LA Times Crossword 17 Aug 19, Saturday

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Constructed by: Michael Ashley
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 8m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Cute but nerdy : ADORKABLE

I consider “dork” and “adorkable” to be pretty offensive slang. “Dork” originated in the sixties among American students, and has its roots in another slang term, a term for male genitalia.

15 Area adjoining a bridge : RADAR ROOM

The captain of old sailing ships commanded the vessel from the quarterdeck at the rear, where the ship’s wheel was located. When paddle steamers were introduced, captains controlled the ship from a platform positioned between the two paddle houses at either side of the vessel. It was this “bridge” spanning the vessel that led to our modern use of the term “bridge” for the forward part of a ship’s superstructure from which the ship is navigated.

16 Hall of fame : ANNIE

I suppose if there is any Woody Allen movie that I enjoy watching, it’s “Annie Hall” from 1977. I think Diane Keaton is a great actress and she is wonderful in this film. You’ll see Paul Simon as well, making a rare movie appearance, and even Truman Capote playing himself. The film is also famous for sparking a movement in the fashion world to adopt the “Annie Hall” look, that very distinctive appearance championed by Diane Keaton as the Annie Hall character.

19 “Red Rocks” city : SEDONA

I’ve been to Red Rock State Park near Sedona several times, and it is a lovely place to visit. I read somewhere that there is a guided moonlight hike available, a 2½-hour guided trek that takes in sunset and moonrise. It’s on my list of things to do …

23 Animated queen : NALA

In “The Lion King”, Nala is a lioness and the childhood friend of Simba. By the end of the story, Nala and Simba become wedded. “The Lion King” is inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, with Simba representing the title character, and Nala representing Hamlet’s love interest Ophelia.

25 Inc. relative : LLC

A limited liability company (LLC) has a structure that limits the liability of the owner or owners. It is a hybrid structure in the sense that it can be taxed as would an individual or partnership, while also maintaining the liability protection afforded to a corporation.

31 “My Way” singer, 1998 : USHER

Usher is the stage name of R&B singer Usher Terry Raymond IV.

33 Jimmy : PRY

“Jimmy” is a variant of the word “jemmy” that is used for a type of crowbar, one associated with burglars back in the 1800s.

34 Half a comedy duo : MEARA

Anne Meara married fellow comedic actor Jerry Stiller in 1954. The couple’s children are actors Ben and Amy Stiller. Meara co-starred with Carroll O’Connor and Martin Balsam in the eighties sitcom “Archie Bunker’s Place”, a spin-off from “All in the Family”.

39 Title voice actor in “Puss in Boots” (2011) : ANTONIO BANDERAS

Antonio Banderas is an actor from Málaga in Andalusia on the southern coast of Spain. Banderas’s breakthrough role in Hollywood was the gay lover of the Tom Hanks character in 1993’s “Philadelphia”. He is married to actress Melanie Griffith whom he met in 1995 while filming “Two Much”.

“Puss in Boots” is a 2011 animated film that is based on the European fairy tale that dates back to 1697. The movie is a spin-off of the “Shrek” series of films, and serves as a prequel. The title character of “Puss in Boots” is voiced by Antonio Banderas.

41 “Feels like” weather calculation : HEAT INDEX

The heat index combines air temperature and relative humidity. It is an attempt to measure the relative temperature that is actually perceived by a person. The idea is that temperatures are perceived by us as being higher if accompanied by high humidity. This is because when the humidity is high the body finds it more difficult to cool itself by perspiring.

43 DOJ branch : ATF

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is today part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the ATF’s name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

44 Wavelike pattern : MOIRE

A moiré pattern is a phenomenon in physics, a so-called interference pattern. If you lay two sheets of mesh over each other for example, slightly offset, then what you see is a moiré pattern. “Moiré” is the French name for a textile that we know simply as “moire”. The rippled pattern of the textile resembles that of the interference pattern.

56 ’60s-’70s crime drama : THE FBI

“The F.B.I.” is a crime TV series that originally ran from 1965 to 1974. Star of the show is Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. who played Inspector Lewis Erskine. The Ford Motor Company sponsored the show, so the main characters were sure to always drive Ford automobiles. Former Director of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover served as a consultant for the series.

