LA Times Crossword 9 Nov 19, Saturday

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Constructed by: Joe Deeney
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 10m 21s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • KONICA (Konika!)
  • ECK (Ekk)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

13 “The Conduct of Life” essayist : EMERSON

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an essayist and poet who was active in the mid-1800s. Most of the essays that Emerson wrote were composed originally as lectures and then revised for print. He is often referred to as “The Sage of Concord”, as Emerson spent much of his life in Concord, Massachusetts.

15 Players on the road : TROUPE

“Troupe” is a French word meaning “company, band”.

16 Place to park a whirlybird : HELISTOP

“Whirlybird” is an informal word meaning “helicopter”.

18 Even though : ALBEIT

“Albeit”is a conjunction meaning “although, even if”. The term dates back to the 1300s, when it was a contraction of the phrase “al be it” meaning “although it be that”.

21 If-then-__: programmer’s construct : ELSE

In the world of computer programming, an “if-then-else” construct is a type of conditional statement. The idea is that IF a particular condition is met THEN a particular action is executed. The additional ELSE statement can be used to define an alternative action.

22 Factor in club selection : LIE

That would be golf.

24 Drilling org. : ROTC

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be part of a new school’s curriculum.

33 Sign of fall : SAGITTARIUS

Sagittarius is a constellation of the zodiac, with “sagittarius” being the Latin for “archer”. The constellation is usually represented by a centaur (half-bull, half-man) with a bow.

36 Some smoke detector batteries : AAS

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 …

37 Spruce (up) : SPIFF

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.

46 Michigan national park : ISLE ROYALE

Isle Royale in Michigan is the largest island in Lake Superior. The main island, along with over 400 smaller surrounding islands, is now part of Isle Royale National Park.

49 Sat on a sill, perhaps : COOLED

“Sill plate”, or simply “sill”, is an architectural term describing a bottom horizontal member to which vertical members are attached. Window sills and door sills are specific sill plates found at the bottoms of windows and door openings.

51 Avoided a tag at : SLID INTO

That would be baseball.

52 Minolta partner : KONICA

Minolta was a Japanese manufacturer of cameras and related products. Minolta was founded in 1928 to make cameras using imported German technology. One of the company’s most memorable products was the world’s first integrated autofocus 35mm SLR camera. Minolta merged with Konica in 2003 to form Konica Minolta.

55 V11 vacuums, e.g. : DYSONS

Dyson vacuum cleaners do not use a bag to collect dust. James Dyson invented the first vacuum cleaner to use cyclonic separation in 1979, frustrated at the poor performance of his regular vacuum cleaner. As Dyson cleaners do not use bags, they don’t have to deal with collection bags that are blocked with fine dust particles, even after emptying. Cyclonic separation uses high speed spinning of the dust-containing air so that the dust particles are thrown out of the airflow into a collection bin. We have a Dyson now, and should have bought it years ago …

Down

2 1978 horror sequel : OMEN II

The original film “The Omen” was released in 1976. “Damien: Omen II” hit the screens in 1978. We were regaled with “Omen III: The Final Conflict” in 1981, and there was even a TV movie “Omen IV: The Awakening” in 1991. The original was remade in 2006 as “The Omen: 666”, and was released on 6/6/06. I haven’t seen any of them, and have no interest in doing so (despite the excellent cast) as I really don’t like the genre …

3 Free-for-alls : MELEES

Our term “melee” comes from the French “mêlée”, and in both languages the word means “confused fight”.

4 Many a theatre attendee : BRIT

Folks in Britain go the “theatre”, and over here we go to the “theater”.

8 Business card letters : URL

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

9 “I Spy” actor : ROBERT CULP

The very successful TV show “I Spy” ran from 1965-68. Robert Culp played secret agent Kelly Robinson, opposite Bill Cosby who played Alexander Scott. Sadly, Robert Culp passed away in 2010, pronounced dead after a fall just outside his home. He was 79 years old.

10 They usually have higher flash points than kerosene : FUEL OILS

Kerosene is a mixture of hydrocarbons that is used mainly as a fuel. Kerosene is volatile, but is less flammable than gasoline. Over in the UK and Ireland, we call the same fuel “paraffin”.

11 Dispatch : EPISTLE

By definition, an epistle is a writing sent by one person to a group of people, with the name “epistle” coming from the Greek word for “a letter”. The 21 epistles of the New Testament are letters from various of the Apostles to groups of Christians, with most of them being written by Paul.

