LA Times Crossword 1 Feb 20, Saturday

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Constructed by: Brian E. Paquin
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 10m 21s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8 Rattletrap : BEATER

“Beater” is slang describing an old car that is in poor condition, and is a term that dates back only to the 1980s.

16 Bond girl Andress : URSULA

Actress Ursula Andress was quite the sex symbol in the sixties, and famously played Honey Ryder in the first James Bond movie “Dr. No”. Andress was born in Switzerland and is fluent in English, French, Italian, German as well as her native Swiss-German.

17 Clapping game : PAT-A-CAKE

“Pattycake” or “Pat-a-Cake” is an old English nursery rhyme that is often accompanied by hand-clapping between two people:

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man.
Bake me a cake as fast as you can;
Roll it, pat it and mark it with a “B”,
Put it in the oven for baby and me.

18 Vitamin B3 : NIACIN

Niacin is also known as vitamin B3. A deficiency of niacin causes the disease pellagra. Pellagra is often described by “the four Ds”, the symptoms being diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia and death.

21 “Krazy” comics feline : KAT

“Krazy Kat” is a successful comic strip that ran from 1913-1944 and was drawn by George Herriman.

25 Murky milieus : FENS

We use the French term “milieu” (plural “milieux”) to mean “environment, surroundings”. In French, “milieu” is the word for “middle”.

27 Jamaica’s Ocho __ : RIOS

If you ever take a cruise ship to Jamaica, you will likely disembark in Ocho Rios, a major port of call for the cruise lines. “Ocho rios” is Spanish for “eight rivers”.

28 Rocky peaks : TORS

A tor is a high, rocky hill. “Tor” comes from the Old English “torr”, the word for a tower or rock, which in turn comes from the Old Welsh “twrr” meaning a heap or a pile.

29 Coordinate-based calc. : DIR

Direction (dir.)

30 French wine term : CRU

“Cru” is a term used in the French wine industry that means “growth place”. So, “cru” is the name of the location where the grapes are grown, as opposed to the name of a specific vineyard. The terms “premier cru” and “grand cru” are also used, but the usage depends on the specific wine region. Generally it is a classification awarded to specific vineyards denoting their potential for producing great wines. “Grand cru” is reserved for the very best vineyards, with “premier cru” the level just below.

40 Not wing it : PLAN

To wing it is to improvise, to do something without sufficient preparation. There is some debate about the term’s etymology, but I like the idea that it came from the theater. An actor would be described as winging it if he or she learned lines while standing in the wings just before going on stage.

41 “__ giorno!” : BUON

“Buon Giorno” is the Italian for “Good morning”, although the term translates literally as “Good day”.

42 Ship’s post that secures cables : BITT

A bitt is a post mounted on the bow of a boat that is used for fastening lines and cables. It is designed to be strong enough to hold a towline if necessary.

44 Largest Italian automaker : FIAT

Fiat is the largest car manufacturer in Italy, and is headquartered in Turin in the Piedmont region in the north of the country. Fiat was founded in 1899 by Giovanni Agnelli, when the company’s name was “Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino” (FIAT). A few years ago, Fiat became the majority shareholder in Chrysler.

45 Big name in health care : AETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mount Etna, the Italian volcano.

46 Big name in home security : ADT

ADT is a home and small-business security company based in Boca Raton, Florida. The company was founded back in 1874 by Edward Calahan. Calahan invented the stock ticker several years earlier, and ran the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company. Calahan was awoken one morning by the sound of a burglar in his house, and so he decided to develop a telegraph-based security alarm system. The success of the system led to the founding of American District Telegraph, later known as ADT.

49 Best Actress winner for “The Queen” : MIRREN

Helen Mirren, one of my favorite English actresses, has played three different queens on film and television. She played Queen Elizabeth II on the 2006 film “The Queen”, the title role in the TV drama “Elizabeth I”, and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of the title character in the 1994 film “The Madness of King George”. Mirren won the “Triple Crown of Acting” for playing:

  • Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen” (winning Best Actress Oscar)
  • Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience” (winning Best Actress in a Play Tony)
  • Detective Jane Tennison in “Prime Suspect” (winning Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy)

The 2006 movie “The Queen” is a great film, and what a superb performance from Helen Mirren in the title role of Queen Elizabeth II. It must have been a difficult film for Queen Elizabeth to watch, as it rehashes the PR disaster that surrounded her following the death of Princess Diana. But, she was gracious enough to invite Helen Mirren around to the Palace for dinner after the film was released. Mirren declined however, citing filming commitments in the US. Mirren was invested as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire back in 2003, an honor presented to her by Prince Charles.

