LA Times Crossword 11 Jan 20, Saturday

Advertisement

Constructed by: Erik Agard & Wyna Liu
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 02s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Drill bit? : MARCH

“Quick, march!” ordered the drill sergeant.

10 ’60s civil rights gp. inspired by student sit-ins : SNCC

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was an organization that was very active in the Civil Rights Movement of the sixties. Apart from organizing protest events, the SNCC did a lot of work driving voter registration throughout the southern states.

14 Recall trigger : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

15 One singing in musical tones? : ALTO

“Alto” is a hidden word in “musical tones”.

16 Ponies run in it : POLO

The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back them primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.

17 Written in mystical letters : RUNIC

A rune is a character in an alphabet that is believed to have mysterious powers. In Norse mythology, the runic alphabet was said to have a divine origin.

18 Ghanaian flag feature : STAR

The flag of Ghana consists of three stripes of red gold and green, with a sole black star in the center of the gold stripe. That black star gives rise to the nickname of the national soccer team, the Black Stars.

23 Even prime : TWO

A prime number is a number greater than 1 that can only be divided evenly by 1 and itself. There are still some unanswered questions involving prime numbers, perhaps most notably Goldbach’s Conjecture. This conjecture dates back to the 1740s and is assumed to be true, but has never been proven. It states that every even integer greater than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two prime numbers.

24 Stadium opening? : YANKEE …

Yankee Stadium in the Bronx in New York City cost $2.3 billion to construct, making it the most expensive baseball stadium ever built.

27 Mickey’s “Love Is Strange” singing partner : SYLVIA

Mickey & Sylvia was an R&B duo active in the late fifties and early sixties comprising Mickey Baker and Sylvia Vanterpool.

30 Hoods : GOONS

The term “goon” was coined by American humorist Frederick J. Allen in a 1921 “Harper’s” piece titled “The Goon and His Style”. The article defines a good as “a person with a heavy touch” someone lacking “a playful mind”. The term was popularized in the “Thimble Theater” comic strips featuring Popeye. The first use of “goon” to describe a hired thug was in 1938, with reference to strikebreakers.

31 Fricative admonishment : SHH!

“Fricative” speech sounds are made by “frictional” breath passing through a narrow opening in the mouth. Examples are the “f” sound in “fine” and the “sh” sound in “ship”.

35 Clog from France : SABOT

There is a story that disgruntled textile workers would kick their wooden shoes, called “sabots”, into the looms in order to disable them so that they didn’t have to work. This act of vandalism was named for the shoe, an act of … “sabotage”.

38 Sober : STAID

Something described as staid is unwavering, fixed. This usage expanded to mean “sober, sedate”. The term dates back to the 16th century, and comes from the verb “to stay”. “Staid” is a rewriting of the past participle “stayed”.

40 Govt. agency with a “meatball” logo : NASA

The official insignia of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is referred to as a “meatball”. It is round in shape, with white stars on a blue background. There is also a white orbital path, a red chevron, and the letters NASA in white.

45 Only article in a U.S. state capital name : DES

The city of Des Moines is the capital of Iowa, and takes its name from the Des Moines River. The river in turn takes its name from the French “Riviere des Moines” meaning “River of the Monks”. It looks like there isn’t any “monkish” connection to the city’s name per se. “Des Moines” was just the name given by French traders who corrupted “Moingona”, the name of a group of Illinois Native Americans who lived by the river. However, others contend that French Trappist monks, who lived a full 200 miles from the river, somehow influenced the name.

46 Key partner : PEELE

The Comedy Central sketch show “Key & Peele” stars comics Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. The duo also wrote an action comedy film called “Keanu” that was released in 2016. The title character is a cat belonging to the boss of a drug cartel. Haven’t seen it …

55 Rap music article : THA

“Tha” is slang for “the” in the world of rap …

56 Do a surveying task : TRIANGULATE

In surveying, triangulation involves measurement of angles. The related task of trilateration involves measurement of distances.

59 Micro amount : IOTA

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.

62 Plant name from the Arabic for “red” : SUMAC

Sumacs are a group of flowering shrubs and small trees that includes poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac (nasty stuff!). The leaves of some species of sumac contain tannins that are used for tanning leather. Morocco leather is an example of the use of sumac tannins.

