LA Times Crossword 9 Apr 19, Tuesday

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Constructed by: John Lampkin
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer Ant Colony

Letters circled in the grid spell out ANT COLONY, and are arranged to represent an ant hill. Themed answers each start with a type of ANT:

  • 17A *Employee insurance coverage, briefly : WORKERS’ COMP (giving “worker ant”)
  • 60A *Unmanned aerial attack : DRONE STRIKE (giving “drone ant”)
  • 11D *Hotel bed choice : QUEEN SIZE (giving “queen ant”)
  • 32D *Persist despite difficulty : SOLDIER ON (giving “soldier ant”)

Bill’s time: 6m 10s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “Star Wars” warrior : JEDI

The Jedi are the “good guys” in the “Star Wars” series of movies. The most famous Jedi knights from the films are Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Alec Guinness, and later Ewan McGregor) and Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz). Well, they’re my favorites anyway …

5 Treaded winter vehicle : SNO-CAT

The brand name “Sno-Cat” is owned by the Tucker company. All snowcats are tracked vehicles built to work in snow, and are famously used in expeditions to the polar regions. The modern Sno-Cat from Tucker differs from its competitors in that it has four independently-mounted tracks.

11 “Proven,” in proofs : QED

The initialism “QED” is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.

14 Laptop brand that sounds like a top tennis player : ACER

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I visited a couple of times 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 …

16 Prefix with corn or cycle : UNI-

A unicorn is a mythical creature that resembles a horse with a horn projecting from its forehead. The term “unicorn” comes from the Latin “uni-” (one) and “cornus” (horn).

17 *Employee insurance coverage, briefly : WORKERS’ COMP (giving “worker ant”)

(32D *Persist despite difficulty : SOLDIER ON (giving “soldier ant”))
In general terms, workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that pays out in the event that a worker gets injured in the course of employment.

In an ant colony, soldier ants differ from worker ants in that they have stronger mandibles and are hence more suitable for fighting. However, when they aren’t fighting, that basically carry out the same functions as the workers. All worker and soldier ants are sterile females.

20 Blight-stricken tree : ELM

Dutch elm disease is a fungus devastating to all species of elm trees that is transmitted by the elm bark beetle. The disease is thought to have originated in Asia and is now rampant in Europe and North America. Even though there is a hybrid of elm known as the Dutch elm, the disease isn’t named after the tree. Rather, the disease is called “Dutch” as it was identified in 1921 by a phytopathologist (plant pathologist) in the Netherlands.

22 Lo __: noodle dish : MEIN

“Chow mein” has two slightly different meanings on the East and West Coasts of the US. On the East Coast, basic chow mein is a crispy dish, whereas on the West Coast it is a steamed dish that is relatively soft. On the East Coast the steamed dish is available, but under the name “lo mein”. On the West Coast, the crispy dish is also on the menu, as “Hong Kong-style chow mein”.

25 “Valley of the Dolls” author Jacqueline : SUSANN

Jacqueline Susann was a writer and actress. Her most famous written work is the 1966 novel “Valley of the Dolls”, which has been a huge commercial success. Her next two books were “The Love Machine” and “Once is Not Enough”, both of which also became #1 novels on “The New York Times” Best Seller List. In fact, Susann became the first author to have three consecutive novels that top that coveted list.

Jacqueline Susann’s novel “Valley of the Dolls” was first published in 1996 and was a runaway success. The word “dolls” in the title is slang for “barbiturate drugs”, so-called “downers” or sleep aids. The book was adapted into a film that was nominated for a number of Oscars.

27 Animal that can learn sign language : APE

Koko is a female Lowland Gorilla that lives in Woodside, California. Researcher Penny Patterson taught Koko to speak a modified form of American Sign Language (ASL) that she called Gorilla Sign Language. Koko can apparently use over a thousand signs.

28 Parting site in Exodus : RED SEA

The Red Sea (sometimes called the Arabian Gulf) is a stretch of water lying between Africa and Asia. The Gulf of Suez (and the Suez Canal) lies to north, and the Gulf of Aden to the south. According to the Book of Exodus in the Bible, God parted the Red Sea to allow Moses lead the Israelites from Egypt.

38 Serious no-no : TABOO

The word “taboo” was introduced into English by Captain Cook in his book “A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean”. Cook described “tabu” (likely imitative of a Tongan word that he had heard) as something that was both consecrated and forbidden.

