LA Times Crossword 10 Aug 19, Saturday

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Constructed by: Evan Kalish
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Myers partner in personality type research : BRIGGS

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was created in 1962, by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. The MBTI has been a popular tool used by businesses and business consultants for decades. The MBTI is built on the theories of Carl Jung and is designed to assess an individual’s personality type and give insight into how that individual interacts with other personality types.

19 Klutzes : OAFS

A klutz is an awkward individual, with the term “klutz” coming from Yiddish. The Yiddish word for a clumsy person is “klots”.

23 Two-tone shirt wearer : REF

Back in the early 17th century, a referee was someone who examined patent applications. We started using the same term for a person presiding over a sporting event in the 1820s. “Referee” is a derivative of the verb “to refer”, and literally describes someone who has the authority to make a decision by “referring to” a book, archive etc.

24 Word with side or prop : … BET

A side bet during a game can also be called a prop bet (proposition bet).

25 Crunch beneficiaries : ABS

The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They might be referred to as a “six-pack”, or even a “ten-pack”, in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …

27 Like : A LA

The phrase “in the style of” can be translated into “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.

30 Issuer of three-part nos. : SSA

Social Security Administration (SSA)

A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts i.e AAA-GG-SSSS, Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot. Since 2011 SSNs are assigned randomly. However, some random numbers have been excluded from use, i.e. Area Numbers 000, 666 (!) and 900-999.

31 Gulf of __ : OMAN

The Gulf of Oman isn’t actually a gulf, and rather is a strait. It connects the Arabian Sea to the Strait of Hormuz and hence to the Persian Gulf.

32 Exam given in spots? : RORSCHACH TEST

The Rorschach test is a psychological test in which a subject is asked to interpret a series of inkblots. The test was created by Swiss Freudian psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach in the 1920s.

36 Hypothetical apocalyptic climate event : NUCLEAR WINTER

“Nuclear winter” is the name given to the climatic effect of a nuclear war. The idea is that the amount of soot and smoke in the atmosphere after a large number of nuclear blasts would reduce the level of sunlight penetrating the atmosphere causing an artificial winter lasting several years. It is a hypothetical concept, thank goodness …

38 Transparent collectible : CEL

In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

39 Sticker in a garden : BUR

“Bur” is a variant spelling of the word “burr”. Both terms apply to a seed vessel that has hooks or prickles on the outside.

40 Issa of “The Mis-adventures of Awkward Black Girl” : RAE

Issa Rae is a Stanford University graduate who created a YouTube web series called “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl”. Rae also plays the title role in the series, a young lady named “J”. “Awkward Black Girl” was adapted into an HBO comedy-drama called “Insecure”, in which Issa Rae stars.

41 Islands sound : SKA

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of a sound.

50 Term popularized by le Carré : MOLE

A mole is a spy who works from within the ranks of an enemy’s government of intelligence service. The use of “mole” took off after publication of John le Carré’s 1974 novel “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. The author was himself a former intelligence officer and asserts that “mole” was a term used by the KGB, whereas Western agencies used the term “sleeper agent”.

57 Div. with MLB’s southernmost team : NL EAST

The Miami Marlins baseball team started out life in 1993 as the Florida Marlins. The franchise changed its name to the Miami Marlins in 2011 when it relocated to the newly constructed Marlins Park.

58 Rush hour metaphor : SARDINES

The commuters were packed in like sardines in a can.

Down

1 Gainesville athlete : GATOR

The Florida Gators are the sports teams of the University of Florida, located in Gainesville. Sometimes the female teams are called the “Lady Gators”, and all of the fans make up the “Gator Nation”.

The Florida city of Gainesville was established in 1853. The settlement was named for US Army officer Major General Edmund P. Gaines. Gainesville is home to the University of Florida.

2 Glowing rings : 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”.

4 Spring honorees : MOMS

Note the official punctuation in “Mother’s Day”, even though one might think it should be “Mothers’ Day”. President Wilson and Anna Jarvis, who created the tradition, specifically wanted Mother’s Day to honor the mothers within each family and not just “mothers” in general, so they went with the “Mother’s Day” punctuation.

5 Unverified way of seeing : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

10 Emu relatives : RHEAS

The rhea is a flightless bird that is native to South America. The rhea takes its name from the Greek Titan Rhea. It’s an apt name for a flightless bird as “rhea” comes from the Greek word meaning “ground”.

