LA Times Crossword 12 Jul 19, Friday

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Constructed by: Bruce Haight
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): 9 Letters for the Country

Today’s grid includes only 9 different letters. Those 9 letters can be rearranged to make the word “SINGAPORE”, which slots into the grid along the bottom:

  • 64A Country spelled with the only nine letters used in this puzzle’s answers : SINGAPORE

Bill’s time: 15m 57s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • ENSOR (Enser)
  • SONORA (Senora!!!)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Prefix with phobia : AGORA-

In early Greece, the agora was a place of assembly. The assemblies held there were often quite formal, perhaps for the reading of a proclamation. Later in Greek history, things became less formal as the agora evolved into a marketplace. Our contemporary word “agoraphobia” comes from these agorae, in the sense that an agoraphobe has a fear of open spaces, a fear of “public meeting places”.

10 2012 Best Picture : ARGO

“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I highly recommend “Argo”, although I found the scenes of religious fervor to be very frightening …

17 Yeats’ birthplace : ERIN

“Éire”, is the Irish word for “Ireland”. The related “Erin” is an anglicized version of “Éire” and actually corresponds to “Éirinn”, the dative case of “Éire”.

Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 for “inspired poetry” that gave “expression to a whole nation”. Yeats was Ireland’s first Nobel laureate.

18 Dissect in class, in a way : PARSE

The verb “to parse” means “to state the parts of speech in a sentence”. “Parse” comes from the Latin word “pars” meaning “part”.

19 “To share, or not to share?” food brand : EGGO

Eggo is a line of frozen waffles and related products made by Kellogg’s. When they were introduced in the 1930s, the name “Eggo” was chosen to promote the “egginess” of the batter. “Eggo” replaced “Froffles”, the original name chosen by melding “frozen” and “waffles”.

22 Long-haired cats : ANGORAS

The Turkish Angora is a breed of domestic cat that is often called simply an Angora or Ankara cat. The Angora is particularly prized for its white coat, although the breed can come in a variety of colors.

24 Prefix with -gon : NONA-

The prefix “nona-” is used to denote the number nine or ninth. An example is “nonagon”, a nine-sided polygon.

26 Fill in : APPRISE

Our verb “to apprise”, meaning “to inform”, comes from the French “apprendre”, which has the same meaning. The past participle of “apprendre” is “appris”.

29 Wintergreen family herb : PINESAP

Pinesap is an unusual plant in that it contains no chlorophyll. Instead of making its food using energy from the sun, the pinesap grows parasitically on fungi, and so is described as mycotrophic (meaning “fungus feeding”).

36 Hoppy brew, briefly : IPA

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

The foodstuff that we call “hops” are actually the female flower of the hop plant. The main use of hops is to add flavor to beer. The town in which I live here in California used to be home to the largest hop farm in the whole world. Most of the harvested hops were exported all the way to the breweries of London, where they could fetch the best price.

38 Apple platform : IOS

iOS is what Apple now call their mobile operating system. Previously, it was known as iPhone OS.

41 Factions in “West Side Story” : GANGS

Leonard Bernstein’s musical “West Side Story” is based on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The musical is set in New York City and features two rival gangs: the Sharks from Puerto Rico and the Jets with working-class, Caucasian roots. Tony from the Jets (played by Richard Beymer) falls in love with Maria (played by Natalie Wood) from the Sharks. All this parallels Romeo from the House of Montague falling for Juliet from the House of Capulet in the Italian city of Verona.

43 Former CNN journalist David : ENSOR

David Ensor worked for thirty years as a journalist with National Public Radio (NPR). Ensor was appointed as the Director of Voice of America in 2011.

47 Bird seen in only one state : NENE

The nene is a bird that is native to Hawaii, and is also known as the Hawaiian goose. The name “nene” is imitative of its call. When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were 25,000 nene living there. By 1950, the number was reduced by hunting to just 30 birds. Conservation efforts in recent years have been somewhat successful. The nene was named State Bird of Hawaii in 1957.

51 Germane : APROPOS

“Apropos”, meaning “relevant, opportune”, comes into English directly from French, in which language “à propos” means “to the purpose”. Note that we use the term as one word (apropos), whereas the original French is two words (à propos).

58 Polish for “dumplings” : PIEROGI

Pierogi are stuffed dumplings made using unleavened dough, and are a traditional dish from Poland. The term “pierogi” is the Polish name for any filled dumplings.

60 Football’s “Boomer” : ESIASON

Boomer Esiason is a retired NFL quarterback who developed a second career as a sports commentator. Esiason has had the nickname “Boomer” since before he was born. His mother called him “Boomer” because he was constantly kicking away in her womb.