40 Poet Pound : EZRA

Ezra Pound was an American poet who spent much of his life wandering the world, and spending years in London, Paris, and Italy. In Italy, Pound’s work and sympathies for Mussolini’s regime led to his arrest at the end of the war. His major work was the epic, albeit incomplete, “The Cantos”. This epic poem is divided into 120 sections, each known as a canto.

44 Mentalist’s “gift” : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

49 Blu-ray buy : DISC

A CD player reads the information on the disc using a laser beam. The beam is produced by what’s called a laser diode, a device similar to a light-emitting diode (LED) except that a laser beam is emitted. That laser beam is usually red in CD and DVD players. Blu-ray players are so called as they use blue lasers.

60 *Unmanned aerial attack : DRONE STRIKE (giving “drone ant”)

Drone bees and drone ants are fertile males of the species, whose sole role in life seems to be to mate with a queen.

63 Shrek’s kiss made Fiona one for good : OGRESS

Princess Fiona is the title character’s love interest in the “Shrek” series of films.

Down

2 French school : ECOLE

In French, one might learn “une leçon” (a lesson) in an “école” (school).

8 Small water birds : COOTS

The coot is a water bird in the rail family. It looks as though it is bald because of its markings, but the head is actually covered with feathers. As a result, a person might be described as “bald as a coot”, meaning that the person has no hair at all.

9 Big name in canned meat : ARMOUR

“Armour” is a brand of canned meat that was introduced in the 1860s. In the early days, the Armour brand name was associated with almost every consumer product made from the output of a slaughterhouse, e.g. glue, fertilizer, oleomargarine, and even hairbrushes and buttons.

10 Baking soda amt. : TSP

“Bicarb” is a familiar term for sodium bicarbonate. Another name for the same compound is “baking soda”. When sodium carbonate is added to a batter, it reacts with acids and releases carbon dioxide which gives baked goods texture, all those “holes”.

11 *Hotel bed choice : QUEEN SIZE (giving “queen ant”)

The queen ant of some species can live to the ripe old age of 30 years, which is one of the longest lifespans in the insect world.

12 Amtrak employees : ENGINEERS

Amtrak is the name used commercially by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. “Amtrak” comes from a melding of the words “America” and “track”.

13 “My Heart Will Go On” singer Celine : DION

“My Heart Will Go On” is the love theme from the 1997 blockbuster movie “Titanic”. It was recorded by Céline Dion, and hit the number one spot in the charts all around the world. “My Heart Will Go On” was destined to become Dion’s biggest hit, and the best-selling single in the world for 1998.

22 Mexican mother : MADRE

In Spanish, a “madre” (mother) is a member of “la familia” (the family).

26 Gig component : SET

Musicians use “gig” to describe a job, a performance. The term originated in the early 1900s in the world of jazz. The derivative phrase “gig economy” applies to a relatively recent phenomenon where workers find themselves jumping from temporary job to temporary job, from gig to gig.

29 “Pronto” letters : ASAP

The Spanish and Italian (and now English) word “pronto” is derived from the Latin “promptus” meaning “ready, quick”.

30 Japanese golf great Aoki : ISAO

Isao Aoki is one of Japan’s greatest golfers. Aoki’s best finish in a major tournament was runner-up to Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 US Open.

32 *Persist despite difficulty : SOLDIER ON (giving “soldier ant”)

In an ant colony, soldier ants differ from worker ants in that they have stronger mandibles and are hence more suitable for fighting. However, when they aren’t fighting, that basically carry out the same functions as the workers. All worker and soldier ants are sterile females.

34 Docs who deliver : OBS

Obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN)

35 Bausch partner : LOMB

Bausch + Lomb is an American company headquartered in Rochester, New York. It is a major supplier of contact lenses and associated eye-care products. The company was founded in 1853 by two German immigrants, John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb. Bausch was an optician, and Lomb was the “money man”. The company was originally set up to manufacture monocles.

39 Sculler’s need : OAR

A scull is a boat used for competitive rowing. The main hull of the boat is often referred to as a shell. Crew members who row the boat can be referred to as “oars”. And, a scull is also an oar mounted on the stern of a small boat. It’s all very confusing …

42 “Please don’t bite me!” : NICE DOG

“Fido”, the name for many a dog, is Latin for “I trust”.

46 Symbolic Egyptian snake, which includes the start of a hint to the answers to starred clues : ASP

The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in Ancient Egypt.

48 Peter of Peter, Paul & Mary : YARROW

Peter Yarrow was the “Peter” in the folk music group Peter, Paul and Mary. Yarrow’s most famous composition is probably “Puff, the Magic Dragon”, which he co-wrote with Lenny Lipton.