60 Dogpatch name : ABNER

The cartoonist Al Capp set his classic comic strip “Li’l Abner” in the fictional community of Dogpatch. According to one of the “Li’l Abner” strips, Dogpatch is located somewhere in the state of Kentucky.

62 Common epidemic factor : CONTAGION

A contagion is a contagious disease or a disease-producing agent. The term “contagion” ultimately derives from the Latin “com” meaning “with” and “tangere” meaning “to touch”. A distinction is sometimes made between the nouns “contagion” and “infection”, with the former referring to transmission of disease by contact, and the latter referring to transmission through the air by floating germs.

65 Fronded rainforest plants : TREE FERNS

Tree ferns are ferns with trunks that elevate the fronds, keeping them above ground level.

66 Conform with : HEW TO

To hew to something is to conform to it, especially to a rule or principle.

67 United Federation of Planets service : STARFLEET

In the “Star Trek” universe, Starfleet is the military service maintained by the United Federation of Planets. Famously, Starfleet is also tasked with deep-space exploration, “to boldly go where no man has gone before …”

Down

1 Onassis and others : ARIS

Aristotle “Ari” Onassis was born to a successful Greek shipping entrepreneur in Smyrna in modern-day Turkey. However, his family lost its fortune during WWI and so Aristotle worked with his father to build up a new business empire centered on the importation of tobacco. In 1957, Aristotle founded the Greek national airline, what is today called Olympic Air, and he also got into the business of shipping oil around the world. He married Athina Livanos in 1946, the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. They couple had two children together, with one being the famous Christina Onassis. Livanos divorced Onassis on discovering him in bed with the opera singer Maria Callas. Onassis ended his affair with Callas in order to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968.

2 1993 Kevin Kline title role : DAVE

Actor Kevin Kline stars in many of my favorite films, like “French Kiss” (in which he had a very impressive French accent) and “A Fish Called Wanda.” Kline also appeared in the romantic comedy “In & Out”, another favorite. “In & Out” is perhaps best remembered for its dramatic “interaction” between Kevin Kline and Tom Selleck … if you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil it for you by saying any more!

“Dave” is a fun 1993 comedy film starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. Kline plays the title character, someone who has a side job impersonating the sitting US president. Dave ends up subbing for the president in the Oval Office, and hilarity ensues.

3 Had too much : OD’ED

Overdose (OD)

4 Was loquacious : RAN ON

I think that “Loquacious” is a lovely word. To be loquacious is to be excessively wordy, full of excessive talk. Sort of like this blog …

5 Icelandic monetary unit : KRONA

The króna is the currency of Iceland. Iceland is the second-least populous country with its own currency (after the Seychelles).

8 “Firecracker” singer Lisa : LOEB

Singer Lisa Loeb was discovered by actor Ethan Hawke, who lived just across the street from her in New York City. Hawke took a demo of her song “Stay (I Missed You)” and gave it to director Ben Stiller, who in turn used it over the ending credits of his 1994 movie “Reality Bites”. The movie was a hit, the song went to number one, and Loeb became the first artist ever to hit that number one spot without having signed up with a record label. Good for her!

10 Avila article : LAS

In Spanish, the definite article is “el” for masculine nouns (plural “los”), and “la” for feminine nouns (plural “las”).

Avila is famous for the walled defenses around the old city, which date back to 1090. They were constructed out of brown granite, and are still in excellent repair. There are nine gateways and eighty-towers in all. Even the cathedral built between the 12th and 14th centuries is part of the city’s defenses, so it looks like an imposing fortress.

21 Close in films : GLENN

Glenn Close a wonderful actress who has played many varied roles, but is well known for her portrayals of less than wholesome characters. She play the crazy Alex Forrest in “Fatal Attraction”, and Cruella de Vil in “101 Dalmatians”. More recently, Close had a regular role on a TV show called “Damages”. Glenn Close is an avid fan of the New York Mets and regularly sings the national anthem before games.