64 Las Vegas Aces’ org. : WNBA

The Las Vegas Aces women’s basketball team was formed in Salt Lake City in 1997 as the Utah Starzz. The team became the San Antonio (Silver) Stars in 2002, before moving to Las Vegas as the Aces in 2018.

67 Elle Woods of “Legally Blonde” got 179 on hers, briefly : LSAT

“LEGALLY blonde” is a 2001 comedy film starring Reese Witherspoon as a girlish sorority president who heads to Harvard to earn a law degree. “LEGALLY blonde” was successful enough to warrant two sequels as well as a spin-off musical that played most successfully in London’s West End (for 974 performances).

68 Lucy’s husband and son : DESIS

Desi Arnaz was famous for his turbulent marriage to Lucille Ball. Arnaz was a native of Cuba, and was from a privileged family. His father was Mayor of Santiago and served in the Cuban House of Representatives. However, the family had to flee to Miami after the 1933 revolt led by Batista.

Desi Arnaz, Jr. is the youngest child of Hollywood celebrity couple Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. Lucille’s pregnancy was very public, and became part of the storyline of her show “I Love Lucy”. When Desi junior was born, he appeared on the cover of the very first issue of “TV Guide”.

Down

2 Luxury auto : ACURA

Acura is the luxury brand of the Honda Motor Company. As an aside, Infiniti is the equivalent luxury brand for the Nissan Motor Company, and Lexus is the more luxurious version of Toyota’s models.

3 Saoirse __, “Lady Bird” star : RONAN

Saoirse Ronan is an Irish-American actress, having been born in the Bronx, New York and raised in Carlow and Dublin in Ireland. Ronan’s big break came when she was cast in the 2007 film “Atonement” at 12 years of age, a role for which she was nominated for that season’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar. “Saoirse” is the Irish word for “freedom”.

“Lady Bird” is a 2017 coming-of-age movie starring Saoirse Ronan in the title role, a high school senior who has a strained relationship with her mother (played by Laurie Metcalf). Roman and Metcalf earned themselves Oscar nominations for their performances.

4 Toasting signs : CLINKS

The tradition of toasting someone probably dates back to the reign of Charles II, when the practice was to drink a glass of wine to the health of a beautiful or favored woman. In those days, spiced toast was added to beverages to add flavor, so the use of the word “toast” was an indicator that the lady’s beauty would enhance the wine. Very charming, I must say …

5 Make-out spots? : HICKEYS

The slang term “hickey” (also “hickie”) is used for a red mark left on the skin after a passionate kiss.

7 Beauty store chain : ULTA

Ulta Beauty is an American chain of beauty stores that was founded in 1990 and headquartered in Bolingbrook, Illinois. I am not part of the company’s target demographic …

9 Dessert that just sounds wrong : TORTE

A torte is a type of cake made primarily with eggs, sugar and ground nuts (but no flour).

“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.

10 Ooh-and-aah site : SPA

The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as “Spa” is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

13 José’s greeting : COMO ESTAS?

“Cómo estas?” is Spanish for “how are you?”

21 Kennel chorus : YELPS

Our word “kennel” meaning “doghouse” comes from the Vulgar Latin word “canile” meaning the same thing. A sheep (“ovus”) was kept in an “ovile”, a horse (“equus”) in an “equile”, and a dog (“canis”) in a “canile”.

26 Equine coat color : ROAN

A roan horse has an even mixture of white and colored hairs on the body with the head, lower legs, mane and tail having a more solid color.

28 Physical figures : VITAL SIGNS

There are four primary vital signs that are measured by health professionals:

  1. Body temperature
  2. Blood pressure
  3. Pulse
  4. Breathing rate

29 Absurd : INANE

Our word “inane” meaning “silly, lacking substance” comes from the Latin “inanitis” meaning “empty space”.

31 Some visual humor : SLAPSTICK

Slapstick is a physical form of comedy or horseplay. Back in the late 19th century, the term “slapstick” described a device made from two sticks loosely fastened together, which could be “slapped” together to create a sound effect offstage. The sound effect augmented the audience reaction when a clown or actor was given a slap on stage.

37 Upper-bod muscle : DELT

The deltoid “muscle” is actually a group of muscles, the ones that cover the shoulder and create the roundness under the skin. The deltoids (delts) are triangular in shape resembling the Greek letter delta, hence the name.