12 Middle Eastern leader who grew up in Milwaukee : GOLDA MEIR

Golda Meir was known as the “Iron Lady” when she was Prime Minister of Israel, long before that sobriquet came to be associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev (in modern-day Ukraine), and when she was a young girl she moved with her family to the United States and settled in Milwaukee. As a teenager she relocated to Denver where she met and married Morris Meyerson, at the age of 19. She and her husband joined a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921, when she was in her twenties. Meir had been active in politics in the US, and continued her political work in Palestine. She was very influential during WWII, and played a leading role in negotiations after the war leading to the setting up of the state of Israel. By the time she was called on to lead the country, Meir had already retired, citing exhaustion and ill health. But serve she did, and led Israel during turbulent times (e.g. the massacre at the Munich Olympics, and the Yom Kippur War). She eventually resigned in 1974, saying that was what the people wanted.

14 Camera initials : SLR

The initialism “SLR” stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually, cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

21 Sinus-clearing condiment : WASABI

Sometimes called Japanese horseradish, wasabi is a root used as a condiment in Japanese cooking. The taste of wasabi is more like mustard than a hot pepper in that the vapors that create the “hotness” stimulate the nasal passages rather than the tongue. Personally, I love the stuff …

24 TV comedy pioneer : BERLE

Comedian Milton Berle was known as “Uncle Miltie” and “Mr. Television”, and was arguably the first real star of American television. Berle was hosting “Texaco Star Theater” back in 1948.

31 Web-footed animal : OTTER

Male and female otters are known as dogs and bitches, with the offspring called pups. Males and females are are sometimes referred to as boars and sows. A collection of otters is a bevy, family, lodge or perhaps a romp. When in water, a collection of otters can be called a raft.

33 Oreo O’s, e.g. : CEREAL

The cereal called Oreo O’s was made by Post from 1998 to 2007. Oreo O’s were basically O-shaped (like Cheerios) but chocolate-flavored, dark brown in color and with white sprinkles on them. Oh, and lots of sugar.

34 Many Rwandans : HUTUS

The Hutu are the largest population in Rwanda, with the Tutsi being the second largest. The bloody conflict that has existed between the Tutsi and Hutu peoples dates back to about 1880 when Catholic missionaries arrived in the region. The missionaries found that they had more success converting the Hutus than the Tutsi, and when the Germans occupied the area during WWI they confiscated Tutsi land and gave it to Hutu tribes in order to reward religious conversion. This injustice fuels fighting to this very day.

36 Paired conjunction : NOR

Neither this, nor that.

42 Flora and fauna : BIOTA

The biota of a region is the total collection of flora and fauna found there.

43 Crime-fighting sidekick : ROBIN

Batman’s partner Robin is known for his very creative “Holy …!” exclamations. Here are few worth repeating from the original “Batman” TV show:

  • “Holy Tintinnabulation!”
  • “Holy Knit One, Purl Two!”
  • “Holy Oleo!”
  • “Holy Hole in a Doughnut!”

44 Antipasto morsel : OLIVE

Antipasto is the first course of a meal in Italy. “Antipasto” translates as “before the meal”.

45 “Seinfeld” surname : BENES

The character Elaine Benes, unlike the other lead characters (Jerry, Kramer and George), did not appear in the pilot episode of “Seinfeld”. NBC executives specified the addition of a female lead when they picked up the show citing that the situation was too “male-centric”.

50 Neighbor of Algeria : MALI

The Republic of Mali is a landlocked country in western Africa located south of Algeria. Formerly known as French Sudan, the nation’s most famous city is Timbuktu. Mali is the third-largest producer of gold on the continent, after South Africa and Ghana.

Algeria is a huge country, the second largest in Africa (only Sudan is larger), and the largest country on the Mediterranean. The capital of Algeria is Algiers, and the country takes its name from the city.

52 Early EPA concern : DDT

DDT is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (don’t forget now!). DDT was used with great success to control disease-carrying insects during WWII, and when made available for use after the war it became by far the most popular pesticide. And then Rachel Carson published her famous book “Silent Spring”, suggesting there was a link between DDT and diminishing populations of certain wildlife. It was the public outcry sparked by the book, and reports of links between DDT and cancer, that led to the ban on the use of the chemical in 1972. That ban is touted as the main reason that the bald eagle was rescued from near extinction.