24 Self-taught people : AUTODIDACTS

An autodidact is someone who is self-taught. The term “autodidact” comes from the Greek “autos” meaning “self” and “didaktos” meaning “taught”.

26 System of belief : CREDO

A creed or credo is a confession of faith, or a system of belief or principles. “Credo” is Latin for “I believe”.

28 D-Day hot spot : OMAHA BEACH

The Normandy landings on D-Day in 1944 took place along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. The worst fighting by far took place on Omaha Beach, a sector assigned to the US Army that was transported by elements of the US Navy and the Royal Navy.

36 “The Red Turtle” genre : ANIME

“The Red Turtle” is a 2016 animated film about a man shipwrecked on an island where he meets up with a giant red turtle. The turtle is a female, and man and crustacean become involved romantically. I kid you not …

40 Words after all or hole : … IN ONE

One well-documented hole in one (ace) was during a round of the British Open in 1973. American golfer Gene Sarazen achieved the feat that day, at the age of 71. A less well-documented series of holes in one was reported by the North Korean press in a story about the Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The report was that Kim Jong-il scored 11 holes in one in his one and only round of golf.

50 Threshing remains : CHAFF

When grain has been separated from its chaff, to prepare it for grinding, it is called “grist”. Indeed, the word “grist” is derived from the word “grind”. Grist can be ground into a relatively coarse meal, or into a fine flour. The names can be confusing though. For example, the grist from maize when ground to a coarse consistency is called “grits”, and when ground to a fine consistency is called “corn meal”. There is an idiomatic phrase “grist for one’s mill”, meaning something used to one’s advantage. The grinding mechanism, or the building that holds the mechanism, is known as a “gristmill”.

51 German idealism pioneer : HEGEL

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, and one of the founders of the German idealism movement. “Idealism”, in the context of the movement, was the principle that objects did not have properties in themselves, but rather that an object’s properties depended on the person perceiving the object.

53 Spruce : NEAT

Our verb “to spruce up” means “to make trim or neat”. The term comes from the adjective “spruce”, meaning “smart, neat”. In turn, the adjective comes from “spruce leather”, which was a Prussian leather that was used in England in the 15th and 16th centuries to make a popular style of jerkin that was widely considered to look quite smart.

55 Libel or slander : TORT

“Tort” is a French word meaning “mischief, injury or wrong”. In common law, a tort is a civil wrong that results in the injured party suffering loss or harm, and the injuring party having a legal liability. Tort law differs from criminal law in that torts may result from negligence and not just intentional actions. Also, tort lawsuits may be decided on a preponderance of evidence, without the need of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

The word “libel” describes a published or written statement likely to harm a person’s reputation. It comes into English from the Latin “libellus”, the word for a small book. Back in the 1500s, libel was just a formal written statement, with the more damaging association arising in the 1600s. The related concept of slander is defamation in a transient form, such as speech, sign language or gestures.

57 Gift from Prometheus : FIRE

In Greek mythology, Prometheus was one of the Titans. He was said to have created man from clay as well as giving fire to humanity, and hence allowing the human race to prosper.

61 One of the Big Five in Hollywood’s Golden Age : RKO

During the Golden Age of Cinema (roughly, the thirties and forties), the “Big Five” Hollywood studios were:

  • Lowe’s/MGM
  • Paramount
  • Fox (later “20th Century Fox”)
  • Warner Bros.
  • RKO

