LA Times Crossword 27 Jul 19, Saturday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 02s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Ostentatious suburban pads : MCMANSIONS

“McMansion” is a word used for a large, luxury house that many believe is “too much” for the neighborhood. Similar pejorative terms are “garage Mahal” and “Hummer house”.

11 Dry riverbed : WADI

“Wadi” is an Arabic term referring to a valley, or perhaps a (mostly) dry riverbed. In English we might call this a wash, or use the Spanish word “arroyo”.

15 View from Muscat : ARABIAN SEA

The Arabian Sea is an arm of the Indian Ocean that lies off the coasts of Oman, Yemen, Pakistan and Iran. It is bounded in the west by Somalia, and in the east by India.

Muscat is the capital of Oman. It lies on the northeast coast of the state on the Gulf of Oman, a branch of the Persian Gulf.

16 Benjamin’s value : ONE-C

Benjamin Franklin’s portrait is featured on one side of the hundred-dollar bill (also called a “C-spot, C-note, benjamin”), and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall on the other side. There is a famous error in the image of Independence Hall. If you look closely at the clock face at the top of the building you can see that the “four” is written in Roman numerals as “IV”. However, on the actual clock on Independence Hall, the “four” is denoted by “IIII”, which has been the convention for clock faces for centuries.

17 Prickly plants : ROSE BUSHES

Believe it or not, roses don’t have any thorns. Thorns are derived from shoots, spines are derived from leaves, and prickles are derived from the epidermis. The rose’s defensive barbs are in fact prickles.

18 This, in Taxco : ESTA

Taxco de Alarcón (often just “Taxco”) is a small city in southern Mexico. Taxco is a center for silver mining, and is also well known for the production of silverware and fine items made using silver.

19 __-cone : SNO

A sno-cone (also “snow cone”) is just a paper cone filled with crushed ice and topped with flavored water. Italian ice is similar, but different. Whereas the flavoring is added on top of the ice to make a sno-cone, Italian ice is made with water that is flavored before it is frozen.

20 Schubert vocal compositions : LIEDER

“Lied” (plural “Lieder”) is a German word meaning “song”. The term is often used to describe romantic German poems that have been set to music. The most famous Lieder are perhaps those written by Franz Schubert, examples being the lovely “”Der Tod und das Mädchen” and “Gretchen am Spinnrade”.

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was an Austrian composer who was particularly noted for his large portfolio of lieder (songs). Schubert is also famous for his “Unfinished Symphony”. Schubert’s “Symphony No. 7” was left as a draft after he passed away, and as such was “unfinished”. However, it was more complete than his “Symphony No. 8”, which is the one we know as “The Unfinished”.

22 Benign cyst : WEN

“Wen” is the common name for any of a number of different growths that can occur on or under the skin. A wen can be a lipoma for example, a benign fatty growth that can form under the skin.

26 Earth __ : DAY

Earth Day was founded in the US, where it was introduced by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Earth Day was designed to increase awareness and appreciation of our planet’s natural environment. The original Earth Day was on April 22nd, 1970. Decades later, the day is observed in over 175 countries.

35 Old portico : STOA

A stoa was a covered walkway in ancient Greece. A stoa usually consisted of columns lining the side of a building or buildings, with another row of columns defining the other side of the walkway. The columns supported a roof. Often stoae would surround marketplaces in large cities.

“Portico” is an Italian word that describes a porch or roofed walkway leading to the entrance of a building.

36 Advice from a cohort in crime : STICK TO THE STORY

“Cohort” can be used as a collective noun, meaning “group, company”. The term can also apply to an individual supporter or companion, although usually in a derogatory sense. “Cohort” comes from the Latin “cohors”, which was an infantry company in the Roman army, one tenth of a legion.

40 Charlie’s fourth wife : OONA

Oona O’Neill dated J. D. Salinger and Orson Welles in her teens, but ended up marrying Charlie Chaplin in 1943. Oona was still quite young when she married Chaplin, much to the dismay of her famous father, playwright Eugene O’Neill. Eugene went as far as disowning 18-year-old Oona because of the marriage to 54-year-old Chaplin.

Charlie Chaplin earned the nickname “The Tramp” (also “Little Tramp”) from the much-loved character that he frequently played on the screen. Chaplin was much-respected as a performer. The great George Bernard Shaw referred to him as “the only genius to come out of the movie industry”.