58 Emulated Gene Kelly performing “Singin’ in the Rain” : SLOSHED

In the movie “Singin’ in the Rain”, the wonderful dance sequence to the title song was filmed over 2-3 days. Gene Kelly was splashing through puddles and getting rained on while all the time he was sick, with a fever of 103°F.

Down

1 Copy, as a CD : RIP

Ripping is the process of copying audio or video files onto a hard disk. Ripping isn’t the same as direct copying, as the former involves changing the format of the audio or video content.

2 Santa __ : ANA

Santa Ana is the county seat of Orange County, California and takes its name from the Santa Ana River that runs through the city.

3 Diner order : BLT

The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second-most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.

9 St. Patrick’s home : ERIN

There is a fair amount known about Saint Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as Saint Patrick’s Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.

11 Exhausted : TUCKERED OUT

The exact etymology of the verb “to tucker”, meaning “to tire”, seems to be uncertain. However, it seems to have originated in New England, and at least dates back to the 1830s.

12 __ Sports Bureau, statistics giant : ELIAS

The Elias Sports Bureau has been providing research and statistics for professional sports since 1913. The business was set up in 1913 in New York City by Al Munro Elias and his brother Walter.

13 Diatribes : RANTS

A diatribe is a bitter discourse. The term comes from the Greek “diatribein” meaning “to wear away”.

23 Turkish coins : LIRAS

The currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira, which is divided into 100 kuruş. In 1927, the Turkish lira replaced the Ottoman lira, which had been in use since 1844.

28 She was Lois on “Lois & Clark” : TERI

Teri Hatcher’s most famous role is the Susan Mayer character on the TV comedy-drama “Desperate Housewives”. I’ve never seen more than a few minutes of “Housewives” but I do know Teri Hatcher as a Bond girl, as she appeared in “Tomorrow Never Dies”. More recently, she portrayed Lois Lane on the show “Lois & Clark”.

“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” is a television show that aired originally from 1993 to 1997. The storyline focuses as much on the relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane as it does on Kent’s life as Superman. Clark and Lois are played by Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher.

29 Clothing : DUDS

“Duds” is an informal word meaning “clothing”. The term comes from the word “dudde” that was used around 1300 as the name for a cloak.

31 Talking trucker : CB’ER

A CB’er is someone who operates a Citizens Band (CB) radio. In 1945, the FCC set aside certain radio frequencies for the personal use of citizens. The use of the Citizens Band increased throughout the seventies as advances in electronics brought down the size of transceivers and their cost. There aren’t many CB radios sold these days though, as they have largely been replaced by cell phones.

32 Many a “Buffy” character : TEEN

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is a TV series that originally aired from 1997 to 2003. “Buffy …” was incredibly successful, especially given that it wasn’t aired on one of the big four networks. The show was created by Joss Whedon and stars Sarah Michelle Gellar in the title role.

36 “X-Men” actress Paquin : ANNA

Anna Paquin is an actress from New Zealand who won an Oscar as an 11-year-old for her role in “The Piano”. In the HBO series “True Blood” she plays Sookie Stackhouse, a role for which she won a Golden Globe.

41 Addictive Asian nuts : BETELS

A betel nut is a type of nut 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”.

42 Tale of a whitetail : BAMBI

The 1942 Disney classic “Bambi” is based on a book written by Felix Salten called “Bambi, A Life in the Woods”. There is a documented phenomenon known as the Bambi Effect, whereby people become more interested in animal rights after having watched the scene where Bambi’s mother is shot by hunters.

The white-tailed deer (sometimes just “whitetail”) is very common in North America, especially east of the Rocky Mountains. West of the Rockies, whitetails have largely been replaced by black-tailed deer.

45 2019 World Series runner-up : ASTRO

The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.

47 Intuit : FEEL

“To intuit” is a verb formed from the noun “intuition”, and means “to know intuitively”.

48 Alike, in Avignon : EGAL

Avignon is a city in the southeast of France on the Rhône river. Avignon is sometimes called the “City of Popes” as it was home to seven popes during the Catholic schism from 1309 to 1423.

50 Itinerary abbr. : RTE

Route (rte.)

52 Tough, elastic wood : ASH

The wood of the ash tree is a hardwood, although it is relatively elastic. Famously, ash is the wood of choice for baseball bats. It is also the wood of choice for hurleys, the wooden sticks used in the Irish sport of hurling.

53 West of the movies : MAE

Mae West was always pushing the envelope when it came to the “sexy” side of show business, even in her early days in Vaudeville. One of the first plays in which West starred on Broadway was called “Sex”, a work that she penned herself. The show was a sell-out, but city officials had it raided and West found herself spending ten days in jail after being convicted of “corrupting the morals of youth”. She started in movies in 1932, already 38 years old. West used her experience writing plays to rewrite much of the material she was given, and so really she was totally responsible for her own success and on-screen appeal.