39 Aid in developing hair waves : DURAG

Hip-hoppers might wear do-rags (also “durags”) today, but they have been around for centuries. The etymology of “do-rag” is pretty evident, i.e. a piece of cloth (rag) to hold a hairstyle (do) in place.

42 Alfred of coffee fame : PEET

Peet’s is a chain of coffee houses based in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was founded in 1966 by Dutch immigrant Alfred Peet. Peet served as a mentor to Jerry Baldwin, who co-founded Starbucks in 1971.

50 Animated Tootsie Pop eater in ads : MR OWL

Tootsie Pops were developed as a derivative product from the popular Tootsie Roll candy. How popular, I hear you say? About 60 million Tootsie Rolls and 20 million Tootsie Pops are produced every day!

52 When repeated, spills the beans : NAMES

To spill the beans is to divulge a secret. The expression first appeared in American English, in the early 1900s. The phrase arose as an alternative to “spoil the beans” or “upset the applecart”. The similarly meaning phrase “spill the tea” is more prevalent on the other side of the Atlantic.

53 Gaming biggie : ATARI

At one point, the electronics and video game manufacturer Atari was the fastest growing company in US history. However, Atari never really recovered from the video game industry crash of 1983.

57 Jessica of “L.A.’s Finest” : ALBA

Actress Jessica Alba got her big break when she was cast in the Fox science fiction show “Dark Angel”. Alba had a tough life growing up as she spent a lot of time in hospital and so found it difficult to develop friendships. As a youngster she twice had a collapsed lung, frequently caught pneumonia, suffered from asthma, had a ruptured appendix and a tonsillar cyst. On top of all that, Alba acknowledges that she suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder as a child.

“L.A.’s Finest” is a police-drama series that first aired in 2019. It is a spin-off of the “Bad Boys” action-comedy film franchise. The movies starred Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and the TV show stars Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union.

58 Off the rocks? : NEAT

A drink served neat is served without ice, not on the rocks.

60 Flat: Abbr. : APT

An apartment (apt.) contains several rooms (rms.)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Drill bit? : MARCH
6 Sudden blow : GUST
10 ’60s civil rights gp. inspired by student sit-ins : SNCC
14 Recall trigger : E COLI
15 One singing in musical tones? : ALTO
16 Ponies run in it : POLO
17 Written in mystical letters : RUNIC
18 Ghanaian flag feature : STAR
19 Micro amount : ATOM
20 Irritable sort, in slang : CRANKY PANTS
23 Even prime : TWO
24 Stadium opening? : YANKEE …
25 Precious person : DEAR ONE
27 Mickey’s “Love Is Strange” singing partner : SYLVIA
30 Hoods : GOONS
31 Fricative admonishment : SHH!
34 Distorts to one’s advantage : SPINS
35 Clog from France : SABOT
36 Wasn’t true : LIED
38 Sober : STAID
40 Govt. agency with a “meatball” logo : NASA
41 Agent concerned with spots : AD REP
43 Alternative to “start at,” in pricing : AND UP
45 Only article in a U.S. state capital name : DES
46 Key partner : PEELE
47 Looked bad? : LEERED
49 __ analysis : SYSTEMS
51 Venues with games : ARENAS
55 Rap music article : THA
56 Do a surveying task : TRIANGULATE
59 Micro amount : IOTA
61 Look bad? : OGLE
62 Plant name from the Arabic for “red” : SUMAC
63 Film bit : CLIP
64 Las Vegas Aces’ org. : WNBA
65 Put into action : EXERT
66 Was true to, as one’s word : KEPT
67 Elle Woods of “Legally Blonde” got 179 on hers, briefly : LSAT
68 Lucy’s husband and son : DESIS

