LA Times Crossword 24 Aug 19, Saturday

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Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 10m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Karate match exchanges : BOWS

“Karate” is a Japanese word meaning “empty hand”, and the related word “karaoke” translates as “empty orchestra”.

5 Nickname for Chicago’s Ernie Banks : MR CUB

First baseman Ernie Banks was known as “Mr. Cub”, and played his entire 19-year professional career with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs retired Banks’ uniform number 14 in 1982, making him the first Cubs player to be so honored. Banks was known for his catchphrase, “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame … Let’s play two!”, a reference to his love of the game, always wanting to play a doubleheader.

10 Gradually decrease : WANE

The verbs “to wax” and “to wane” come from Old English. To wax is to increase gradually in size, strength, intensity or number. To wane is to decrease gradually.

20 Corrida shout : OLE!

Spanish bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, literally “race of bulls”.

21 Christmas hymn start : ADESTE …

The lovely Christmas hymn “Adeste Fideles” (entitled “O Come, All Ye Faithful” in English) was written by one John Francis Wade in the 13th century. Well, he wrote the original four verses, with four more verses being added over time. A kind blog reader pointed out to me that the English translation is in fact a little “off”. The term “adeste” best translates from Latin as “be present, attend”, rather than “come”. The verb “come” appears later in the lyrics in “venite adoremus”, meaning “come, let us worship”.

23 One in a gun show? : GYM RAT

“Gym rat” is a slang term describing someone who spends all of his or her leisure time playing sports or working out at the gym. Never been called a gym rat …

“Guns” is a slang term for very strong arms or biceps.

25 Ax wielder, at times : BOSS

That would be a saw boss, the supervisor of a saw crew.

26 Lover of Euridice, in a Gluck opera : ORFEO

“Orfeo ed Euridice” is an opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck that was first performed in 1762. It is perhaps Gluck’s most popular work.

28 Anaheim stadium nickname : BIG A

Angel Stadium of Anaheim is sometimes called the Big A. The Big A opened for business in 1966, making it the fourth oldest stadium in the major leagues, after Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium.

30 1843 story narrated by a murderer, with “The” : TELL-TALE HEART

Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Tell-Tale Heart” is arguably one of his most disturbing works. It is a story of cold-blooded and premeditated murder, with some dismemberment thrown in for good measure.

35 Finger in the dike, so to speak : DAMAGE CONTROL

“Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates” is a children’s novel written by American author Mary Mapes Dodge, first published in 1865. The novel is famous for introducing a story, told with within the novel’s own storyline, the tale of the little Dutch boy who put his finger in the leaking dike. I always thought the tale of the boy and the dike was a Dutch legend but no, it was a literary invention of Mary Mapes Dodge …

44 Meteorological line : ISOBAR

An isobar is a line on a weather map connecting points of equal barometric pressure.

48 Units for many staples: Abbr. : LBS

The unit of mass that we know today as a pound is descended from the old Roman unit of weight known as a “libra”. That “libra” connection is why we abbreviate “pound” to “lb”. The name “pound” comes from the Latin “pondo” meaning “weight”. Our term “ounce” (abbreviated to “oz.”) comes from the Latin “uncia”, which was 1/12 of a Roman “libra”.

53 Beyond reason : INORDINATE

Back in the late 1500s, something said to be inordinate was not ordered, lacked regularity. Over time, this meaning evolved into “exceeding orderly limits” and so “immoderate, excessive”.

56 Heavy burdens : MILLSTONES

Millstones are pairs of heavy stones used for grinding grains in a gristmill. ONe stone is stationary, and is called the “bedstone”. The “runner stone” turns above the bedstone, and does the actual grinding. The idiom “millstone around one’s neck”, meaning “carrying a heavy load or responsibility”, originated in the gospel of Matthew:

If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

57 Wonder Woman gal pal __ Candy : ETTA

Etta Candy was introduced into Wonder Woman’s universe by DC Comics in 1942. She started out as an undernourished young woman who Wonder Woman encountered in a local hospital. The next time Etta appeared in the comics, she was a rather rotund woman who claims to have been rejuvenated by eating candy. That was 1942 …

58 Pompano kin : SCAD

“Scad” is the common name for various species in the family of fish known taxonomically as the Carangidae. “Scad” is a Cornish term that dates back to about 1600, when it was used to describe the fish also known as the horse mackerel.

The fish known as a pompano takes its name via Spanish from the Latin “pampinus” meaning “tendril, leaf of a vine”. The name probably comes from the shape of the fish, which somewhat resembles a vine leaf.