54 Reg. : STD

Standard (std.)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “I Love a Rainy Night” singer Eddie : RABBITT
8 Rattletrap : BEATER
14 TV screen-bottom banner, perhaps : INLINE AD
16 Bond girl Andress : URSULA
17 Clapping game : PAT-A-CAKE
18 Vitamin B3 : NIACIN
19 Reliable omen : SURE SIGN
21 “Krazy” comics feline : KAT
22 Modify : ALTER
25 Murky milieus : FENS
26 Handle carelessly, with “with” : MESS …
27 Jamaica’s Ocho __ : RIOS
28 Rocky peaks : TORS
29 Coordinate-based calc. : DIR
30 French wine term : CRU
31 They can’t be prevented : CERTITUDES
34 What human flight was once thought to be : HAREBRAINED IDEA
37 Secondary matters : SIDE ISSUES
38 Possess : OWN
39 “Yes, __!” : SIR
40 Not wing it : PLAN
41 “__ giorno!” : BUON
42 Ship’s post that secures cables : BITT
44 Largest Italian automaker : FIAT
45 Big name in health care : AETNA
46 Big name in home security : ADT
47 Most curious : FUNNIEST
49 Best Actress winner for “The Queen” : MIRREN
51 Longtime Arctic transportation methods : DOG TEAMS
55 Crossed the lake, say : BOATED
56 Threatens with bared teeth : SNARLS AT
57 Drives : IMPELS
58 Emulated Gene Kelly performing “Singin’ in the Rain” : SLOSHED

Down

1 Copy, as a CD : RIP
2 Santa __ : ANA
3 Diner order : BLT
4 Statistical distortions : BIASES
5 Bring on : INCUR
6 Natural eye cleaner : TEAR
7 Test-drive : TAKE FOR A SPIN
8 Keg stoppers : BUNGS
9 St. Patrick’s home : ERIN
10 Quiet-mouse connector : … AS A …
11 Exhausted : TUCKERED OUT
12 __ Sports Bureau, statistics giant : ELIAS
13 Diatribes : RANTS
15 Stereotypical shipwreck sites : DESERT ISLANDS
20 They’re usually not helpful hints : INSINUATIONS
22 Foot part : ARCH
23 Turkish coins : LIRAS
24 Magnet for rubbernecking : TOURIST TRAP
26 Skirt length : MIDI
28 She was Lois on “Lois & Clark” : TERI
29 Clothing : DUDS
31 Talking trucker : CB’ER
32 Many a “Buffy” character : TEEN
33 Attach, as a patch : SEW ON
35 Tighten, in a way : EDIT
36 “X-Men” actress Paquin : ANNA
41 Addictive Asian nuts : BETELS
42 Tale of a whitetail : BAMBI
43 Down in the dumps, say : IDIOM
44 Sponsors : FUNDS
45 2019 World Series runner-up : ASTRO
47 Intuit : FEEL
48 Alike, in Avignon : EGAL
50 Itinerary abbr. : RTE
52 Tough, elastic wood : ASH
53 West of the movies : MAE
54 Reg. : STD

23 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 1 Feb 20, Saturday”

    1. Managed to finish Croce and the Stumper for the second week in a row. Even more scary (though I didn’t finish Tuesday’s Croce, so there’s that).

      @Bill
      I know I keep saying it, but I definitely appreciate the effort you go to to do this blog day in and day out, even despite all the flack you get like yesterday.

      @Carrie
      That kind of stuff comes out in general with the Internet and content creators. A few feel like they deserve and are owed whatever the content is, never mind it’s offered for free. It’s a sad state on things, but a good illustration of what this me-first society has generated. It’s a lot different than simple critique or the like, which is on that page too. It’s a mess.

      As far as yesterday’s puzzle goes, it was a simple grid trick that gets used a lot more regularly on the Thursday NYT. There’s lots more complex stuff that shows up in that venue, but it showing up in the LAT is definitely going to throw people that aren’t used to looking for those kind of things. I know I still get thrown by certain things I see in some more complex things just because I don’t think to look for them. FWIW (you may have figured this out), poor language and logic between the clues and answers bother me more than those things (I’ve outright stopped meta grids for this reason) – but as long as one can figure out what the weird grid trick is reasonably, it’s fair enough game.

      @Peter
      What’s this “Tribune” puzzle you speak of (now twice)? Never heard of it and it didn’t come up on Google…

        1. Indeed. The paper is what came up when I put it into Google. If Peter was talking about the newspaper, using “Tribune” to describe a puzzle is pretty inane, as the LAT puzzle is indeed “the ridiculously easy Tribune puzzle” by his definition.