54 Scoundrel : CAD

Our word “cad”, meaning “person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 It’s read monthly : GAS METER
9 Myers partner in personality type research : BRIGGS
15 Part of a backup plan : AUTOSAVE
16 “Ni-i-ice!” : OH COOL!
17 Walked all over : TRAMPLED
18 Word on some special plates : DEALER
19 Klutzes : OAFS
20 Understand : KNOW
22 Added conditions : ANDS
23 Two-tone shirt wearer : REF
24 Word with side or prop : BET
25 Crunch beneficiaries : ABS
27 Like : A LA
29 Contributed to : FED
30 Issuer of three-part nos. : SSA
31 Gulf of __ : OMAN
32 Exam given in spots? : RORSCHACH TEST
35 “I know, right?” : TELL ME ABOUT IT
36 Hypothetical apocalyptic climate event : NUCLEAR WINTER
37 Single : ONLY
38 Transparent collectible : CEL
39 Sticker in a garden : BUR
40 Issa of “The Mis-adventures of Awkward Black Girl” : RAE
41 Islands sound : SKA
42 __ stop : BUS
43 Hold up : ROB
46 Red state? : RASH
48 Hideout : LAIR
50 Term popularized by le Carré : MOLE
51 Have a positive impact : DO GOOD
53 Rustic home : LOG CABIN
55 Outwitted, in a way : ELUDED
56 Completely dominated : ATE ALIVE
57 Div. with MLB’s southernmost team : NL EAST
58 Rush hour metaphor : SARDINES

Down

1 Gainesville athlete : GATOR
2 Glowing rings : AURAE
3 Servers and such : STAFF
4 Spring honorees : MOMS
5 Unverified way of seeing : ESP
6 Exchanged insults, as competitors : TALKED SMACK
7 Wedding, for one : EVENT
8 Second chance : REDO
9 Gym rat’s pride : BOD
10 Emu relatives : RHEAS
11 Confident assertion : I CAN
12 Middle Eastern leader who grew up in Milwaukee : GOLDA MEIR
13 What an anchor does : GOES LAST
14 Camera initials : SLR
21 Sinus-clearing condiment : WASABI
24 TV comedy pioneer : BERLE
26 Nonkosher lunch, probably : BACON BURGER
28 Tiny tunneler : ANT
29 Recklessness : FOLLY
30 Wrapped accessory : SHAWL
31 Web-footed animal : OTTER
32 Group of local amateur teams : REC LEAGUE
33 Oreo O’s, e.g. : CEREAL
34 Many Rwandans : HUTUS
35 Sushi bar order : TUNA ROLL
36 Paired conjunction : NOR
41 Sole providers? : SHOES
42 Flora and fauna : BIOTA
43 Crime-fighting sidekick : ROBIN
44 Antipasto morsel : OLIVE
45 “Seinfeld” surname : BENES
47 Source of fizz : SODA
49 Remark with a sigh : ALAS
50 Neighbor of Algeria : MALI
51 Cubs’ home : DEN
52 Early EPA concern : DDT
54 Scoundrel : CAD

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 10 Aug 19, Saturday”

  1. LAT: 11:25, with one very stupid one-square error resulting from haste and inattention. Newsday’s “Saturday Stumper”: 24:56, no errors; a mercifully easy one, for a change. WSJ: 24:31, no errors.

  2. LAT: About 30 minutes, no errors. 32 Across clue would have been better phrased as “Exam given in blots,” not “spots.” Rorschach is the ink blot test, not the ink spot test.

    1. @RJB

      Technically you’re right, but then the clue would have lost its deceptiveness since “spots” can also refer to specific locations.

  3. How about this one? 3 minutes and 0 errors! Unfortunately, that was on
    The Jumble! It really puts things into perspective for me, when you guys
    do the big puzzle in 5 and 6 minutes during the week. But, we enjoy
    playing; DNS today’s LAT.

    Kudos.

    1. My smart lawyer son-in-law came over and did all but two squares of the
      Saturday LAT in about an hour. I found MALI (50D) in my puzzle dictionary
      and guessed E for 45D because that author writes spy novels, giving MOLE
      for 50A. I suppose I should have started, because I knew some of the words
      and may have been able to fill in some others. I gave up without even trying.
      Next time.

  4. LAT: 17:56, no errors. Saw the usual idiocy in this one that plagued the last few weekends, but somehow managed around it. WSJ: 18:41, no errors. Mercifully easy after the last two. Newsday: DNF after 1:25:20, 12 errors, 20% filled. The usual impossible insanity. Yesterday’s Croce: 1:08:03, no errors. My jaw hit the floor that I actually got into this one, much less managed to solve it. He must have taken it very easy with the solvers on this one that I managed it.

  5. 16:47. Certainly easier than today’s NYT puzzle. Erik Agard co-constructed today’s NYT and constructed today’s syndicated NYT puzzle as well so there’s no way of escaping him over there.