61 Inflation-indexed U.S. savings bond : SERIES I

Series I savings bonds have an interest rate that varies. There are two components to the interest earned. One component is fixed, and is set for the life of the bond. The second component is variable, with an adjustment applied every 6 months based on the current rate of inflation.

62 __ Marino : SAN

San Marino is a small enclave in northern Italy with an area of just under 25 square miles. It is the oldest sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world, and has the world’s oldest constitution (dating back to 1600). What is most impressive to me is that San Marino has no national debt and a budget surplus. One can only dream …

63 W-2 info : SSN

Form W-2 is provided by US employers to their employees by January 31 each year. The form reports wages paid to the employees, as well as taxes withheld.

64 Country spelled with the only nine letters used in this puzzle’s answers : SINGAPORE

The Asian city-state of Singapore takes its name from the Malay word “Singapura” which means “Lion City”. However, lions in the wild never made it to Singapore, so the city is probably misnamed and perhaps should have been called “Tiger City”.

Down

2 Last of three Catherines : PARR

Henry VIII was the English King with the most wives. Well, something rubbed off on his last wife Catherine Parr. She was to become the English Queen with the most husbands! By the time she married Henry she had been widowed twice, and after Henry died she married once again, racking up four husbands in all.

6 French fat : GRAS

“Gras” is a French word meaning “fat”, as in “foie gras” meaning “fat liver”.

7 Anthem word with an apostrophe : O’ER

The words “o’er the ramparts we watched” come from “The Star Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key.

8 Parks in American history : ROSA

Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up their seats on a bus to white women. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.

9 Corno Grande’s range : APENNINES

The Apennines are the chain of mountains running the length of the Italian peninsula. The highest peak of the range is in the central Apennines and is the Corno Grande, which rises to over 9,500 feet.

13 Spanish medals or metals : OROS

In Spanish, a “medalla” (medal) might be made from “oro” (gold).

21 Take potshots : SNIPE

To snipe is to attack with snide criticism, especially from a safe distance. This usage of the term is an extension of the older meaning, to take a shot from a hidden position (as in “sniper”). Such a shot was originally taken when hunting the game birds called “snipes”.

When firing a gun, a potshot is a “shot” taken purely to get the prey into the “pot” for cooking. The term “potshot” was coined in the 1830s, hence distinguishing between a shot taken for sport or marksmanship and a shot taken while hunting for game.

26 Biscotti flavoring : ANISE

What we know in this country as “biscotti” are more properly called “biscotti di Prato”. A biscotto is a twice-baked, almond-flavored confection that originated in the Italian city of Prato. Modern versions of biscotti often contain anise or cinnamon in addition to the almond flavoring.

27 Jacques of PBS’ “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home” : PEPIN

Jacques Pépin is a celebrity chef. He had a remarkable career in his native France, including working as the personal chef to three heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle. Pépin moved to the US, where he befriended Julia Child. He appeared alongside his American counterpart in the PBS show “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home”.

30 Long periods : AEONS

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

31 So yesterday : PASSE

“Passé” is a French word, meaning “past, faded”. We’ve imported the term into English, and use it in the same sense.

34 1493 Lisbon arrival : NINA

The ship used by Christopher Columbus that we know as the Niña was actually the nickname of a ship actually called the Santa Clara. The nickname “Niña” probably came from the name of her owner, Juan Niña of Moguer.

40 Only Mexican state that borders Baja : SONORA

Sonora is the state in Mexico that lies just south of the borders with Arizona and New Mexico. Sonora is the second-largest state in the country, after Chihuahua.

Baja California is both the most northern and the most western of the Mexican states. The name translates from Spanish as “Lower California”.

42 Composer Rachmaninoff : SERGEI

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a Russian pianist and composer who was active in the late Romantic Era. Rachmaninoff emigrated from Russia in 1917, having been driven away by the Russian Revolution. He eventually settled in the US, where he toured as a pianist for many years. Rachmaninoff’s most famous works are probably his “Piano Concerto No. 1” and his “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”.

44 They get carried away : REPOS

Repossession (repo)

46 “Night Moves” singer : SEGER

“Night Moves” is a 1976 recording written and performed by Bob Seger. It is a largely autobiographical song that Seger wrote based on his experiences during adolescence. Those experiences included a relationship with a 20-year-old Italian-American girl while her boyfriend was serving in the military. That boyfriend returned, and married the young lady.

48 Scrubbed, as a launch : NO-GO

The use of the verb “to scrub” to mean “to cancel” dates back to the 1820s, but only became popular during WWII. It is suggested that this meaning comes from erasing, scrubbing an entry from a list.

52 City on the Arno : PISA

The city of Pisa sits right on the Italian coast, at the mouth of the River Arno. The city is perhaps most famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …

55 Supermodel Sastre : INES

Inés Sastre is a supermodel and actress from Spain. She is a smart cookie, having studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, and speaking French , English and Italian, as well as her native Spanish.