63 Org. awarded a Special Tony in 2016 : NEA

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and financing for artistic projects. The NEA was created by an Act of Congress in 1965. Between 1965 and 2008, the NEA awarded over $4 billion to the arts, with Congress authorizing around $170 million annually through the eighties and much of the nineties. That funding was cut to less than $100 million in the late nineties due to pressure from conservatives concerned about the use of funds, but it is now back over the $150 million mark. I wonder how long that will last though …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Cute but nerdy : ADORKABLE
10 Praises highly : LAUDS
15 Area adjoining a bridge : RADAR ROOM
16 Hall of fame : ANNIE
17 “Search me” : I’VE NO IDEA
18 Service period : STINT
19 “Red Rocks” city : SEDONA
20 Epic : BIG
22 Vermont tourist destinations : INNS
23 Animated queen : NALA
25 Inc. relative : LLC
27 Match at the poker table : SEE
28 Make a pick : OPT
31 “My Way” singer, 1998 : USHER
33 Jimmy : PRY
34 Half a comedy duo : MEARA
37 Apart from the rest : TO ONE SIDE
39 Title voice actor in “Puss in Boots” (2011) : ANTONIO BANDERAS
41 “Feels like” weather calculation : HEAT INDEX
42 Be a debtor of : OWE TO
43 DOJ branch : ATF
44 Wavelike pattern : MOIRE
45 Man cave, for some : DEN
46 Bud : BRO
47 Wrap up : END
48 Very : SUCH
52 Work to acquire : EARN
54 Retract, as words : EAT
56 ’60s-’70s crime drama : THE FBI
60 Dogpatch name : ABNER
62 Common epidemic factor : CONTAGION
64 Veil : CLOAK
65 Fronded rainforest plants : TREE FERNS
66 Conform with : HEW TO
67 United Federation of Planets service : STARFLEET

Down

1 Onassis and others : ARIS
2 1993 Kevin Kline title role : DAVE
3 Had too much : OD’ED
4 Was loquacious : RAN ON
5 Icelandic monetary unit : KRONA
6 Easy-to-read font : ARIAL
7 Hunk’s pride : BOD
8 “Firecracker” singer Lisa : LOEB
9 Online forgeries : EMAIL HOAXES
10 Avila article : LAS
11 Not a source of support for : ANTI
12 Trite : UNINSPIRED
13 Start of many a romance : DINNER DATE
14 Catches sight of : SETS EYES ON
21 Close in films : GLENN
24 Self-taught people : AUTODIDACTS
26 System of belief : CREDO
28 D-Day hot spot : OMAHA BEACH
29 Porous : PENETRABLE
30 Casual parting words : TA-TA FOR NOW
32 Not at all high : SOBER
35 Go to seed : ROT
36 “The Red Turtle” genre : ANIME
38 Mend, in a way : SEW
40 Words after all or hole : … IN ONE
49 Speak : UTTER
50 Threshing remains : CHAFF
51 German idealism pioneer : HEGEL
53 Spruce : NEAT
55 Libel or slander : TORT
57 Gift from Prometheus : FIRE
58 Joint component : BONE
59 Research ctr. : INST
61 One of the Big Five in Hollywood’s Golden Age : RKO
63 Org. awarded a Special Tony in 2016 : NEA

26 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 17 Aug 19, Saturday”

    1. Do you mean CrosSynergy, which no longer produces puzzles? WaPo replaced their daily with this puzzle, so this is the “decent WaPo puzzle” right now. That said, CrosSynergy was an indie effort that was directed to only produce Tuesday level NYT type stuff by the clients they did get. While I’d agree they did a good job for the ones I’ve seen, evidently a lot didn’t think they did good puzzles to put money behind it.

      That said, there’s a lot of puzzles out there that are simply more difficult than what they did, like this one (which in the grand scheme of all things wasn’t that difficult).

  1. I thought I knew 8 words on my first pass, will not pursue further,
    unless smart son-in-law comes over. Content to wait until Monday.

  2. Two people working together: 51 minutes.
    adorkable? not even a word
    who is Lisa Loeb?
    who is Queen Nala?
    never heard of movie “Dave”
    very = such? kind of a stretch
    don’t know Hegel
    etc, etc
    Bill did it in 8 minutes, 32 seconds? I’m sorry, I have a hard time believing that.

    1. Yeah, I also have trouble believing it took Bill that long … 😜

      More seriously … if you do a bit of research, you’ll find that there are solvers a lot faster than Bill. Check out the solve times of participants in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Rent the movie “Word Play” and watch it.

      I, for one, am never surprised to find that there are people better, taller, smarter, faster, prettier, etc., than me … 😜.