14 Baby shampoo product line : NO MORE TEARS

No More Tears is a baby shampoo that Johnson & Johnson introduced in 1953. No More Tangles shampoo followed in 1971.

20 Air freshener option : NEW CAR SMELL

Most of what we call that “new car smell” comes from adhesives and sealers that are holding together various plastic components in the automobile’s interior. In fact, there is concern in some quarters that the compounds giving that new car smell might pose a health risk.

26 PBS cooking show hosted by Mary Ann Esposito : CIAO ITALIA

Mary Ann Esposito is celebrity chef. Her PBS show “Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito” has been on the air since 1989, making it the longest-running cooking program in the US.

29 Celestial ovine : ARIES

Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

33 Singer at Woodstock with his “Family” : SLY STONE

Sly and the Family Stone are a rock, funk and soul band from San Francisco that’s still performing today, although their heyday was from 1966 to 1983. They were one of the first rock bands to have a racially-integrated lineup, as well as representatives of both sexes.

34 Big wind : BASSOON

Our modern bassoon first appeared in the 1800s and has had a place in the concert orchestra ever since.

35 Iotas : SPECKS

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, and one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

39 Atlanta’s county : FULTON

The county seat of Fulton County, Georgia is the city of Atlanta. The county was created in 1853 and named for railroad official Hamilton Fulton. Fulton surveyed the area, and convinced the state to connect Milledgeville (then the Georgia state capital) and Chattanooga with a rail line rather than a canal. That decision was key to Fulton County’s subsequent economic growth.

40 Trademarked halocarbon products : FREONS

Freon is a DuPont trade name for a group of compounds used as a refrigerant and as a propellant in aerosols. Freon is used in the compressors of air conditioners as a vital component in the air-cooling mechanism. Freon used to contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which had a devastating effect on the Earth’s ozone layer. Use of CFCs is now banned, or at least severely restricted.

42 March 14, mathematically : PI DAY

The first three digits of the mathematical constant pi are 3.14. Pi Day has been celebrated on March 14th (3/14) every year since 1988, when it was inaugurated at the San Francisco Exploratorium. In countries where the day is usually written before the month, Pi Day is July 22nd, reflecting the more accurate approximation of pi as 22/7. Interestingly, March 14th is also Albert Einstein’s birthday.

47 Jazz singer Anita whose stage name is pig latin for a slang word for “money” : O’DAY

“Anita O’Day” was the stage name of the jazz singer Anita Colton. She chose the name as “O’Day” is Pig Latin for “dough”, a slang term for “money”. O’Day had problems with heroin and alcohol addiction leading to erratic behavior, and earning her the nickname “The Jezebel of Jazz”.

Pig Latin is in effect a game. One takes the first consonant or consonant cluster of an English word and moves it to the end of the word, and then adds the letters “ay”. So, the Pig Latin for the word “nix” is “ixnay” (ix-n-ay), and for “scram” is “amscray” (am-scr-ay).

48 Performance anxiety : YIPS

The informal term “yips” applies to the nervous twitching that can sometimes spoil and sportsman’s performance, especially a golfer’s putting stroke.

50 Luther opponent Johann __ : ECK

During the Protestant Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries, as Martin Luther was attacking the policies of the Catholic Church, Johann Eck was one of the leading defenders of Catholicism. The two had public debates, with Luther generally coming out ahead.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Jacket whose earliest version was created for pilots : BOMBER
7 Saw the sites? : SURFED
13 “The Conduct of Life” essayist : EMERSON
15 Players on the road : TROUPE
16 Place to park a whirlybird : HELISTOP
18 Even though : ALBEIT
19 More than is prudent : ONE TOO MANY
21 If-then-__: programmer’s construct : ELSE
22 Factor in club selection : LIE
23 Catches on the range : ROPES
24 Drilling org. : ROTC
25 First of a box set : DISC I
28 DVR button : REW
29 Crooked : ATILT
30 Privileged group : INNER CIRCLE
33 Sign of fall : SAGITTARIUS
34 Comedy of errors? : BLOOPER REEL
35 “Speak up!” : SAY IT!
36 Some smoke detector batteries : AAS
37 Spruce (up) : SPIFF
41 “Over here!” : PSST!
42 Groom carefully : PRIMP
44 Surly sort : CUR
45 Is in Spain? : ESTA
46 Michigan national park : ISLE ROYALE
49 Sat on a sill, perhaps : COOLED
51 Avoided a tag at : SLID INTO
52 Minolta partner : KONICA
53 Boards with a jump : LEAPS ON
54 Cunning : SNEAKY
55 V11 vacuums, e.g. : DYSONS