Down

1 Compassion : MERCY
2 Luxury auto : ACURA
3 Saoirse __, “Lady Bird” star : RONAN
4 Toasting signs : CLINKS
5 Make-out spots? : HICKEYS
6 Respond to a shock : GASP
7 Beauty store chain : ULTA
8 Get out of the way : STAND ASIDE
9 Dessert that just sounds wrong : TORTE
10 Ooh-and-aah site : SPA
11 Just okay : NOT TOO BAD
12 Classic hole-in-one site : CLOWN NOSE
13 José’s greeting : COMO ESTAS?
21 Kennel chorus : YELPS
22 Dips : SAGS
26 Equine coat color : ROAN
28 Physical figures : VITAL SIGNS
29 Absurd : INANE
31 Some visual humor : SLAPSTICK
32 Alternative to a wall safe : HIDEY-HOLE
33 Help line : HERE’S A TIP
37 Upper-bod muscle : DELT
39 Aid in developing hair waves : DURAG
42 Alfred of coffee fame : PEET
44 Looked over : PERUSED
48 Opposite of austere : DELUXE
50 Animated Tootsie Pop eater in ads : MR OWL
52 When repeated, spills the beans : NAMES
53 Gaming biggie : ATARI
54 Splinter groups : SECTS
57 Jessica of “L.A.’s Finest” : ALBA
58 Off the rocks? : NEAT
60 Flat: Abbr. : APT

35 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 11 Jan 20, Saturday”

  1. We are also in the dust for the last two. What is going on? Constructors’ revenge?
    We gave them our ususl effort and could only score like 60%. No fun at all and
    you can have these.

      1. When did hidey-hole’s usage extend its definition to include inanimate objects? I guess that informal reference broadens its usage. It was usually synonymous with hideouts, lairs, and the like, where people hide themselves away, not where they put things they wished to conceal. But I split hairs..interesting puzzle made one think a bit differently.

        1. Well, I shall choose not to respond in kind to your descent into gratuitous name-calling.

          As it turns out, I did have two or three other letters of “HIDEY-HOLE” before writing it in, but it was a near-gimme.

          “Noodles” does make a good point and I think, over a lifetime, I have more commonly seen “HIDEY-HOLE” as a place to hide oneself in, but I have also seen the other meaning and Dr. G’s online dictionary does give the definition “a place for hiding something or oneself in, especially as a retreat from other people”, so, again, I would not describe the puzzle’s clue/entry as “stupid”.

          I have observed that people tend to bristle when anyone posts a link to a web site that counters a questionable assertion they have made, but I would point out that our Bill relies on such research in his blog.

  2. Was hoping for an explanation of 12D CLOWNNOSE but it seems Bill might have been equally at sea. I assume it’s related to miniature golf in some way. Also if I may nitpick: 9A “dessert that just sounds wrong” is strangely worded since “just” implies something obvious to everyone and yet “tort” is a word only used by lawyers. 15A “One singing in musical tones” is a the kind of clue usually found in cryptic puzzles and seems kind of odd here. 24A “Stadium opening” where “opening” is usually a crossword prompt for a prefix and YANKEE is not a prefix. Finally the one clue that should have had one of those pesky question marks, 32D “Alternative to wall safe,” didn’t. At least it rated a “slang” disclaimer.

    1. Robert– My two cents: I’ve seen MANY times where “________ opening ” means something other than a prefix. That one didn’t bother me. And, Bill wasn’t at sea for CLOWN NOSE, since he looks things up that he finds interesting or obscure. He puts a lot of time into the investigative efforts. Hence his blog subtitle “Today’s Wikiest Amazonian Googlies!” He leaves out some items that might be self explanatory. (For me, CLOWN NOSE wasn’t at all obvious, but it’s my nature to speak up in defense of Bill every chance I get!)
      Anyway– this puzzle was exceedingly challenging and I for one DNF….🤔

      1. Carrie:
        You may have a point about “opening.” I’m just going by personal experience where “opening” and its opposite usually call for prefixes and suffixes. And I’m not attacking Bill. I think it’s hardly the case here (i.e., CLOWN NOSE) where he left out something that “might be self-explanatory” since the majority of commenters seem to have no idea what it refers to. Like me they came here seeking an explanation. Bill’s been known to chime in from time to time in the comments section but for some reason hasn’t done so on this occasion.

  3. Outer space! You want clarity and amusement for this ‘constructor’ (and I use that term loosely) do a google search for Erik Agar. Out there!

  4. It’s a dorag not a durag. C’mon. Do= hair do and rag=cloth on the hair.
    This is supposed to be fun. Today’s puzzle wasn’t at all.
    I had crabby pants; never heard of cranky pants.
    Classic hole-in-one site = Clown nose??? Nope.