    2. A lot of that is pretty standard pop culture. Adorkable is in the dictionary. Hegel is someone you catch in philosophy, but he’s pretty commonly known otherwise.

      @Dave
      Actually if you gauge against the ACPT, this themeless would only be similar to what you’d see if you got to stand at the marker boards so there’s not a lot of data points to use to float the ACPT as a comparison. That said, Bill isn’t very far off from the C division titlist times on this puzzle in comparison to the last ACPT. (it’s a little bit harder than the C Div clues though).

  3. LAT: 11:52, no errors.

    WSJ 21×21: 55:25, no errors. I thought it was harder than usual, partly because the print was very small and I was having trouble with my eyes (ozone? allergens?), but I also paused for sometime in the lower left over the intersection of an anime term and a bit of British slang.

    Newsday’s “Saturday Stumper”: 1:24:41, no errors. For me, another very difficult one.

    (I did these after a trip to the mountains with my SO and after doing yesterday’s Tim Croce puzzle, which may have skewed my perception of their difficulty.)

    That book I mentioned a few days ago (by Dean Olsher) ends with a “cryptic” puzzle (the kind of thing Bill grew up doing, I think) and I’ve been working on it a bit. A very different sort of task (one I doubt that I’ll get hooked on, but … you just never know … 😜).

  4. LAT: 14:20, no errors. WSJ: 20:37, no errors. A definitely more pleasurable Saturday. Been attempting Croce and Newsday and I’ll see if I get anywhere with those real soon.

    @Dave
    (Old discussion) The one thing I’ll say about NYT 0706 is that it was a good puzzle except for the section that Agard mentioned in that review (which I DNFed on, basically 3 unknowns in a row up and down). That’s why I pointed out his review – he was pretty accurate (after the fact) about the problem with it. On the other hand, 0711 was a complete stink bomb that should have never saw the light of day.

    The book I mentioned (Crossword Century, Alan Connor) was similar in getting into cryptics and I’ve tried them for a period before I had to tend to some other stuff. Between this book and another, I got a pretty good basic idea of it. Problem is most of the stuff I find either throws the kitchen sink at you or does that and has additional gimmicks on top of it (the WSJ’s). Found 5 straight forward American language (as opposed to British) ones going around online, but they still seem to ramp things up. Need some Monday type equivalents to start on. As for another note out of the book I read, turns out BEQ is bigger into cryptics as a solver and actually constructs a fair number of those kind of puzzles. This book has one of his puzzles on the back cover.

    In other news, the crossword contest happening today sold out (no place to seat people to do the contest, evidently – luckily At-Home doesn’t have that problem). I heard ACPT was threatening to have those kind of troubles this year too. Can’t say I’ve heard of that before, but evidently so. Definitely interesting. I’m guessing from the stats on my ACPT feedback that there’s a huge influx of first timers coming in.

  5. 24:55. An awful lot of good guessing in this one as I didn’t know a lot of the movies, singers etc. I’m most proud of getting ANTONIO BANDERAS after only a few letters and having no idea he was in that movie.

    I’m new to HEW TO too.

    Still recovering from three incredible days in Houston. I cannot remember 3 more eventful and exhausting days in recent memory. Among other things, I was going in for minor surgery only to have the surgeon send me home. Apparently my body had fixed the issue on its own. The only explanation was “a very stout immune system”. Whatever….I’ll take it. The whole ordeal still has my head spinning.

    Too much other work-related craziness during the Houston trip to chronicle here, but it was 3 crazy days indeed. I spent my last night with a friend of 20+ years sipping tequila at my favorite Mexican restaurant there….so it wasn’t all bad.

    Best

    1. Jeff!! Re your body fixing the issue: Something similar happened to me once too! I couldn’t believe it. Of course that was some fifteen years ago– I am probably less *robust* now…!!!😎

  6. No real problems today. I only had two ink overs, which for a Saturday is in the extreme low range for me. On to the WSJ 21X21 later at work.

    Hope everyone of the other FOBB’s (Friends of Bill’s Blog) have a good weekend.