Down

1 Take in : BEHOLD
2 1978 horror sequel : OMEN II
3 Free-for-alls : MELEES
4 Many a theatre attendee : BRIT
5 Gulf Canada alternative : ESSO
6 Whirlybird part : ROTOR
7 Halts : STAYS
8 Business card letters : URL
9 “I Spy” actor : ROBERT CULP
10 They usually have higher flash points than kerosene : FUEL OILS
11 Dispatch : EPISTLE
12 Discover : DETECT
14 Baby shampoo product line : NO MORE TEARS
17 Auditors’ follow them : PAPER TRAILS
20 Air freshener option : NEW CAR SMELL
26 PBS cooking show hosted by Mary Ann Esposito : CIAO ITALIA
27 Pricey bar : INGOT
29 Celestial ovine : ARIES
31 Pinch : NIP
32 More than displeasure : IRE
33 Singer at Woodstock with his “Family” : SLY STONE
34 Big wind : BASSOON
35 Iotas : SPECKS
38 “Just you watch!” : I CAN SO!
39 Atlanta’s county : FULTON
40 Trademarked halocarbon products : FREONS
42 March 14, mathematically : PI DAY
43 Asked too much : PRIED
47 Jazz singer Anita whose stage name is pig latin for a slang word for “money” : O’DAY
48 Performance anxiety : YIPS
50 Luther opponent Johann __ : ECK

31 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 Nov 19, Saturday”

  1. LAT: About 25 minutes, fastest ever for a Saturday. Either it was easier than usual, or I was on the same wavelength as the author, or I’m improving with age and practice. Probably all three.

  2. No errors and did it faster than I thought it would go. Some of the
    answers I really didn’t understand although they fit the grid….like
    “yips” for performance anxiety. And none of my smoke alarms took
    AA batteries. But a fun puzzle.

    1. “(The) yips” is another golf reference, actually. It refers to sudden nervous tics and a propensity to spasmodically over-or under-hit the ball under pressure.

      Especially when putting, some golfers suddenly can’t make even the easiest, shortest, straightest putts with any pressure on the shot. Pressure that playing partners are all too glad to pile on by mean-spirited banter at the victim while (s)he lines up that so-called “gimme” putt.

  3. Thanks for the quick exit ramp, Deeney. One of the first answers was (HELI)STOP. And I did. From the looks of the comments, it was a good move. Maybe next time (but your byline is a red flag now, to me.)

  4. I threw the towel in on this one. Couldn’t get a good start and was wasting too much time. Bummer. And yes, this really had no theme and seemed to go out of the way to make it hard. Don’t think I’ve ever worked a Joe Deeney puzzle before and probably won’t even try the next time. (At least not on a Sat.)

  5. 18:48, 1 error (Natick 45A-26D – if constructors are going to use Spanish words they need to learn to clue them properly). Fun grid overall except for that one spot and some highly specious cluing.

  6. I got a couple of words, but gave up quickly. Got 93% yesterday and actually caught on
    to the theme after I looked up the completed puzzle. Imagine that.

    1. I’m not a golfer, but I think it refers to golf. The “lie” (position) of the ball determines what club to use for your next shot.

  7. Took some extra time straightening out the NE corner due to putting in (with confidence I might add) “ext” for 8 down. And like everyone here I imagine I had helipad to begin and only after the down clues of 5, 6 and 14 were yielding no good answers did I cross out pad and starting looking for an alternative that worked.

    1. I just came back to Bill’s site after I finished the WSJ 21X21. Very clever and fairly difficult grid. I had a LOT of ink overs for sure. No final errors. A good way to complete the week.

    2. Often “a quite astonishing feat of construction” is a rather poor experience for the solver. I can say this one is the typical example of that (and typical Jeff Chen, sadly). Note all the garbage entries in this one. Not to mention the two (I’m surprised there wasn’t more) Natick crossings I ended up getting errors on.

      1. Hi Glenn. Would you say that some of the puns were pretty clever? I mean the answer for 111 Across “Affordable Copy of ‘The Lake of Innisfree'” had me laughing and clapping my hands in appreciation. Or what about 42 Down’s “Painters of Water Lilies” forgeries?