41 Basque, e.g. : IBERIAN

The Iberian Peninsula in Europe is largely made up of Spain and Portugal. However, also included is the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrénées, a small part of the south of France, and the British Territory of Gibraltar. Iberia takes its name from the Ebro, the longest river in Spain, which the Romans named the “Iber”.

Basque Country is an area that covers north-central Spain and southwestern France, and is home to the Basque people.

48 Old number? : ETHER

Ethers are a whole class of organic compounds, but in the vernacular “ether” is specifically diethyl ether. Diethyl ether was once very popular as a general anesthetic.

49 Mil. academy : OCS

Officer candidate school (OCS)

51 Hindu title : SWAMI

A swami is a religious teacher in the Hindu tradition. The word “swami” can also mean “husband” in the Bengali and Malay languages.

53 Offer unwanted advice : KIBITZ

To kibitz (or less commonly “to kibbitz”) is to look on and offer unwanted advice. The term comes into English from German via Yiddish. “Kibitz” developed in German from the name of the bird “Kiebitz”, which had the reputation as a meddler.

63 “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” poet : OSCAR WILDE

Oscar Wilde was an Irish writer who led a very public life in his adopted home of London. Although he was a prolific writer of many forms of literature, Wilde penned only one novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. He was perhaps more renowned in his own time as a dramatist. Several of his plays are performed regularly today, including “Lady Windermere’s Fan”, “An Ideal Husband” and “The Importance of Being Earnest”. Wilde’s last work was a poem titled “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”, which recounted his time in prison after being convicted of homosexual offences in 1895 and sentenced to two years’ hard labor. Oscar Wilde died in 1900 at the age of 46 in Paris, destitute.

Down

1 “‘Night, Mother” playwright Norman : MARSHA

Marsha Norman won the 1983 Pulitzer for Drama for her play “‘night, Mother”. Norman also wrote the book and lyrics for the Broadway musicals “The Secret Garden” and “The Red Shoes”. She wrote the libretto for “The Color Purple”, and the book for the musical “The Bridges of Madison County”.

2 Zeus’ father : CRONUS

In Greek mythology, Cronus (also “Kronos”) was one of the Titans. Cronus overthrew his father Uranus and took over rule of the Titans. Eventually, Cronus was ousted by own son, Zeus.

4 White House nickname : ABE

Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth President of the US. There are several stories told about how he earned the nickname “Honest Abe”. One story dates back to early in his career as a lawyer. Lincoln accidentally overcharged a client and then walked miles in order to right the wrong as soon as possible.

5 Bill : NIB

“Nib” is a Scottish variant of the Old English word “neb”, with both meaning the beak of a bird. This usage of “nib” as a beak dates back to the 14th century, with “nib” meaning the tip of a pen or quill coming a little later, in the early 1600s.

6 King anointed by Samuel : SAUL

According to the Hebrew Bible, Saul was the first King of Israel and ruled from 1049 BC to 1007 BC. Saul’s story is mainly recounted in the Books of Samuel.

According to the Bible, Samuel was a leader of the Israelites before they began to be ruled by a king. Samuel anointed Saul and David, the first two kings of Israel.

8 Irish actor Milo : O’SHEA

Milo O’Shea was a great Irish character actor from Dublin who has appeared in everything from “Romeo and Juliet” to “The West Wing”. O’Shea passed away in 2013, in New York City.

10 Ed.’s requirement : SASE

An SAE is a “stamped, addressed envelope”. An SASE is a “self-addressed, stamped envelope”.

13 Smoke __ : DETECTOR

Don’t forget to change the batteries in your smoke detectors on a regular basis. A public information campaign in Australia recommends doing so on April Fools’ Day every year. Not a bad idea …

31 Often-ornamental vessel : STEIN

A stein is a type of beer glass. The term is German in origin, and is short for “Steinkrug” meaning “stone jug”. “Stein” is German for “stone”.

33 Nice when it’s hot? : ETE

In French, “été” (summer) is “la saison chaude” (the warm season).

The French city of Nice is on the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of the country. Although Nice is only the fifth most populous city in France, it is home to the busiest airport outside of Paris. That’s because of all the tourists flocking to the French Riviera.

38 Caterpillar also called a looper : INCHWORM

Inchworms are the larvae of geometer moths. Also known as “loopers”, inchworms are so called because as they move along with a looping gait, they appear to be measuring the Earth, one inch at a time.

