LA Times Crossword 18 May 19, Saturday

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Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 37s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Noble : ARISTOCRAT

An aristocracy is a state in which the power of government is placed in the hands of a privileged few. The term “aristocracy” ultimately comes from the Greek “aristos” meaning “excellent” and “kratos” meaning “rule”. In Ancient Greece, aristocracy was compared favorably with a monarchy, the idea being that the best-qualified few would serve better that an individual who inherited power. More recently, particularly during the French Revolution, aristocracy has been compared unfavorably with democracy.

11 Tic __: mints : TACS

Tic Tacs aren’t American candies (as I always mistakenly believed). Tic Tacs are made by the Italian company Ferrero, and were introduced in 1969.

15 Play with unseen players : RADIO DRAMA

I think it’s so sad that the wonderful tradition of making and broadcasting radio drama has been all but lost in the US. Fortunately, the UK’s BBC still produces radio plays on a regular basis. They also rebroadcast many of the terrific American radio plays from the 1940s, and so you can still hear works that feature Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Orson Welles and Basil Rathbone.

16 Buck heroine : O-LAN

Pearl S. Buck’s novel “The Good Earth” won a Pulitzer in 1932, and helped Buck win the Nobel Prize for literature a few years later. The novel tells of life in a Chinese village and follows the fortunes of Wang Lung and his wife O-Lan. Although “The Good Earth” has been around for decades, it hit the bestseller list again in 2004 when it was a pick for Oprah’s Book Club.

17 Certain clinic contributor : SPERM DONOR

The first really successful fertility clinic was the Barton Clinic in London, which was founded by British obstetrician Mary Barton. Barton pioneered Artificial Insemination by Donor, a protocol for use by couples unable to conceive a child due to male infertility. About 1,500 babies, nicknamed the “Barton Brood”, were born as the result of the program. It is estimated that Mary Barton’s husband, Austrian psychologist Bertold Wiesner, was the biological father to about 600 of the “Brood”.

18 Hall of Fame quarterback Graham : OTTO

Not only was Otto Graham a professional football player for the Cleveland Browns, but he also played professional basketball for the Rochester Royals (now the Sacramento Kings).

22 Homework shirker’s comeuppance : NO TV

To receive one’s comeuppance is to get one’s just deserts, to experience an unpleasant consequence for one’s actions. The term “comeuppance” likely derives from the concept of being told to “come up” to a higher authority for judgment.

26 Frozen beverages : ICEES

Slush Puppie and ICEE are brands of frozen, slushy drinks. Ostensibly competing brands, ICEE company now owns the Slush Puppie brand.

28 Source of blowups : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

30 Olympic figure skating gold medalist after Kristi : OKSANA

Oksana Baiul is a Ukrainian figure skater, and the 1994 Olympic champion. Baiul had a rough start to her life as her father deserted her and her mother when she was just two years old, and then her mother died when she was thirteen. Her grandparents had died earlier so she was left as an orphan, sleeping on a cot in her hometown ice rink.

Kristi Yamaguchi is a figure skater, an Olympic champion in 1992. She is quite the dancer too, having won “Dancing with the Stars” in 2008. Yamaguchi started skating and taking ballet as a young child as physical therapy, as she had club feet …

34 Many an Irish song : LILT

Lilting is a form of singing heard in Ireland and Scotland that sort of resembles scat singing. The singer uses no words, but produces melodious sounds from the mouth.

44 Mystical views : AURAE

An aura (plural “aurae”) is an intangible quality that surrounds a person or thing, a “je ne sais quoi”. “Je ne sais quoi” is French for “I don’t know what”.

45 Saddle-making tool : AWL

An awl is a pointed tool used for marking a surface or for piercing small holes. The earliest “awls” were used to pierce ears, apparently. The tool then became very much associated with shoemakers.

47 Muesli brand : ALPEN

Alpen is a British brand of muesli. I grew up on Alpen in Ireland …

“Muesli” is a Swiss-German term describing a breakfast serving of oats, nuts, fruit and milk. “Muesli” is a diminutive of the German word “Mues” meaning “puree”. Delicious …

48 Constellation points : STARS

A constellation is a collection of stars that forms the imaginary outline of a creature or god from mythology, or perhaps an object. There are 48 traditional Western constellations, and these were all defined in Claudius Ptolemy’s 2nd-century treatise called the “Almagest”. Today, there are 88 modern constellations with contiguous boundaries that together cover the entire night sky.