      2. Here’s what I loved about that puzzle: 1) The form of the empty grid immediately suggested a butterfly. 2) After I filled a few of the circles (whose positioning also suggested a butterfly), I realized that the letters in those circles probably spelled out the word “BUTTERFLY”. 3) By that time, I was aware that each circle might logically be associated with a different letter and I began to make a note of each such letter. 4) Ultimately, I realized that the alternate letters were spelling out another word and I had a lovely “aha” moment when I realized that the word was precisely what the title of the puzzle would lead one to expect. 5) Like Tony, I found the punny definitions of the theme entries to be clever and amusing. 6) Given the nature of the constraints the setter was operating under, I found the non-theme clues quite straightforward; I didn’t see anything I would describe as a true Natick.

        Admittedly, it took me a bit longer than usual to do the puzzle and I had a few write-overs, but I finished with no errors and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. A classic!

  8. 23:20. One of those rare Saturdays where my LAT time was slower than my NYT time. Wow, the comments are all over the map today – from “easy” to “worst EVER”. I saw it as a pretty standard Saturday grid.

    I agree with Mary. Almost all smoke alarm batteries are 9-volt. But I suppose somewhere in the world are smoke alarms that take AAs so it’s probably fair game.

    Steve and Anon – Yes the LIE of a ball refers to it’s position. More specifically it’s referring to how it is situated on the ground. If it’s propped up by the grass, that’s a good lie. If it’s buried under a lot of thick rough, that’s a bad lie. If it’s sitting right behind a tree, that’s a bad LIE…etc. FWIW LIE can also refer to how many strokes you’ve had on a hole. “I LIE three here so I’ll have to chip in to make a par 4”

    Richard B Lantis – “jangle”?

    Best –

  9. 54:13 no errors….I thought this was going to be a DNF but then Robert Culp came to me and it opened up….not a real fun puzzle though

  10. 15 mins 31 sec, no errors. Sad to see Bill trip up on what was likely just an entry error.

    There is one fill in here that is total BULLSH*T: 25A/27D: the “I” can’t be a “ONE” for DISC 1. Don’t give me that “Roman numbering” crap…

  11. Difficult but fun Saturday; took me 1:10 with no errors and :15 minutes in the NW corner. After whiffing the last 2 or 3 Saturdays, I was determined to finish today. LIE/OMENII was the last to fill, when I finally realized it was a golf reference.

    Had to redo STopS to STAYS, opeC to ROTC, PReen to PRIED, IRk to IRE, inHaLe to BEHOLD and __ENge to OMENII.

    It sure felt good to fill in the last square.

  12. Hi folks!!🦆

    DNF. Not a bad puzzle; I just couldn’t stick with it after getting caught in the NW. Finished maybe 50%….🤔

    Nice to see SLY STONE, whose early work I LOVE!! His sister Rose looked so cool back in the day. She played keyboards and sang. As far as I know, Sly still lives in a van somewhere in LA. Maybe I should try to find him.

    Re: today’s WSJ — YOU GUYS!!! *I* want to see the funny puns but I can’t get the site to respond when I try to click “reveal!!” (I had no intention of completing the puzzle; just wanted to see the jokes 😫)!!

    Be well~~🍸

    1. @Carrie
      Here’s the list. Nothing really special there compared to any other puzzle. Bunch of “forced laugh” kind of puns (“It takes Juan to know Juan!”). The kind of clues I usually have to end up having to use crosses to solve because they make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I won’t even get into the fill on this one.

      23-A. [Battleship?] – BOATOFARMS.
      24-A. [Sound heard when hell freezes over?] – MIRACLEBRR
      103-A. [Snoopy’s alter ego Joe Cool, et al.?] – CHILLDOGS.
      108-A. [Post-traumatic stress from spending all day assembling IKEA furniture?] – SHELFSHOCK.
      111-A. [Affordable copy of “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”?] – CHEAPYEATS
      39-D. [“Grisham’s a hack! He’ll never write a book as good as ‘Presumed Innocent’!” e.g.?] – TUROWSHADE.
      40-D. [Writer actively avoiding synonyms?] – ROGETDODGER.
      42-D. [Painters of “Water Lilies” forgeries?] – MONETMAKERS.
      43-D. [Executive at Lipton?] – TEAOFFICER.

      1. What is really special about the Saturday WSJ puzzle is the masterful transformation of a CHRYSALIS to a BUTTERFLY, but the puns are indeed an integral part of the construction, leading me to marvel at the skill of the constructor.

        @Carrie … I don’t know why the site wouldn’t respond to you. Maybe try a different browser?

      2. And … I suppose I’ve gone on long enough about it, but … the WSJ puzzle reminds me of the first time I ever saw a Rubik’s cube: My reaction was: How in the world is it possible for those pieces to fit together so cleverly?

        Okay … enough … either you get it or you don’t, I guess … 😜.

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