39 Most bunts, briefly : SACS

To bunt in baseball is to barely hit the ball, just enough to have it roll slowly in front of the infielders.

43 TV planet : ORK

“Mork & Mindy” is a sitcom that originally aired from 1978 to 1982. The title characters were played by Robin Williams and Pam Dawber. Mork is an alien from the planet Ork who reports back to his superior called Orson. Orson is played by voice actor Ralph James. Ralph James was also known for providing the voice of Mr. Turtle in famous Tootsie Pop commercials in the seventies. Nanu nanu!

45 Capital on Luzon : MANILA

Luzon is the largest of the Philippine Islands, and home to the capital city of Manila.

46 Fixes, as text : EMENDS

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

47 Lengthy campaigns : SIEGES

Our word “siege” comes from a 13th century word for a “seat”. The military usage derives from the concept of a besieging force “sitting down” outside a fortress until it falls.

49 Corpulent : OBESE

Our word “corpulent”, meaning “having a large body”, comes from Latin. “Corpus” means “body”, and “-ulentus” means “full of”. Very descriptive …

50 Uncertain dating word : CIRCA

“Circa” is a Latin word meaning “around, near, about the time of”. We use “circa” directly in English to mean “about the time of”, as well as in derivative words such as “circle” and “circus”.

54 Uber and Lyft had them in 2019 : IPOS

An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

55 Cipher : ZERO

The word “cipher” can be used for a person with no influence, a nonentity. The term comes from the Arabic “sifr” meaning “zero”. So, a cipher is a big nothing.

58 Mantra chants : OMS

“Om” is a sacred mystic word from the Hindu tradition. “Om” is sometimes used as a mantra, a focus for the mind in meditation.

60 Barley bristle : AWN

“Awn” is the name given to hair- or bristle-like structures found in numerous species of plants. In some species, like barley, the awns can contain photosynthetic tissue.

61 Tri-__ : TIP

A tri-tip is a cut of meat that might also be called tip roast, round tip roast and sirloin tip roast. Tri-tip is a cut of beef from the rear of the animal. It is a triangular muscle, hence the name.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Ostentatious suburban pads : MCMANSIONS
11 Dry riverbed : WADI
15 View from Muscat : ARABIAN SEA
16 Benjamin’s value : ONE-C
17 Prickly plants : ROSE BUSHES
18 This, in Taxco : ESTA
19 __-cone : SNO
20 Schubert vocal compositions : LIEDER
22 Benign cyst : WEN
23 A detective may follow one : HUNCH
26 Earth __ : DAY
27 Boom box button : EJECT
29 Mitigate : ASSUAGE
31 What inspiration can come in : SPURTS
32 Make oneself heard clearly : PROJECT
35 Old portico : STOA
36 Advice from a cohort in crime : STICK TO THE STORY
40 Charlie’s fourth wife : OONA
41 Basque, e.g. : IBERIAN
42 Invite with a wave : BECKON
44 They might be gross : INCOMES
48 Old number? : ETHER
49 Mil. academy : OCS
51 Hindu title : SWAMI
52 Dispute : ROW
53 Offer unwanted advice : KIBITZ
56 Formerly : NEE
57 “Was __ loud?” : I TOO
59 Spreading throughout : PERMEATING
62 Usual : NORM
63 “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” poet : OSCAR WILDE
64 Beauts : GEMS
65 Ski resort offering : SEASON PASS

Down

1 “‘Night, Mother” playwright Norman : MARSHA
2 Zeus’ father : CRONUS
3 Layers of stone : MASONS
4 White House nickname : ABE
5 Bill : NIB
6 King anointed by Samuel : SAUL
7 Traitorous crime : INSIDE JOB
8 Irish actor Milo : O’SHEA
9 Poor : NEEDY
10 Ed.’s requirement : SASE
11 Distress : WOE
12 Work under : ANSWER TO
13 Smoke __ : DETECTOR
14 “Who knows” : I CAN’T SAY
21 Street cred : REP
24 Honeybunch : CUPCAKE
25 “Listen!” : HARK!
28 A moment ago : JUST NOW
30 Arrived : GOT IN
31 Often-ornamental vessel : STEIN
33 Nice when it’s hot? : ETE
34 Present day? : CHRISTMAS
36 Eliciting thoughtfulness : SOBERING
37 In direct confrontation : TOE-TO-TOE
38 Caterpillar also called a looper : INCHWORM
39 Most bunts, briefly : SACS
43 TV planet : ORK
45 Capital on Luzon : MANILA
46 Fixes, as text : EMENDS
47 Lengthy campaigns : SIEGES
49 Corpulent : OBESE
50 Uncertain dating word : CIRCA
54 Uber and Lyft had them in 2019 : IPOS
55 Cipher : ZERO
58 Mantra chants : OMS
60 Barley bristle : AWN
61 Tri-__ : TIP