56 Loch of note : NESS

Loch Ness is one of the two most famous lakes in Scotland. Loch Ness is famous for its “monster”, and Loch Lomond is famous for the lovely song “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond”. Oh, ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Getaway spots : SPAS
5 Prefix with phobia : AGORA-
10 2012 Best Picture : ARGO
14 Subside : EASE
15 Place to start an IV : PRE-OP
16 Accessories : GEAR
17 Yeats’ birthplace : ERIN
18 Dissect in class, in a way : PARSE
19 “To share, or not to share?” food brand : EGGO
20 Butters up, maybe : PRAISES
22 Long-haired cats : ANGORAS
24 Prefix with -gon : NONA-
25 Zip : NONE
26 Fill in : APPRISE
29 Wintergreen family herb : PINESAP
32 Once called : NEE
33 Assigning to, as blame, with “on” : PINNING
35 Multitude : SEA
36 Hoppy brew, briefly : IPA
37 Search tools : ENGINES
38 Apple platform : IOS
39 Formal addressees : SIRS
41 Factions in “West Side Story” : GANGS
42 Word in family business names : SONS
43 Former CNN journalist David : ENSOR
45 Misunderstanding metaphor : GAP
46 Pick up : SENSE
47 Bird seen in only one state : NENE
49 Letters near zero : OPER
51 Germane : APROPOS
54 Like some doubts and injuries : NAGGING
58 Polish for “dumplings” : PIEROGI
59 Less experienced : GREENER
60 Football’s “Boomer” : ESIASON
61 Inflation-indexed U.S. savings bond : SERIES I
62 __ Marino : SAN
63 W-2 info : SSN
64 Country spelled with the only nine letters used in this puzzle’s answers : SINGAPORE

Down

1 Trickle : SEEP
2 Last of three Catherines : PARR
3 Far East fruit : ASIAN PEARS
4 Ranking : SENIOR
5 Settling down : APPEASING
6 French fat : GRAS
7 Anthem word with an apostrophe : O’ER
8 Parks in American history : ROSA
9 Corno Grande’s range : APENNINES
10 Early personal milestone : AGE ONE
11 Word in medicine that sounds bad but is often good : REGRESSION
12 Infatuated : GAGA
13 Spanish medals or metals : OROS
21 Take potshots : SNIPE
23 Loud ringers : GONGS
26 Biscotti flavoring : ANISE
27 Jacques of PBS’ “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home” : PEPIN
28 Does : ENGAGES IN
29 Goes back and forth : PING-PONGS
30 Long periods : AEONS
31 So yesterday : PASSE
34 1493 Lisbon arrival : NINA
40 Only Mexican state that borders Baja : SONORA
42 Composer Rachmaninoff : SERGEI
44 They get carried away : REPOS
46 “Night Moves” singer : SEGER
48 Scrubbed, as a launch : NO-GO
50 Cut back : PARE
51 Parrots : APES
52 City on the Arno : PISA
53 Hold back : REIN
55 Supermodel Sastre : INES
56 Loch of note : NESS
57 Silly look? : GRIN

25 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Jul 19, Friday”

  1. LAT: 1:00:59, no errors (but I can explain 😜). I finished all but 64A pretty quickly. When I realized I was stuck on the anagram, I recorded a time of 11:34. I’m embarrassed to say it then took me another 49:25 to come up with “SINGAPORE” (a place I visited not all that long ago!). Perhaps I had trouble with it because I think of it more as a city than as a country (but that’s a pretty feeble excuse 😜).

    WSJ: 24:56, no errors; a bit difficult solve; meta solved and submitted. (By yesterday evening, I had spent a few minutes thinking about the meta, but with no success. After doing battle with Singapore, it was nearly midnight, so I decided I’d had enough, turned out the light, closed my eyes, and … instantly saw how to get the meta! Weird.)

    Newsday: 14:41, no errors.

    Tim Croce and New Yorker puzzles to come … but first I have some yard work to do …

  2. 49a, “Letters near zero” clue answer of OPER draws a blank from me. I got it on crosses, but still don’t understand. Can anyone explain?

    I had one miss, 19a: had EPGO instead of EGGO — doh!

    Tricky puzzle.

  3. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle, but I had to stop and feed the Jays so I don’t know what my time was. I missed 14 across at first, but I could tell that we were working with a limited number of letters. Singapore was a delight at the end. I have to say I did not get it nor did I even try, I’m not that sharp. But I agree with Ann, sometimes your brain is on and sometimes it’s not. Thanks for the joy.