59 Black-necked shorebird : STILT

The avocet is found in warm climates, usually in saline wetlands where it uses its upcurved bill to sweep from side-to-side in water searching for aquatic insects on which it feeds. Avocets, and other similar species, may go by the common name of “stilts”, a moniker applied to them because of their long legs.

60 World power initials until 1991 : USSR

When the former Soviet Union (USSR) dissolved in 1991, it was largely replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The formation of the CIS underscored the new reality, that the former Soviet Republics (SSRs) were now independent states. Most of the 15 former SSRs joined the CIS. Notably, the three Baltic SSRs (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) opted not to join the new commonwealth, and in 2004 joined NATO and the EU.

Down

1 Slow cooker associated with Boston : BEANPOT

In the days of sail, the natural trade routes across the Atlantic involved a lot of ships arriving in Boston directly from West Indies. One of the main cargoes carried by these vessels coming from the West Indies was molasses. An abundance of cheap molasses led to an abundance of baked beans in the port city, and all those baked beans gave rise to Boston’s nickname “Beantown”.

5 “I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer” doctor : MCCOY

Actor DeForest Kelley is best known for playing Bones McCoy in the original “Star Trek” cast. The show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, originally offered Kelley the role of Spock, but Kelly refused it and so was given the part of the ship’s medical officer. Bones McCoy had the habit of expressing a need to stick to his medical duties, despite the wishes of his fellow crew members, for example:

  • What am I, a doctor or a moon shuttle conductor?
  • I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer!
  • I’m a doctor, not an escalator.
  • I’m not a magician, Spock, just an old country doctor.
  • I’m a doctor, not a coal miner.
  • Damn it, man, I’m a doctor, not a torpedo technician!

7 Worker with rattan : CANER

Rattan is the name of a large number of species of palms, all of which look less like trees and more like vines. The woody stems are used for making cane furniture.

8 “For the Boys” org. : USO

The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

“For the Boys” is a 1991 movie starring Bette Midler and James Caan as two performers entertaining the troops during WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Although the movie is fictional, many believe that Caan’s character is based on Bob Hope, and Midler’s on actress and singer Martha Raye. In fact, Raye pursued an ultimately unsuccessful legal action against the film’s producers on that basis.

10 Port vessel : WINE BARREL

Portugal’s city of Oporto (“Porto” in Portuguese) gave its name to port wine in the late 1600s. Oporto was the seaport through which most of the region’s fortified red wine was exported.

12 “Fiddlesticks!” : NERTS!

“Nerts” is a slang term, a corruption of “nuts!”

We’ve been using “fiddlesticks” to mean “nonsense” since the early 17th century. Prior to that time, “fiddlestick” referred to the bow of a fiddle.

13 Pair of shoes? : ESSES

There is a pair of letters S (esses) in the word “shoes”.

16 Ness, for one : FED

A fed is an officer of a US federal agency, although the term “fed” usually applies to an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Eliot Ness was the Treasury agent charged with the task of bringing down the notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone. When Ness took on the job in 1930, Chicago law-enforcement agents were renowned for being corrupt, for being on the take. Ness handpicked 50 prohibition agents who he thought he could rely on, later reducing the group to a cadre of 15 and ultimately just 11 trusted men. That group of 11 earned the nickname “The Untouchables”, the agents who couldn’t be bought.

27 “Sesame Street” segment : ELMO’S WORLD

The last 15 minutes of the children’s show “Sesame Street” was called “Elmo’s World”. The ending segment was directed towards younger viewers, those around 3 years old.

33 “The Name of the Rose” author : ECO

Umberto Eco was an Italian writer who is probably best known for his novel “The Name of the Rose”, published in 1980. In 1986, “The Name of the Rose” was adapted into a movie with the same title starring Sean Connery.

43 Target of a new vaccine : EBOLA

The Ebola virus causes a very nasty form of hemorrhagic fever. The name of the virus comes from the site of the first known outbreak, in a mission hospital in the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then known as Zaire). The disease is transmitted from human to human by exposure to bodily fluids. In nature, the main carrier of Ebola is the fruit bat.

45 Spender of rials : OMANI

Rial is the name of the currency of Oman (as well as Yemen, Iran, Cambodia and Tunisia). Generally, there are 1,000 baisa in a rial.

46 Stimulating nut : BETEL

A betel nut is something that is chewed, especially in parts of Asia. “Betel nut” is a bit of a misnomer, as the nut in question is actually an areca nut from the Areca palm. For chewing, the areca nut is wrapped in betel leaves and the whole thing is called a “betel nut”.