43 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 27 Jul 19, Saturday”

    1. @Daigle
      Just now saw your comment of yesterday, and I thank you for the kind words. I guess the key I want to see in what I’m doing with the puzzles is improvement. While it is a “game” more than anything, I’d like to get better at playing it. Hence, I need to figure out what I’m doing that’s wrong and make it better, if I know how and if I can. Especially since there’s certain puzzles I can’t even figure out how to do, let alone others that I don’t do that well with.

  1. Re: today’s 39 DOWN: “Most bunts, briefly” = SACS.
    You didn’t explain how SACS pertains to the clue: WHAT IS THE MEANING OF “SACS”??????

      1. Yes; the batter sacrifices himself or herself (you have to be careful
        nowadays) by laying down a sacrifice bunt in such a way as to get
        the defensive player to throw him or her out at first base so as to advance
        the runner (runners) that is (are) on any of the other three bases usually
        one base.

        DNS today; no help from smart lawyer son-in-law. Poor excuse.

        1. Correction; I decided to try it and worked hard for an 81%.
          Very satisfied with that number.

          Glenn, I misquoted my reply on your method. I just meant that your
          tried and true method was very good and consistently puts you either
          at the top of the heap or very close to it. And that we all revert, to one
          degree or another, to what we know how to do best. By all means try
          to improve. I certainly am always on the lookout to build a better
          mouse trap. Sorry that I commented poorly. You are highly respected.

          I also apologize to Jane for my comment about cheating with Google. If
          you want to do it that way, who am I to interfere? I don’t feel good when
          I do it, so I try not to. But, I slip on the banana peel occasionally. Sorry.

  2. LAT: Finished in under 20 minutes with no errors–my best Saturday time that I can remember. Either I was on the author’s wavelength, or it was easy for a Saturday. Or, unlikely, I’m improving.

  3. I had a hard time, but I really enjoyed the puzzle. I never care how long it takes. That just adds stress, which I don’t need in my life. 🙂

    1. Nothing wrong with this. 🙂 But an observation of my own. Usually when I do a puzzle I don’t care about how long it takes while I’m doing it. The problem is if it drags on enough, I kind of start noticing and it adds stress and brings down my enjoyment. More or less, anything I call a slog or the like is where I experienced that – where it just stops being fun and starts getting boring and I want it to be over.

      1. Odd. I frequently notice the opposite effect: If it begins to look as if I’m going to finish a puzzle quickly, I find myself trying to keep up the momentum and the stress of that is unpleasant. Among the many things I like about Tim Croce puzzles is that I know I’m not going to set any speed records on them. (Of course, I always worry about not being able to finish one of his at all. 😜)

      1. Ether was formerly used as the anesthetic for surgery. It is passé and thus
        considered to be old school. Now, one is put to sleep with an IV containing a mixture of drugs. When the patient is awake and surgery is done in the office, the area to be operated on is deadened or “numbed up” with a mixture of Lidocaine and another drug before the procedure is started.
        Ether was the old “number” (numbing agent) and the IV is the new one. A little play on words, like in some of the other clues. OK?

  4. LAT: 11:24, no errors. WSJ: 23:40, no errors. Newsday’s “Saturday Stumper”: 58:29, with a one-square error of the type that could so easily be avoided, if I would only learn to be less impetuous about declaring myself done! (It’s galling to get through all the hard parts of a puzzle and then slip and fall on the crossword equivalent of a banana peel!) Oh, well … c’est la vie … 😜

  5. My feelings exactly. I am too much in a hurry to do a good double check.
    And I don’t know where I am hurrying to! I don’t sweat the time taken, so
    what’s the rush?

  6. Puzzle, along with Bill’s explanations, very educational today. I love learning!
    Funny about 53A- I would have thought kibbitz more common than kibitz. Maybe it’s regional. I see spellcheck underlines kibbitz (as if spellcheck is the arbiter!)