  4. LAT: 18:07, 1 error sans the SINGAPORE part, of which my patience was at zero to deal with after the WSJ debacle and all the garbage I’m having to deal with in my life coming to a head. And as with any stunt puzzle, this was more a joy for the constructor than the solver. WSJ: DNF 33:33, 7 errors. This puzzle was just a complete mess from start to finish that shouldn’t have been let loose into the world. Needless to say, I was not calm after finishing this garbage. And needless to say, I have no idea for the meta (and no patience for any metas ever), so there it is. Newsday: 20:59, no errors. Only decent puzzle of the entire lot. Which is saying something.

  5. 27:02 with a breakdown of 17 mins to do the puzzle and about 10 to figure out SINGAPORE…a place I lived for nearly a year about 20 years ago. Clever idea. When he can do the same thing with PERU, I’ll be really impressed..

    Doing this puzzle on my flight from Las Vegas to Atlanta – a nearly 4 hour journey. I land in Atlanta in about 90 minutes. I still have about 2 and a half hours in the Atlanta airport (one of Dante’s stages of hell, I believe) followed by another 3-hour flight to Punta Cana. However, I have a 24-hour bar (and a few friends) waiting for me when I get to the resort. It will be 9:30 local time when I land, but that’s 6:30 PM Pacific time so I should be ready to go. It’s one of those all inclusives. My goal is to recoup all my money at the bar tonight 🙂

    Best –

      1. The Family Guy Stars Wars spoof has Stewie as Darth Vader complaining when getting off a space transport that he had to connect in Atlanta, so hilarious

  6. For a change not only did I get the grid to come to a successful conclusion, albeit with more than a few strike overs mostly centered on the NW corner, but I actually came up with Singapore without too much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments. I’ve been to Singapore 5 or 6 times. The cleanest country/city I’ve ever seen. Not a scrap of paper on the streets. I stayed at the old Raffles Hotel and it was a true delight. This was before it was updated and improved.

    @Bill – I think (and this is a pretty funny error) you made a mistake in your spelling of your mistake of “ensor” because you spelled it correctly both times above. I think your mistake was “enser” if I’m not mistaken. ;-D>

    1. @Tony
      I, too, stayed at the Raffles Hotel 🏨 in 1970. Was stationed in Guam in the Navy and a friend and I took an off island trip to Singapore. It was glorious. Eating in their beautifully planted courtyard was the best. You brought back a
      great memory.

  7. 20:22, no errors, on the crossword. Had no clue on the anagram at first, but came back to it later and got it pretty quickly. Clever puzzle.

  8. Hail Serpognia! Shovel maker, stacker of gravel -her dumpsters blaze by night! But yeah, Singapore, whatever. Dick Cavett would have this in 3 seconds.

  9. Not Argentina, Not Senegal – SINGAPORE! Never been.

    I had 5 Googles, tossed D and L as I slowly progressed.

    Somebody tell me why REGRESSION is often good in medicine?

  10. Leave it to Bruce Haight to extend my “schneid” to 3 days on the trot with DNF. There were a few in the top right quadrant I couldn’t get, probably a couple other errors sprinkled in the grid, and I never came anywhere close to figuring out the “bonus” SINGAPORE fill.

    But then, with that detached fill-in, this isn’t technically what you’d call a crossword puzzle, is it? Even Bill had his first errors in a couple of weeks. Anyway, Haight goes on my sh*t list. Next time I see his name in the credit, if it’s deep in the week, I’ll just save myself the aggravation.

  11. Forgot to time it, but around an hour or so, with surprisingly no errors. The first pass filled in very little but everything came together in the end, even the bonus. The last to fill was the N on PEPIN, which just sounded right and was a lucky guess, since I had no idea.

    Just had to change EGGe/OReS. I was going to just call the bonus Australia and leave it at that. But since I didn’t notice any l, I wrote them all out and got it right away. Curious, since today’s Jumble had me stuck on ACCRUE for the longest time.

    Fun challenge today.

  12. Hi folks!!🦆

    DNF, but I really liked the theme. I got the nine letters pretty quickly but couldn’t get SINGAPORE!! Kept thinking NIGERIA long after I’d disqualified it! Like Steve above, I did come up with some good names, tho. I like SAN PIEGRO. 😁

    Here’s a question to ponder: does limiting the number of letters help or hurt in solving a puzzle? (not including the anagram part.) I assume it would help and it did at first– several answers came to mind quickly cuz I knew the letters involved. Then it didn’t help in places where I flat out didn’t know the answer, as with PEPIN. It also takes away the opportunity to go thru and try several possible answers, a useful process which generally leads to the answer. 🤔

    Be well ~~🚋⚾️

  13. In the book “Word Play” with the Foreword by Will Shortz on page#54, “Rule #4: There must be all-over interlock; that is, there can be no “word islands” completely walled off from the rest of the puzzle by black squares.” 64-Across is an island. If I wanted to solve an anagram puzzle I would work a “Jumble”! Shame on you!!!!

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