47 ’50s headline event : A-TEST

Atomic test (A-test)

50 Takes in too much, for short : OD’S

Overdose (OD)

52 Spirit of Notre-Dame : DIEU

In French, “Dieu” (God) is the foe of “le diable” (the devil).

Notre-Dame de Paris is the spectacular Gothic cathedral that sits on the Île de la Cité, one of the islands in the middle on the River Seine in Paris. Notre Dame is home to many beautiful and significant artifacts, the most famous of which is the Crown of Thorns supposedly worn by Jesus Christ at his execution, placed in the cathedral in 1239. It’s also home to some magnificent gargoyles on the roof, and you can climb up to the roof and take a very close look at them. Well, you used to be able to, until the tragic fire of 2019.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Karate match exchanges : BOWS
5 Nickname for Chicago’s Ernie Banks : MR CUB
10 Gradually decrease : WANE
14 Chamber phenomenon : ECHO
15 Campaign suspensions : CEASEFIRES
17 Biting : ACID
18 Gadgets with small rotary blades : CAN OPENERS
19 Pub nibbles : NUTS
20 Corrida shout : OLE!
21 Christmas hymn start : ADESTE …
22 Vent opening? : PRE-
23 One in a gun show? : GYM RAT
25 Ax wielder, at times : BOSS
26 Lover of Euridice, in a Gluck opera : ORFEO
28 Anaheim stadium nickname : BIG A
30 1843 story narrated by a murderer, with “The” : TELL-TALE HEART
35 Finger in the dike, so to speak : DAMAGE CONTROL
37 Out until tomorrow : GONE FOR THE DAY
39 Essential nutrient : SALT
40 Split for a union : ELOPE
41 Gush : SPEW
44 Meteorological line : ISOBAR
48 Units for many staples: Abbr. : LBS
49 Blowup sound : KABOOM!
51 Bumped into : MET
52 Didn’t make it through committee, as a bill : DIED
53 Beyond reason : INORDINATE
55 Land in a lake : ISLE
56 Heavy burdens : MILLSTONES
57 Wonder Woman gal pal __ Candy : ETTA
58 Pompano kin : SCAD
59 Black-necked shorebird : STILT
60 World power initials until 1991 : USSR

Down

1 Slow cooker associated with Boston : BEANPOT
2 Went down, in a way : OCCURRED
3 Yield sign? : WHITE FLAG
4 Puts down roots : SODS
5 “I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer” doctor : MCCOY
6 King’s domain : REALM
7 Worker with rattan : CANER
8 “For the Boys” org. : USO
9 Advice for the itchy : BE PATIENT
10 Port vessel : WINE BARREL
11 “You __ lucky!” : ARE SO
12 “Fiddlesticks!” : NERTS!
13 Pair of shoes? : ESSES
16 Ness, for one : FED
23 Was a whiz on a quiz : GOT AN A
24 Can’t stand : ABHOR
27 “Sesame Street” segment : ELMO’S WORLD
29 Round up : GATHER
31 Certain eligibility rules : AGE LIMITS
32 Ali hooks, at times : LEFTS
33 “The Name of the Rose” author : ECO
34 Work plans : TO-DO LISTS
36 Safety features that have evolved since their inception : LAP BELTS
38 Spousal consent : YES, DEAR
41 Works on pools : SKIMS
42 __ attack : PANIC
43 Target of a new vaccine : EBOLA
45 Spender of rials : OMANI
46 Stimulating nut : BETEL
47 ’50s headline event : A-TEST
50 Takes in too much, for short : OD’S
52 Spirit of Notre-Dame : DIEU
54 “__ my problem” : NOT

31 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 24 Aug 19, Saturday”

    1. @Glenn … Re “if I don’t get it there won’t be a large number that will” (from yesterday’s blog, concerning the WSJ meta).

      I guess we’ll know for sure when the statistics appear on Monday, but the early posts on the new “muggles” site, at

      https://www.xword-muggles.com/forums/ucp.php?mode=login

      seem to support my contention that there will be a lot of correct entries, so I would urge you to take another look at the meta.

      (And I hope you’re recovering from yesterday’s oral ordeal. 😳)

      1. @Dave
        Actually for puzzling, I find the meta puzzles to be the in-jokes of puzzling. You either just get them or you don’t. No logic, solving ability, or nothing. Hence, if I don’t see it in the first 15 minutes before my eyes glaze over, I’m going to never see it if I have 10 years to look at it. That’s been proven out on every other meta and it’ll be proven out on this one.

