOONA
10. Spinning sound : WHIR
11. Frenzied state : HYSTERIA
12. Suffix with ox- : IDE
13. Middle of Venezuela? : ZEE
21. “The Scarlet Letter” letter : RED A
22. Means of getting around town : UBER
26. Summoned, in a way : RANG
27. Pond growth : ALGA
30. Odds-and-ends abbr. : MISC
31. St. __ Fire : ELMO’S
33. Craving : URGE
34. More susceptible to sunburn : FAIR
35. Bats : IS UP
36. Sectional __ : SOFA
37. Words before before : ON OR …
38. Very long time : BLUE MOON
42. Da __, Vietnam : NANG
43. Spring (from) : EMANATE
44. Raid targets : ROACHES
45. Word after Double in a cookie name : STUF
48. Assembly with speakers? : STEREO
49. Quinn of “Annie” : AILEEN
50. Hawk : PEDDLE
53. Fax ancestor : TELEX
55. Steals, in British slang : NICKS
57. Out of kilter : AWRY
58. Md. athlete : TERP
59. __ facto : IPSO
60. Wood shaper : ADZ
61. Routing term : VIA

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 15 Mar 19, Friday”

  1. OTHO crosses ATHOL. Then come a HOB, a SOBA, and a SONE. By then, the solver feels like a SAP for staying with the puzzle past that ridiculous center section at the top. This is the kind of STUF that illustrates an obviously able constructor’s need for a good editor. Yours let you down, Ms. Gelfand.

    1. @Anonymous …

      Well, again, I think it needs to be said: It’s Friday. Late-week puzzles are harder than early-week puzzles. Both the setter and the editor have done a fine job. All five of the entries you cite are common in crossword puzzles and worth remembering for the future.

      1. Well I’m at a stand still same as yesterday. Didn’t like last 2 puzzles. It must be me cause alot of these answers just don’t compute for me and when I did fill in some places, just didn’t look or sound right. I must be in the funk zone. I was told not to quit but I did yesterday & today l’m having the same dilemma. They weren’t even fun to try to do. Oh well everyone be safe. Monday is around the corner.

  2. Strange puzzle, indeed. I just didn’t decipher the clues thoroughly
    enough, I suppose, though I did not know some of the words.
    Felt like I was all around it, just not quite there. Might have been
    able to solve half of the omissions, for I knew those words, just
    did not fit them in place. For example, in the lower-right section,
    I could not get off of MAST instead of KEEL, probably the intent of
    the constructor.

    Scores for Thursday and Friday were 87 and 86%, right at 95% average
    for the 5-day week. We consider that quite acceptable and feel that we
    are getting better.

    Kudos to all anyway.

  3. I had an empty space for where SONE intersects STEREO, otherwise it went faster than most Fridays. The theme was helpful.
    I hate sports questions, and things like INLA seem especially aggravating. I got it, but I wasn’t happy about it.

  4. Bill really must of struggled with this one seeing as how it took him 7 minutes and 3 seconds to complete it! And for those who struggle to recognize sarcastic praise when they read it, that was a good example of it… ;-D>

    I finished without final errors but my time, should I ever bother to time myself while doing a puzzle, was nowhere near 7 minutes and 3 seconds!

  5. LAT: 10:56, no errors. Newsday: 8:42, no errors. WSJ: 15:42, no errors; got the meta. Still looking at last Sunday’s Washington Post meta and – I hope this isn’t a spoiler – wondering if it’s relevant that the English alphabet has 26 letters, while the Samoan alphabet has only 17. Croce at 4 …

    1. And … today’s Croce puzzle turns out to be another of his “specialty” puzzles, so, for the moment, I’m going to give it a pass, as I’ve had a rather tiring and difficult week.

  6. 24:03 with a large chunk of that trying to decipher the upper middle. ALTOONA, OTHO, HOSTA, ATHOL and SHOR all in one little section? Ouch. Eventually I just did trial and error until I got the success banner – i.e. I cheated at the end. I did like the punny theme, however. I kept wanting to fit “Supreme COURTs” in 20A, but it obviously didn’t work.

    Final thoughts on Batman (Read: my final kicking of this dead horse): Whether the movies or the show follow the original comic or what does or doesn’t mirror what doesn’t interest me. “Batman” the series is simply the best piece of entertainment IMO, and that’s all that matters.

    Carrie – You must be ready for baseball season. You put a St. Louis Cardinal at the end of your post yesterday….

    Best –

  7. I had trouble with the upper mid-west too. In fact, I didn’t finish that section. Had Altoona & torch, but Nero turned out to be wrong. So I quit.

    To be 80 degrees in LA over the weekend. Ah, spring is here.

  8. 16:50 and DNF: 4 fills in the top center were complete naticks to me. HOSTA, OTHOL, OTHO, SHOR; who the hell knows anything about any of those???

  9. @Allen …

    Well, to answer your (probably rhetorical) question: Bill obviously knew them. I knew them. Others here probably knew them.

    I have HOSTA growing in my yard. ATHOL, OTHO, and SHOR make frequent appearances in crossword puzzles, but I’ve encountered them all in other reading, as well. I would advise remembering them for the next time you encounter them … 😜.

  10. The explanation of telex (53-D) is incorrect. Telex is still a worldwide telegraphic service that uses analog data circuits to provide as access to a telex provider’s hub. The sender prepares a Baudot encoded text using punched tape (memory in later years), gets a prompt from the telex hub, then sends the keypunched tape (or ASCII translated into Baudot ftom terminal memory) upon receiving a Clear To Send (CTS) from the hub. The dailup service alluded to in the explanation is TWX service, which used a Teletype machine at 110 baud that fed a Bell 201 modem on a dailup voice phone circuit on the PSTN in the nationwide 910 area code. TWX ended in the 1990s, Telex was still in use into the 21st century. AT&T shut down its telegraph service in 1985, with Western Union ending printed telegram service in the ’90s. Reason? The internet, which at that time, was still Arpanet.

    /s/ Old-time AT&T toll technician

  11. A little too tricky for me today; took 36:28 on-line with two peeks to get to the banner. Different from most everyone else I had trouble in the West with _OBA noodles and _RE (Art nowadays.) Couldn’t get the cross of SOFA either.

    I’d seen HOSTA before and got TORCH and SHORT directly. ALTOONA fit so even though I didn’t know Athol or Shor, they came out through the crosses. Looking up Toots Shor, he was an interesting guy. Apparently as Frank Sinatra stood in line, with a bunch of screaming teen girl fans nearby, Toots gave him a dollar and said “Here, kid, go across the street and buy me a paper.”

  12. Hiya folks!!🐔

    One error at everyone’s favorite point: I missed the T at ATHOL/OTHO!! 😯 I did know the other terms there — I USED to know OTHO but it sure didn’t come to me today.

    Jeff! Is that really a cardinal or are you just seeing cardinals everywhere??!😊 how do they look this year, BTW? My Dodgers are holding their own in spring training….⚾️

    Dirk! That Batman clip is hilarious!! Never knew how campy that show was — as kids I guess we took it at face value, and I haven’t seen it since…😯

    Be well~~⚾️

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