49 Musician Lennon : SEAN

Sean Lennon is the only child of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and godson of Elton John. Sean is a musician and composer, and has a band called the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.

51 Banjo bar : FRET

A fret is a metal strip embedded in the neck of a stringed instrument, like a guitar perhaps. The fingers press on the frets, shortening a string and hence changing the note played. The note increases by one semitone as a finger shortens a string by one fret.

The instrument that we know today as the banjo is a derivative of instruments that were used in Africa.

52 Barbarian horde : HUNS

The Huns were a nomadic people who originated in Eastern Europe in the 4th century. Under the command of Attila the Hun they developed a unified empire that stretched from modern-day Germany across to the steppes of Central Asia. The whole of the Hunnic Empire collapsed within a year of Attila’s death in 453 AD.

53 It includes AAPL and MSFT : THE DOW

Dow Jones & Company was founded as a publishing house in 1882 by three newspaper reporters, Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser. Today, the company’s most famous publication has to be “The Wall Street Journal”. In 1884, Charles Dow started reporting the average dollar value of the stock of eleven companies, an index which spawned a whole host of metrics that carry the Dow Jones name to this day. The most famous of these metrics is the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), also known as the “Dow 30” or simply the “Dow”.

The NASDAQ ticker symbol for Apple is AAPL, and for Microsoft is MSFT.

56 Thrill from Sills : ARIA

Beverly Sills was an operatic soprano from Brooklyn, New York. Sills retired from singing in 1980 to become the general manager of the New York City Opera. She later became Chairman of the Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan opera.

59 Steal, perhaps : DEAL

It’s a great deal, a bargain, a steal.

61 Mrs. Krabappel of “The Simpsons” : EDNA

In “the Simpsons” television show, Bart Simpson’s teacher is one Edna Krabappel. Edna marries Ned Flanders, who is the next-door neighbor to the Simpson family.

62 Giovanni Ribisi title con man : SNEAKY PETE

Giovanni Ribisi is the actor who played Frank Jr., Phoebe’s brother on “Friends”. He also had a supporting role in the wonderful movie “Saving Private Ryan”, and a starring spot in “Lost in Translation”. More recently, Ribisi played the title role in the excellent crime drama “Sneaky Pete”.

“Sneaky Pete” is a really clever crime drama series about a con man who adopts the identity of his cellmate “Pete”, as the former gets out of prison. The title character is played by Giovanni Ribisi. The show was co-created by Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad” fame.

Down

1 Former late-night talk star, familiarly : ARSENIO

Arsenio Hall got his big break with his role in the movie “Coming to America” with Eddie Murphy in 1988. The following year he started hosting “The Arsenio Hall Show”, which ran until 1994. He had a loyal group of fans in the audience that had the habit of almost “barking” while pumping their fists in the air. The raucous move became so popular it extended far beyond the influences of Arsenio, and to this day it is still used as a mark of appreciation in some arenas. Not by me, mind you …

2 Limp Bizkit genre : RAP ROCK

Limp Bizkit is described as a nu metal band, with “nu metal” being a subgenre of “heavy metal”. Limp Bizkit has been around since 1994, and that’s all I know …

5 Farm males : TOMS

A male turkey is called a “tom”, taking its name from a “tomcat”. The inference is that like a tomcat, the male turkey is relatively wild and undomesticated, sexually promiscuous and frequently gets into fights. A female turkey is called a “hen”.

6 More kooky : ODDER

“Kooky” is a slang word meaning “out there, crazy”. The term has been around since the beatnik era, and it may be a shortened version of the word “cuckoo”.

7 Pastry portmanteau : CRONUT

A cronut is a pastry that resembles a doughnut but is made using a croissant-like dough. It is filled with cream and deep-fried in grapeseed oil. It is a relatively new pastry, having been invented by New York bakery owner Dominique Ansel in 2013. The term “cronut” is a portmanteau of “croissant” and “doughnut”.

10 One may be rolled out in the park : TARP

Originally, tarpaulins were made from canvas covered in tar that rendered the material waterproof. The word “tarpaulin” comes from “tar” and “palling”, with “pall” meaning “heavy cloth covering”.