        And actually it’s Thursday’s oral ordeal. Still sore. But hoping it’s going to fix the problem.

        1. @Glenn … I disagree that no logic or solving ability is involved, but what is required is hard to describe in a cut-and-dried, step-by-step way. Frequently, when I’m working on a hard problem, I find it necessary to walk away for a bit and do something else, allowing some subsurface, pattern-recognition part of my mind to work on it. The cryptic puzzles I’ve been trying seem to require a lot of this and today’s “Saturday Stumper” is a classic example: In the upper right corner, the clues were so vague that I could imagine a number of possibilities for many of the associated entries. After an apparently fruitless hour, I suddenly saw how a set of answers (including a few I hadn’t previously thought of) could be fit together to fill that corner and it then took all of fifteen or twenty seconds to finish the job. How one develops such skills I do not know. Certainly, patience is required (and frustration is occasionally the sole outcome 😜).

  1. So this is a crossword site.
    So why do some of you guys use it to brag about how rich you are? I’m talking about some recent posts, including one yesterday that was especially nauseating.
    I don’t get it.
    How about let’s keep on topic?

    1. @ Michael
      This is a crossword discussion site with social aspirations. Usually first paragraph discusses the crossword puzzles people work on. Suggest you not read past that and you won’t be offended. For me, I like reading people’s other thoughts and comments. By the way just going to Las Vegas doesn’t mean you are rich. Lots of deals there. It is just a vacation.

    2. @Michael
      I definitely get it, especially being someone who’s had next to no discretionary dollars for a long time. But I remember that people have their own lives and are in different places. Like was said, Las Vegas is a short drive from LA, so it’s a lot less of a financial ask for them to go than it is for someone like me that would have to spend days along with flights and so on. That said, I saw your other post so I won’t get into this any farther.

      That said, if people want to share about themselves, I’m not going to tell them no. Though, at the same time I really don’t have much more to share about me other than crosswords. Just is what it is.

  2. LAT: 45 minutes or so. No errors but of course didn’t know many (any?) at first. Played around and gradually it all came together. Pretty good Saturday puzzle.

  3. Does anyone do acrostic puzzles? I have started looking at them, I understand how they work, except for the grid which has numbers in the upper left, which are consecutive, but the upper right has seemingly random letters printed. I have googled, but no answer.

    1. I do the Quote-Acrostic, in the Sunday paper. Each letter is entered in each of the two grids, in the same number. In other words, last Sunday’s first clue is “Become calmer, 2 wds.” You enter the answer, “SIMMERDOWN”, in the left grid. Then you transfer those letters to the right grid, by number. The S, for example, is letter number 147. So you’d then put an S in square 147 of the right grid, and so on. When you have enough letters in the right grid, you can figure out most likely words to help you solve the more difficult answers. For example, a three-letter word having T__ is usually THE. This particular puzzle was very challenging for me, so I had to do that a lot.
      Happy crosswording!

      1. I got all of that, I was asking about the preprinted small letters in the upper right corner of each box in the grid. That don’t seem to relate at all

        1. On Acrostics, a letter is often printed to help direct the solver to a certain word where the numbered letter appears. Like if letter #1 appears in Word K, it’ll have “1K” or “K1” in the letter of the acrostic.

  4. LAT: 12:59, no errors. WSJ: 27:48, no errors.

    Newsday’s “Saturday Stumper”: about four hours, no errors. This one certainly lived up to its name! I started it a little after eight o’clock last night and had to walk away from it several times to do other things (like the NYT and the LAT puzzles). By midnight, when I went to bed, I had done all but the upper right corner, and this morning it took me another hour to finish that. Another Erik Agard masterpiece (in collaboration with Bruce Sutphin) that, once done, makes perfect sense, but drives you nuts along the way … 😜

  5. This was way beyond my talents. Most of the problems were the long answers, I just couldn’t get into it today.

    Michael’s post was at 1:12 AM. Maybe he was in a bad mood and/or tired?