    Wow – so much vitriol regarding yesterday’s puzzle. If you don’t want to be challenged in how to think outside the box, do word search puzzles instead. Sheesh. You don’t have to like the puzzle, but don’t blame the setters. They’re challenging those that wish to be challenged.

    Dave – There are no stupid one square errors…..just stupid people that make those errors 😛 (tongue planted firmly in cheek on that one…). Reminded me of a teacher who used to tell us something similar: “Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question. There are just stupid people who ask the question.” He was joking as well…

    Best –

    1. > If you don’t want to be challenged in how to think outside the box, do word search puzzles instead. Sheesh.

      People typically select the kind of puzzles they do (branding-wise) based on their expected difficulty and experience with that puzzle. When the experience differs from that expectation as it did with Friday’s LAT, you’re going to get complaints. I wrote of another example on my blog. Not to mention, the editing has been shoddy the last month or so on late week LAT puzzles, too. But that’s another matter entirely.

      This is why I mention David Steinberg and Universal sometimes in this light. Universal has a certain set expectation, which is typically below what Steinberg has been known for. So while he’s an improvement over Timothy Parker in that editorship position, he will have to be sure to not budge too much beyond general expectation if he wants to not lose customers and keep business. I’ve already read a couple of cases where people have been turned off by Universal under Steinberg, so hopefully he doesn’t have a tin ear to what’s going on in his audience.

      (Notably, I get a lot of crossword books out of places like Goodwill which show this phenomena too. Personally I don’t mind if 2 or 3 of the puzzles have been solved to enjoy the rest. But still it’s a preference statement that they wouldn’t finish the book, and the reason for that usually is difficulty in some light.)

  6. Hard but enjoyable puzzle. Took me a long time. Figured out the Rorschach answer but looked up the spelling in my dictionary. No errors finally.
    Typical Saturday puzzle.

    1. Not sure what to say about this one. I don’t know about the etymology of smack talk(ing), but am very familiar with the term. Smack is a synonym for “trash” (which is what I had initially filled in!), if that helps.

  7. Good, challenging puzzle. Bill’s background info was very enlightening and educational.
    Re Bill’s comment on 43D: One of my favorites was “Holy shamrock!” Because, well, you know. Must have slipped that one past the censors. Other shows did similarly.
    Revisiting L.A. early autumn. Going to feel funny doing the LAT puzzle in the actual LAT!

  8. 14:35 was my time which is better than usual for the LAT Saturday. Even so, I really got stumped for a while in the NE… I was 100% positive about BRIGGS but then I got my brain stuck on “BRO” for the gym rat’s pride and that messed me up. That odd (for me) GOES LAST for what an anchor does didn’t help either.

  9. 18 mins 58 sec, and, solving online corrected 2 letters (4 potential errors) at the end. Nice challenge, and straightforward, too, something of a rarity these days. By contrast, I had a brief look at the Erik Agard grid in the NYT puzzle today, got halfway through the (useless, unhelpful and misleading) clues without one fill I could make and just moved on.

  10. Almost gave up on 41 Down as I had “uke” for 41 Across, but then slowed down in reading the clue again of “Islands sound” and realized I was thinking Hawaii when I needed to be thinking “Caribbean” and that finished the grid without final error. Phew!

  11. I did fine with todays puzzle except the NE was a bit tricky. But finished after getting “bod.” Easier Sat. puzzle than I remember from last week. I’m OK with that!

  12. Pretty tricky Saturday for me; took about 1.5 hrs with no errors.

    A lot of extra ink in the grid today: halos to AURAE, abs to BOD, chad to MALI, pit to BUS, …something…eeL to TUNAROLL and TrashTalked to TALKEDTrash to TALKEDSMACK – which gave me SKA to finish!

    Tricky but fair in the end, especially after yesterday’s whiff – two weeks in a row.

    I always wonder, regarding the complaints, how much is the setter’s doing and how much is the editor’s. We really don’t know. After watching the Shortz videos, he clearly intercedes if he thinks the clue isn’t challenging enough. The editor could change the puzzle completely from a Monday to a Saturday with the appropriate edits, so I try not to get to worked up against any particular setter’s clues.

  13. Hiya folks!!🦆

    DNF but I did enjoy the parts I was able to finish. I reckon I cheated on about 30% of this.

    Going to take the Myers-Briggs test online. Maybe it will enlighten me as to why tonight’s date was a flop. Either that or I’ll throw the I-Ching…..😁😯

    Be well~~🚋⚾️

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