11 “Macbeth” brew ingredient before “Witches’ mummy” : TOOTH OF WOLF

The Three Witches in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” cook up an ugly brew in their cauldron:

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravined salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digged i’ th’ dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat and slips of yew
Slivered in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-delivered by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab.
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

12 City with a Penn State campus : 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.

13 Persian passageway : CAT DOOR

The Persian is that long-haired cat with a squashed muzzle. The breed takes its name from its place of origin, namely Persia (Iran).

14 Pompous sorts : SNOOTS

“Snoot” is a variant of “snout” and is a word that originated in Scotland. The idea is that someone who is snooty, or “snouty”, tends to look down his or her nose at the rest of the world.

23 Trattoria entrée : VEAL MARSALA

Veal Marsala is a French-Italian dish made from veal cooked with mushrooms in Marsala wine.

“Entrée” means “entry” in French. An entrée can be something that helps one get “a way in”, an interview for example perhaps helped along by a recommendation letter. In Europe, even in English-speaking countries, the entrée is the name for the “entry” to the meal, the first course. I found the ordering of meals to be very confusing when I first came to America!

A trattoria is an Italian restaurant. In Italian, a “trattore” is the keeper of said eating house.

25 Cochise player of early TV : ANSARA

Michael Ansara played the character Cochise in the fifties Western TV series “Broken Arrow”.

27 Wading birds with camouflage plumage : SNIPES

Snipes are wading birds with very long and thin bills that they use to search for small invertebrates in mud. In bygone days, a shot taken by a hunter at one of these wading birds became known as a “snipe”. This usage evolved into the word “sniper” applying to anyone shooting from a hidden position.

35 Domicile in front of 123 Sesame Street : TRASH CAN

The central location in “Sesame Street” is a three-story row house with the address 123 Sesame Street. The first floor of the house is home to Robinson family, and the second story is occupied by the Rodriguez family. Bert and Ernie live in the basement, and Oscar lives in a trash can outside the house’s fence.

38 Khamenei or Khatami : IRANIAN

Ali Khamenei became the 2nd Supreme Leader of Iran in 1989, after serving for almost eight years as the 3rd President of Iran.

Mohammad Khatami was President of Iran from 1987 until 2005.

43 Agreement between states : ENTENTE

An entente cordiale (sometimes just “entente”) is a friendly understanding, usually between two nations. The term, which translates from French as “cordial agreement”, was first used to describe a set of agreements between the UK and France that were put in place 1904.

50 B.J. of “The Office” : NOVAK

B. J. Novak is an actor and write who is perhaps best known for playing Ryan Howard on “The Office”, a sitcom for which he wrote and also served as one of the executive producers.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Noble : ARISTOCRAT
11 Tic __: mints : TACS
15 Play with unseen players : RADIO DRAMA
16 Buck heroine : O-LAN
17 Certain clinic contributor : SPERM DONOR
18 Hall of Fame quarterback Graham : OTTO
19 Significant span : ERA
20 Satirized : SENT UP
21 Kind of list : TO-DO
22 Homework shirker’s comeuppance : NO TV
24 It may hold broken pottery : RUIN
25 Hilarious : A HOOT
26 Frozen beverages : ICEES
28 Source of blowups : TNT
29 They’re off-limits : NO-NOS
30 Olympic figure skating gold medalist after Kristi : OKSANA
32 Makes a lot of progress : GETS FAR
34 Many an Irish song : LILT
36 Try for a better hand : DRAW
37 Smirks : SIMPERS
40 Stir to action : AROUSE
44 Mystical views : AURAE
45 Saddle-making tool : AWL
47 Muesli brand : ALPEN
48 Constellation points : STARS
49 Musician Lennon : SEAN
51 Banjo bar : FRET
52 Barbarian horde : HUNS
53 It includes AAPL and MSFT : THE DOW
55 Devoured, with “up” : ATE
56 Thrill from Sills : ARIA
57 Start : ACTIVATION
59 Steal, perhaps : DEAL
60 Dropped in on : PAID A VISIT
61 Mrs. Krabappel of “The Simpsons” : EDNA
62 Giovanni Ribisi title con man : SNEAKY PETE