      1. My local newspaper prints a daily crossword from the “Tribune Content Agency” (hence my calling it the “Tribune puzzle”). It’s insultingly easy, and I never bother with it.

        I had to hunt it down online, but it turns out to be the “Daily Commuter Crossword”. It’s perfect for people who only want a simple, no-brainer puzzle they can breeze through in five minutes or less.

        I prefer puzzles with obscure, devious, and misleading clues – much more fun! The only thing I HATE is a rebus.

        1. @Peter
          I am indeed well aware of the “Daily Commuter Puzzle”. It’s good as a “speed bag” kind of puzzle, but can be difficult to get right on a first pass for not being careful when you go fast. Regardless, although it was my introduction to the world of crosswords, I left it by a long time ago.

          The “Tribune Content Agency” is what syndicates the LAT across the nation, along with the Daily Commuter and a few other things.

  1. I sincerely hope today finds you feeling better, sir. Thank you so much for doing this blog each day, I really enjoy it. As far as yesterday’s rude responses, it’s sobering to think these people live among us. 😳

  2. 10:37 was my time, pretty good for a Saturday. I had lots of backtracks, though, because I was too hasty in dashing out some of the long answers when I was sure about them. CAR ACCIDENT instead of TOURIST TRAP had to go, and I had HAIRBRAINED IDEA for a long time, an error that was eventually obvious. And DOG SLEDS quickly showed itself to be incorrect. For a themeless with so many long answers in the grid, though, this was some pretty good fill.

  3. I also put in hairbrained. Tourist trap eluded me, wanted a collision. Inline ad looked so weird that it took me too long to get it. First one I really knew was Ursula Andress. Back in the army many years ago, some guys referred to her as Ursula Undress. hahaha Of course, not funny today. The sun is shining! I read that the Twin Cities just had the cloudiest January on record. Good riddance. End of babble.

  4. Thanks, Bill, for your cleverness and graciousness. We learn a lot from you – and 99.9% of us are extremely grateful (and astonished and ashamed of the few rude and thoughtless comments). Hope you are feeling better.

  5. LAT: No errors, under 20 minutes. Seemed more like a Monday or Tuesday puzzle compared to yesterday’s, which I couldn’t finish.

    And ditto on the thanks to Bill for all his efforts on providing this blog.

  6. A good doable puzzle~~Took quite a while for me to finish correctly ~~needed some whiteout but nevertheless enjoyable.
    Eddie

  7. 22 mins 6 seconds, no errors.

    I found this grid to be full of “iffy” clues and fills, as if the setter looked for the most esoteric words to use to either describe the fill, or to use for the fill itself (one good example FUNNIEST to describe most “curious”). There were a few “fair” tricks (eliciting HAIRBRAINED in favor of HAREBRAINED, the hard choice of MINI vs MAXI (skirt), but I felt “led on” the whole time I worked this one. Not wholly impressed.

  8. For whatever unexplained reason today’s grid was much easier than usual. Some days the brain cells fire in bright unison and some days they are lighting up as a dim lantern in a dark cave.

    On to the WSJ 21 X 21 next.

  9. Even though I had to backtrack a couple of times, such as correcting
    “hairbrained” to “harebrained” and “deserted lands” to desert islands”
    I thought this one was pretty easy for a Saturday puzzle.

    I’ve been away from this blog for a time and am glad to be back with
    Bill and all of you.

  10. If not for this web blog, I may not have persevered with the LAT crosswords in my early days, as I found crosswords quite mystifying. Thanks, Bob, for your labors in getting this out every day. I’ll be forever grateful, as I am now happily addicted to crosswords, (even though I’m still, comparatively, a raw rookie). Today’s crossword took me FOREVER, and I almost gave up several times. But, persistence, and my trusty eraser, won the day.

  11. 37:26 no errors….a good Saturday for me despite all the foreign words.
    Hope you’re feeling better Bill, we all look forward to your blog each day

    1. @Jack2
      I had “birdbrained” for a bit. Seemed a lot more apt to refer to a creature of the avian persuasion rather than to the mammalian. Poetic license does get missed in these puzzles often times.

  12. Fairly tough Saturday for me; took me an hour with 3 errors, with about 10 minutes on the SW corner. All three errors were carelessness: ReP instead of RIP, ToRI instead of TERI and MInI because I’m biased. I did have HAREBRAINED correct.

    In the SW I had Streep for the longest time before seeing BAMBI, FEEL and FUNDS. Finally, I got MIRREN and guessed ADT, which allowed BITT to give me the *obvious* IDIOM.

    I do take issue with DESERT ISLANDS, since the stereotype should be deserted island…I mean no one would ever survive on a desert island…plus, are there even any?

    Thanks Bill for all your hard work in putting this together.

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