52 Colorado’s __ Peak : PIKES

Zebulon Pike was an American Army officer and explorer. On his first expedition for the military, he discovered a mountain in the Rockies that had been dubbed El Capitan by Spanish settlers. El Capitan was later renamed to Pike’s Peaks (now “Pikes Peak”) in honor of the explorer.

53 Cardiologist’s implant : STENT

In the world of surgical medicine, a stent is an artificial tube inserted inside a vessel in the body, say an artery, in order to reduce the effects of a local restriction in the body’s conduit.

54 Apple tablet : IPAD

The iPad isn’t Apple’s first foray into the world of tablet computing. Apple created great buzz by introducing the Newton MessagePad way back in 1993. This innovative machine was fraught with problems and really died a very slow death, finally being withdrawn from the market in 1998.

55 Jason’s ship : ARGO

In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts sailed on the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece. The vessel was called “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.

56 Lawn mower brand : TORO

Toro is a manufacturer mainly of lawn mowers and snow removal equipment based in Bloomington, Minnesota. The company was founded in 1914 to build tractor engines.

58 Exxon, formerly : ESSO

The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

61 Homer’s neighbor : NED

Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer Simpson on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer, and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Star Wars” warrior : JEDI
5 Treaded winter vehicle : SNO-CAT
11 “Proven,” in proofs : QED
14 Laptop brand that sounds like a top tennis player : ACER
15 Pays homage to : HONORS
16 Prefix with corn or cycle : UNI-
17 *Employee insurance coverage, briefly : WORKERS’ COMP (giving “worker ant”)
19 It may be bruised : EGO
20 Blight-stricken tree : ELM
21 Deceived : LIED TO
22 Lo __: noodle dish : MEIN
23 Church officers : DEACONS
25 “Valley of the Dolls” author Jacqueline : SUSANN
27 Animal that can learn sign language : APE
28 Parting site in Exodus : RED SEA
30 “Who’s there?” response : IT’S ME
33 Rank above maj. : COL
36 Makes an effort : TRIES
37 Small store : SHOP
38 Serious no-no : TABOO
40 Poet Pound : EZRA
41 Be under the weather : AIL
42 11 p.m. personality : NEWSMAN
44 Mentalist’s “gift” : ESP
45 Installs, as a minister : ORDAINS
47 Sound like an ass : BRAY
49 Blu-ray buy : DISC
50 Quick breaths : GASPS
54 “To reiterate … ” : I REPEAT …
57 Like sunset-silhouetted scenery : REAR LIT
59 Golfer’s goal : PAR
60 *Unmanned aerial attack : DRONE STRIKE (giving “drone ant”)
62 From __ Z : A TO
63 Shrek’s kiss made Fiona one for good : OGRESS
64 Hint of the future : OMEN
65 Home in the woods : DEN
66 Treating kindly : GOOD TO
67 Sunset direction : WEST

Down

1 Ranted (at) : JAWED
2 French school : ECOLE
3 Skin care prefix : DERMA-
4 Annoy : IRK
5 Sacred place : SHRINE
6 Carrots, for snowmen : NOSES
7 Like one’s prized music collection, perhaps : ON CD
8 Small water birds : COOTS
9 Big name in canned meat : ARMOUR
10 Baking soda amt. : TSP
11 *Hotel bed choice : QUEEN SIZE (giving “queen ant”)
12 Amtrak employees : ENGINEERS
13 “My Heart Will Go On” singer Celine : DION
18 Flee to wed : ELOPE
22 Mexican mother : MADRE
24 Sleep in a bag, maybe : CAMP
26 Gig component : SET
29 “Pronto” letters : ASAP
30 Japanese golf great Aoki : ISAO
31 Hardly the best : THIRD-RATE
32 *Persist despite difficulty : SOLDIER ON (giving “soldier ant”)
33 Sounds like a crow : CAWS
34 Docs who deliver : OBS
35 Bausch partner : LOMB
38 On a scale of one to __ : TEN
39 Sculler’s need : OAR
42 “Please don’t bite me!” : NICE DOG
43 Persistently worry : NAG AT
46 Symbolic Egyptian snake, which includes the start of a hint to the answers to starred clues : ASP
48 Peter of Peter, Paul & Mary : YARROW
51 Snail trail : SLIME
52 Colorado’s __ Peak : PIKES
53 Cardiologist’s implant : STENT
54 Apple tablet : IPAD
55 Jason’s ship : ARGO
56 Lawn mower brand : TORO
57 Take a load off : REST
58 Exxon, formerly : ESSO
61 Homer’s neighbor : NED

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 Apr 19, Tuesday”

    1. @Robert … The puzzle is symmetrical; it just has a different kind of symmetry. It happens. (Recently, I came across a comment from David Steinberg about this; if I can find it, I’ll post it.)