Down

1 Former late-night talk star, familiarly : ARSENIO
2 Limp Bizkit genre : RAP ROCK
3 Has a thought : IDEATES
4 Address for a 1-Across, perhaps : SIR
5 Farm males : TOMS
6 More kooky : ODDER
7 Pastry portmanteau : CRONUT
8 Sounding off : RANTING
9 Came (to) : AMOUNTED
10 One may be rolled out in the park : TARP
11 “Macbeth” brew ingredient before “Witches’ mummy” : TOOTH OF WOLF
12 City with a Penn State campus : ALTOONA
13 Persian passageway : CAT DOOR
14 Pompous sorts : SNOOTS
23 Trattoria entrée : VEAL MARSALA
25 Cochise player of early TV : ANSARA
27 Wading birds with camouflage plumage : SNIPES
31 Tavern offering : ALE
33 Refrain opener : TRA-
35 Domicile in front of 123 Sesame Street : TRASH CAN
37 Medically closed up : SUTURED
38 Khamenei or Khatami : IRANIAN
39 What often comes before pie : SWEETIE …
41 Hoist : UPRAISE
42 Take care of business : SEE TO IT
43 Agreement between states : ENTENTE
44 Barely : A SHADE
46 Uppity : LA-DI-DA
50 B.J. of “The Office” : NOVAK
53 Light touches : TAPS
54 Rippled, like chips : WAVY
58 Point or pointer : TIP

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 18 May 19, Saturday”

  1. Limp bizkit being “nu metal” and not “rap rock” (never even heard that term) really threw me off.

  2. Typical hard Saturday. Stuck for awhile because I had “John” instead
    of “Sean” for musician Lennon. But the “trashcan” home of Oscar the
    Grouch led me to the right answer. Ended up no errors.

    1. It took me 58 minutes with show errors on. I got 81% correct. A lot of trial and error. Saturdays are difficult but the challenge is helping me to get better. (I think!)

  3. LAT: 17:42, no errors. WSJ: 20:22, no errors.

    Newsday’s “Saturday Stumper”: 53:43, no errors, and a struggle from beginning to end. Even though I got both, I still don’t understand 40A (“She’s seen in middle names” for “LENA”) and (except in a vague way) 28D (“Steelmaking need” for “STEAM POWER”). What am I missing?

    And I still haven’t finished yesterday’s Croce, but I haven’t given up on it, either. (One of the two really difficult sections suddenly solved itself as I was dropping off to sleep, and I’m hoping for another miracle 😜.)

    1. About “She’s seen in middle names”: You’re going to groan, as did I. LENA is the LE from MIDDLE and the NA from NAMES.

    2. And, the miracle arrived! I had a couple of necessary “aha” moments and finished that Croce puzzle. (It kind of looks like an ink bomb went off in one corner of it, but it’s done, with no errors. And it only took a day and a half! 😜)

  4. Worked everything but the upper left quadrant, (mostly the 3 long answers across) at home. Finally brought the puzzle to work with me and after getting all the lights on and the doors unlocked sat at my work station in the back and started looking at the clues again. Aristocrat was the first one to suddenly come to me and that made all the other ones possible.

    I don’t know how other folks here view a tough puzzle, but for me it’s like Op-Art in which you have to shift your vision to see the hidden scene. I have to shift my thinking about what the clue means and once I’ve done that, at least most of the time, the answer then is obvious.

      1. Hi Ed. With today’s grid when I looked at the clue for 1 Across I kept trying to come up with an example of a specific type of noble such as a Baroness or a Countess that would work.

        When I went back to the clue after I got to work I saw that I needed to shift my thinking away from a specific name for a noble and think in more generic terms. That led me to aristocrat.

        I hope that helps?

  5. Huh; This one took me 15 minutes and 47 sec (and Bill even took over 11 minutes), so I guess I should be happy with this solve (with no errors). Most of the trouble I had was shoehorning GETS FAR to work with the cross fills, (at various times having GOES FAR, WENT FAR, et. al. in there). With an infernal proper name like “ANSARA” complicating things, nothing is certain. But, having seen the first season of Sneaky Pete, I got a little gift among the fairly specific cultural references littering this puzzle.

  6. Surprisingly easy – relatively speaking – for me; took about 55 minutes with no errors, despite making numerous wild, yet auspicious guesses.

    After DNF yesterday, today went relatively smooth. Just had to change nasdaq to THEDOW, although I waited for crosses in a lot of places. ACTIVATION was the last to fall after fixing the aforementioned. Still only vaguely familiar with OTTO, ANSARA, OKSANA and never even heard of EDNA and SNEAKYPETE.

    Whoo Hoo

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