  5. Another Saturday struggle but I did finish after a few hours without mistakes. I agree with many of the above comments, especially about “durag.” I thought it was a misprint. Have to admit, though, I enjoy them this hard.

  6. You know you’re not going to finish a puzzle when a) It’s Saturday b) Erik Agard is involved with the puzzle and c) the word “fricative” is actually used in a clue. I stopped right there. No sense in wasting any more time on this “cleverer-than-thou” mindwank.

  7. This may well be the most unintelligible LA Times puzzle I’ve seen in the 8 years that I have been working on them. A quick pass through all the clues resulted in a total of 7 short answers, leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth. Done; not gonna waste my morning.

  8. Yeah this one was hard and weird for sure. My time isn’t valid because I got interrupted twice, but it was at least 20 minutes. “AND UP” finally popped into my mind as the alternative to “starting at” which let me fill in DURAG which I never, ever have seen spelled that way and wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. And I think Robert is right about CLOWN NOSE being a miniature golf thing, but I was at sea as everyone else until that theory was proposed.

    Difficult (even for a Saturday), and not super-fun.

  9. 25:16 (while eating breakfast), no errors. An enjoyable outing. Also wondered about “DU-RAG”, but it’s in the dictionary (plus, “AND OP” would have made no sense). Got “CLOWN NOSE” from crosses, but agree with the miniature-golf explanation. And I thought of “TSK” (or maybe “TUT”) before “SHH” for “Fricative admonishment” … my bad … 😳.

    If you want to see what a hard puzzle looks like, try today’s “Saturday Stumper” from Newsday. At about the one-hour mark, with (as it turned out) only 30% of the puzzle correctly filled in, I allowed myself to use Google (for research, no peeking at answer keys) to finish the thing. It took me another hour, and I still failed to correct one stupid error. At least one clue/answer (at 28A) draws on slang terms so new I’m still not sure I understand them, and another answer (at 18A) requires the first name of a person who appears to have nothing to do with the first word in the clue.

    It’s possible that I had trouble with the Stumper because I’m distracted by a life-changing event (contemplating moving to a retirement home), but I would still maintain that it’s one of the hardest puzzles I’ve encountered in the last several years. If anyone here tries it, I’d appreciate their assessment.

    1. I love the Newsday puzzles because the Monday-Friday ones are usually really really easy, and then Saturday comes around and it’s like _holy crap_!

    2. Ah yes, the Saturday Stumper. The undisputed king of gibberish cluing, illogical answers, and just plain inaccurate clue/answer pairs. At least I can say for the LAT Saturday that at least they aren’t as bad, but they still publish some rather terrible puzzles (like this one) that should have never saw the light of day.

      REPEAT with me constructors… doing this kind of garbage is not necessary to make a “hard” puzzle…

      1. Well, except for the two things I mentioned, nothing in the Stumper was “illogical” or “gibberish”. It’s just that, for me, today, it was hard enough to make me swallow my pride and use external aid. That in no way makes it a bad puzzle. In fact, I enjoyed it (and, on another day, I might have been able to do it unaided). What’s wrong with being challenged, anyway?

        (And the LAT was anything but “rather terrible” – just a bit harder than usual.)

  10. 34:33 with one error…..I had comoestat for comoestas…..just one more foreign word error…..if you think this puzzle stinks try the NYT 1207 that I just spent well over an hour on before giving up….also an Agard puzzle that took Bill over an hour to do…….I used to cringe when I saw David Steinberg but I thing Mr Agard is taking his place

  11. I thought it was a fun puzzle! It made you think. The whole purpose of doing crosswords. It didn’t have any standard clues and answers and it was intriguing.

  12. Agree with absolutely everything that’s been said. Puzzles should be fun — this one was torture. And, yes — fricative?? Really?? Showing off a bit here??

  13. I just didn’t care anymore. It was way too hard for me. Even Thurs. was hard. Maybe I need to do other puzzles now. Woe is me. Too old, I guess.

  14. You’re all wrong about “Clown nose”. It’s a ring toss game from the 50’s, not miniature golf. In min. golf the ball is hit into the clowns mouth: just Google both if you don’t believe me.

  15. Yes a very challenging puzzle. DNF. But at least we all know a bullshit puzzle one we see it.

    I still find it hard to believe someone can do it in 11 minutes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.