    2. Here’s the quote from Steinberg (the young crossword “wunderkind” who recently took over editing the Universal crosswords):

      “When I started constructing, very few grids used left-right symmetry. The only explanation I can think of is tradition – to me, left-right symmetry is just as elegant as rotational symmetry, and it also makes many otherwise-impossible themes doable. Left-right symmetry feels especially underutilized in themelesses, so I decided to try my hand at a 62-worder with a pattern I (unsurprisingly) hadn’t seen before. I started with DISTRESSED DENIM, a lively 15 whose middle letters seemed very friendly for a bottom stack.”

      Steinberg’s comment accompanied a recent very enjoyable puzzle of his, which you can probably find (if you really want to), given clues in the above.

      I have often wondered about the crossword world’s fixation on rotational symmetry and was gratified to find that a respected constructor shared my thoughts about it.

    1. A Lieutenant Colonel is considered to be a Colonel and would be addressed
      as such and not as Lieutenant Colonel. A little sneaky here, but so. I know for
      sure, because my brother and former best service friend had that rank. Interesting that part of that word is “colon”. I wonder ………. I suppose not,
      but some of those high rankers sure act like one. Not my brother and not all of them.

      I wonder how long young Stenberg would take to do one of our puzzles. He
      was talking Greek to me. He may be so smart that he would actually take
      longer than one would think.

      About 45 minutes, 0 errors. It is indeed true that the longer one tries to solve
      these, the better and faster they get and they don’t have to cheat to do it.

      Very doable puzzle.

      1. >I wonder how long young Stenberg would take to do one of our puzzles.

        As most every constructor or editor you see, David Steinberg is a master solver. He finished in 26th place in the last ACPT.

      2. @John – Regarding the clue of “rank above maj” I would also note that the clue does not say “The next rank above maj” but rather “Rank above maj” which could be anything up to a 4 star general.

        YMMV

  1. Btw – “Symmetric” is sufficient. The “al” is not necessary.

    Easy Tues.

    From yesterday:
    @Glenn – Speed does not always improve. The eyes get blurry, the hands get arthritic. It’s called Old Age, and it’s real, not just words.

    @Jeff – RE: gauze. My suspician is that so many of our ideas about furniture, rugs, and all sorts of cloth come from the near East. Why not gauze?

    1. @Jane … Boy, can I relate to your comments about Old Age! Last week, I had occasion to talk to a girl working in the “Genius Bar” at my local Apple Store. What impressed me most about the visit was how fast she could type using just her thumbs on an iPad mini. I would estimate that what I have just typed so far here, using one finger, would have taken her thirty seconds or less. I couldn’t type that fast on a normal keyboard (even though I learned to type in my teens) and the thumb thing ain’t gonna happen, given the pain I have in my right thumb when I try to open a bottle of aspirin. Not that I’m complaining, mind you … oh no, not me! … 😜.

  2. 8:40. Interesting theme as I was trying to see how an ASP applied to it. Sheesh. I need to start reading more carefully.

    So I guess OGRESS is really a word?

    As to 33A. As I see it, the clue merely states “Rank above maj” so COL works. In fact, “General” would work just as well as colonel. If the clue were “Rank above pvt”, “General” would also work. It doesn’t state “directly above”, just “above”.

  3. Aloha meine Freunden!! 😎

    No errors on a straightforward Tuesday. No trickery and very few abbreviations– Sfingi, someone’s listening to you on that point!!😊

    Small typo in Bill’s write-up: Valley of the Dolls was published in 1966, which he has correct at the first mention. LOVE that book!! The movie was pretty terrible, but I probably have that reaction because the book was so much better. I recently thought about who should be cast if the movie were re-made today: a little game I play called “Recasting the Classics!!” (And I’m sure that’s an idea many others have come up with…)😯

    Be well~~⚾️

  4. What am I missing? I don’t see any connection between asp (46D) and the ant colony answers. Yet the clue for 46D says “Symbolic Egyptian snake, which includes the start of a hint to the answers to starred clues.”

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