  7. 15 mins 52 sec, no errors. Solve time bloated by the cross of CONTAGION/HEGEL.

    Really getting fed up with terms like ADORKABLE. I’m sorry, these trendy, new hipster terms are just not in use enough to qualify for a grid.

    But, on the plus side, I have an error-free week, albeit aided on 3 squares by the e-puzzle’s solve messages to help me spot small boo-boos.

  8. Re Bill’s note about “dork”- the counterpoint to that is the vulgarization of the term “suck.” Originally, the pejorative form of this word applied to dogs. A dog that “sucked eggs” was not a dog one would want to keep on a farm. This became used more generally, as in “that car sucks eggs.” Eventually, people began saying something just “sucks,” without the “eggs.” But to most young people, unaware of its derivation, the term has a sexual connotation. To me, that sucks! I hate the vulgarization of society.
    No errors on puzzle. Should have timed myself, because I went like a flash.

    1. That’s what I was thinking. I considered Denver or Golden in the squares, but decided to wait for a couple of crosses.

  9. 51:14 no errors…I got 24D via crosses…..NYT 0713 one hr and 4 min with 5 errors but it was a David Steinberg puzzle so that’s par for the course

  10. Adorkable~ A strange new word for me. After reading its meaning, the only reasonable/ workable usage I could imagine would be the similarity
    to our presidents masterful skills at our English language and his public speaking prowess.

    Eddie

  11. 36 down. The red turtle is no crustacean but a reptile. But, looking up the supernatural plot of the film, I wonder a bit.

  12. Did better than yesterday, but still had holes in the SE. Also, my brain (15A) was on the “Brooklyn” type bridge and never thought about a bridge on a boat. Well……so much for Sat.

    Carrie: Think we can now really start thinking that the Dodgers have a chance this year. Dodgers vs Yankees? Could be interesting.

  13. Fairly easy Saturday for me; took about 40-45 minutes with a 20 minute break in the middle to check on the baseball (Yes – back in 2nd place!)and soccer games. Used a lot of fortuitous guesses and crosses to get to the finish line. Having seen a few of the answers before sure helped.

    Saw ANT…BANDERAS almost right away, unfortunately I put in ANThony, which I eventually fixed. Also had to change orate to UTTER. Had to make a guess at N*LA and KRON*, where E or A would’ve fit and made the right choice. Need to remember Nala/Simba/Lion King.

  14. Greetings y’all!!🦆

    Once again, DNF without cheating, tho I only had to look up 3 words. It seems a long time since I’ve finished a Saturday– too distracted of late.🤔

    I especially got stuck in the NE. The down answers eluded me, and I couldn’t get ANNIE, which is pretty lame, as Annie Hall is one of my favorite movies. Then I got stuck on “My Way ” singer and thought of both Ed Asner and Al Unser before coming up with USHER!!😁 Like Dirk, I had to choose between E and A at KRONA/NALA, but…. I CHOSE WRONG…😒

    Kay! Yes, we are going all the way!!!!…. but those pesky Yankees won today, and the Dodgers have dropped just below them for the first time since early in the season…I hope we take Sunday’s game!

    Be well~~🚋⚾️

  15. @ Old Man in Minnesota

    I assume that if one is retired and has done 5-6 crosswords a day for many years then more answers come quickly. I work and have a wife and kids so I don’t have the luxury of doing more than 2 crosswords a day (not that I want to). I did the puzzle in about 16 minutes – but if I don’t get stuck in the SE corner for 4 minutes and somewhere else for 2 minutes – then it becomes like 10 minutes so … 8 1/2 is doable for an old pro.

    I wouldn’t worry about time anyway – just getting the puzzle done is more important. We are not in the ACPT so 8 mins versus 30 mins doesn’t matter.

    Most puzzles have some level of crappy time clues. RADARROOM – why not ? If I was born in the 60s – am I really going to know the crime drama – THEFBI ? TREEFERNS – sure … There are a lot of comedy duos – so MEARA just becomes a fill. HEWTO – sure I hear that all the time !!!

    Luckily my daughter just went to Iceland so KRONA is a gimmee

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