  7. Just count me out on this one. Got no traction and never would have come up with most of these answers. Seems like there were two groups of us today. The ones who finished “with no errors” and the rest of us, totally defeated.

  8. 18:12. I really had a war with this one. So I guess I could call my efforts today “The War of..”…ok, I won’t finish that.

    Never heard MCMANSION. I thought somehow it had to do with McDonalds (which wouldn’t make sense anyway), but I suppose not.

    King SAUL Blvd. in Tel-Aviv is where Mossad headquarters famously resides. Mossad invests in hi tech start ups – one of which I worked with (not for) for many years. That was quite an interesting experience to say the least. Interestingly, even though I knew this was started by ex-Mossad employees (i.e. they didn’t hide the fact), Mossad publishes no such list of its companies.

    Best –

  9. Totally enjoyable puzzle. At first glance it appeared very daunting but little by little it fell into place with no errors.

    1. 10 Down uses the abbreviated clue form to elicit an abbreviation answer. An editor’s (Ed.’s) requirement for submission of a story to a magazine (or a puzzle to a newspaper, perhaps) may include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) with which they can send a rejection notice or follow-up correspondence.

  10. 23 mins, 23 sec, escaped error free. Although, the total *bullsh*t* fill of MCMANSIONS was just a guess I threw into the online grid and got lucky with a “completed” message. I am really getting tired of the hipsterese being injected into the puzzles in recent years. So many of these terms just are “NOT a thing” in the general vernacular.

  11. I thought there were quite a few clever puns, and for me, MCMANSION is a common term.

    On the other hand, before I go into a trance from working too long on a later-in-the-week crossword, I Google. Apparently this is a no-no for most.

  12. Googling is like taking a test, but looking in the book as you go, when
    the test is not open-book. I have done it myself, so I am not judging or
    criticizing anybody. It is out and out cheating and I don’t think I would
    admit it if it didn’t bother me. It does, and that is just me.

    1. I do my utmost to finish a puzzle without using aids of any kind. On the rare occasions when I have to use such aids to finish, I report that here. That said, I have no problem with anyone doing whatever they need to do to finish (but, of course, I’d like them to report what they did, as I do).

  13. I google when there is no other way to come up with an answer. The
    puzzle today was fun and it didn’t take me too long. I couldn’t figure
    “ether as ” old number, until it dawned on me that “number” has two
    distinct meanings. Then it made sense. And for 36 down I started out
    with “sob story” which I soon figured wouldn’t work. All in all an
    enjoyable Saturday puzzle. I didn’t get started til late afternoon and
    never keep track of my time.

  14. Language is an organic instrument, not a static one. Language grows and develops, while other words fall to disuse. Just because I may not recognize a term does not mean it is not in the general vernacular, it simply proves that my language skills provide lifelong learning opportunities.

  15. Moderately difficult Saturday; took 42 minutes with no errors. Just had to fix MaCMANSION(S) to finally make the NW make sense. Didn’t understand “Old Number” until I got here…actually I should say, just forgot that clue, which I’ve seen at least twice. Also, took a minute to think of what “Charlie” we were talking about.

    Knew McMansion(s), since that is a common term around here, where people tear down smaller old homes and try to erect fence to sidewalk monstrosities, until the zoning department turns them down. I’m guessing the term comes from the notion of a morbidly obese house (!?)

  16. Greetings y’all!!🦆

    Cheated for two answers but finished the rest pretty smoothly. When I “cheat” I am just looking at Bill’s completed grid. I do some trick, like covering part of the screen or taking off my glasses, so that I don’t accidentally see other answers!! In other words, I’m a geek…😁

    The two I cheated on were toward the beginning of the solve — I thought the puzzle looked harder than it was!! Got *MCMANSIONS* right away. It’s not a new term; those houses proliferated in the early 80s here in LA. Thankfully they’re not so in vogue these days. 😊

    Be well ~~🚋⚾️

  17. It’s great when your mind is in synch with the authors of these puzzles but other times,… There are times when my mind is stuck on another wavelength and I have a problem concentrating on other possibilities. Such anguish when that happens.
    Spouse and I take turns. When I get stuck, he’ll look and often be able to fill in. I have special marks for when I look up an answer. I admit when I cheat 😉 but it is still a learning experience and great for helping the memory process as well.

  18. I finished but I am with Allen on calling a lot of bullsh!!. Not that I know who Marsha Norman is – but what else really fits.

    Never heard of LIEDER or TRI-TIP but it worked out …

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