  6. I was in a mood yesterday. I appreciate the understanding comments. Wish I could take back what I wrote. My sciatica was acting up and I had one too many whiskies to put it down, so it was a case of PWI on top of it. I’m scheduled for cortisone injections Sept. 9th, and wish it could be sooner. I love all of you. Please accept my apologies.
    In a better mood today after having completed today’s puzzle, which I found very challenging. No errors, but quite a few erasures en route.
    Re 25A notes: I took ax wielder to be a person with the ability to fire an employee. When someone gets dismissed, we say he got the ax.
    Re Poe: I’m currently reading his collected poetry, one per night. That the same guy wrote such hauntingly beautiful elegies as well as gruesome stuff, it’s like he had two personalities. Maybe he was the model for Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.
    Re 5D: Among the crew, I admired Kelley’s acting the most.
    Re 10D notes: Lately I’ve been seeing “white port” on menus. I don’t get it, either way that phrase is used.
    Re 16D: Does anyone know why, in the SNL skit about The Untouchables, Aykroyd said “Youngblood!” instead of “Youngfellow!”?
    Re 52D notes: Wouldn’t call it a tragic fire. No deaths or even injuries. It’s just a building. The vandalism at ground level there was done by the revolutionary bourgeoisie in 1789. Many assume it was more recent. I’m sure virtually no building existing now will still be standing in a thousand or two years, religious or otherwise.
    As usual, excellent notes from Bill. They’ve become a staple for me.

  7. 20:10 including an almost comical list of missteps in the upper right – “fade” before WANE, “drats” before NERTS, WINEbottle before WINEBARREL and “eccos” before ESSES. That must be some kind of record number of errors for one small area….

    Also had “aced it” before GOT AN A and a few others. Truly remarkable to be wrong so many times and still finish.

    My favorite MCCOY line: “I signed aboard this ship to practice medicine, not to have my atoms scattered back and forth across space by this gadget!!”. The universal disdain at times of modern technology. How prescient they were.

    And to all the points above, I’d like to add that not all rich people are bad. I was walking down the Vegas strip the other day carrying a huge wad of cash bound by a rubber band. I saw a homeless man walking, and one of the soles of his shoes was coming off. I felt bad for him. So I walked over with my wad of bills and asked if he’d like some help. He eagerly accepted. So I pulled off the rubber band and put it around his shoe to keep his sole on. It makes me warm and fuzzy every time I think of my good deed…….

    Best –

      1. @Glenn … I loved that scene when I first saw it! Thanks for reminding me!

        And Jeff should be ashamed of himself for posting his little story … ashamed, I say! … 😳 (😜)

        1. Dave –

          You’re right. I should have at least finished the story: So I’m now walking around with an unbound huge wad of bills. Some guy walks up to me and asks if he could have $1000. Apparently his mother needed an operation and he was short the cash to give her the life-saving operation. Dubious, I asked “How do I know you won’t just take this money and go gamble with it?” He then pulled out his wallet, showed me that it was stuffed with cash and said, “oh, no don’t worry. I’ve GOT gamblin’ money”…..

          Best –

  8. 22 mins, 45 seconds, escaped error free. This one wasn’t easy, and there’s a bit of what I’d like to call “manufactured difficulty” in here; clues that could have been a helluva lot more straightforward. This one required stick-to-itiveness aplenty. I also nearly fell into the ACEDIT trap, and, to be honest, don’t know WHY I changed it to GOT AN A; I just *did* because I was thinking this grid was simply beyond me anyway.

  9. Moderately difficult Saturday for me; took 47 minutes with no errors. At least 15 minutes in the North and NE corner, but finally pulled it out. A lot of little tricks and mostly just good fun.

    Never heard of NERTS and didn’t know ORFEO. Had BSA before US_ and finally USO, which finally gave me MR CUB and CANOPENERS and NERTS. Curiously I saw GYMRATS and ABHOR right away, and given that I’m a huge Poe fan, I got TELLTALEHEART right afterwards. So, that made GOTANA a given after that. Never saw Sesame street, except for a few clips here and there, so ELMOSWORLD took a while.

    @Bill – I’m pretty sure BOSS means a Boss that’s going to fire, or axe, you. Especially in the upcoming Trump (Trade) recession.

  10. Greetings y’all!!🦆

    No errors– haven’t been doing well on puzzles lately and I’m glad to have aced a Saturday. I NEVER say that I “aced” a puzzle, but I actually did on this! Patting self on back! 😊 Didn’t know ORFEO but it wasn’t too tough to get the crosses.

    It’s my contention that Tina Fey coined the term NERTS. 🤔 It could be! Her character said it all the time on “30 Rock.” Never heard it elsewhere.

    Thank you, Michael! ✌🏻

    LET’S PLAY TWO!!! ⚾️

    Be well~~🚋⚾️

  11. Finished with no errors. Took a while. Had a lot of problems with the northwest but eventually blew it open with WHITE FLAG.

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