LA Times Crossword 15 Feb 20, Saturday

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Constructed by: Julian Lim
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 12m 31s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Mineral used in roofing : MICA

Mica is a silicate mineral. Thin sheets of mica are transparent and are used in place of glass in certain applications. This form of mica is called isinglass, and as it has a better thermal performance than glass it is a great choice for peepholes in boilers and lanterns. Mica is also used in the electronics industry, making use of its unique electrical and thermal insulating properties.

10 Short answer? : RSVP

“RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

14 Sukiyaki ingredient : ENOKI

Enokitake (also known as “enoki”) are long and thin white mushrooms often added to soups or salads.

Sukiyaki is a Japanese soup/stew prepared and served in a “nabe”, a Japanese hot pot.

15 Disney theme park designer : IMAGINEER

The Walt Disney Company coined the term “imagineering” to describe the creation and construction of Disney theme parks.

18 55-Down warranty brand : APPLECARE
(55D Tech brand since 1998 : MAC)

AppleCare is hardware warranty and support service provided by Apple for its products.

22 Pathetic start? : SYM-

“Sympathy” and “empathy” are related but different terms. A person exhibiting sympathy acknowledges another person’s emotional distress. A person exhibiting empathy also acknowledges distress, but understands the emotions felt as they have had a similar experience, or can at least put themselves in the shoes of the person affected.

23 George’s musical sibling : IRA

Ira Gershwin was the lyricist who worked with his brother George to create such American classics as the songs “I Got Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”, as well as the opera “Porgy and Bess”. After George Gershwin died, Ira continued to create great music, and worked with the likes of Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill.

George Gershwin was a remarkable composer in so many ways, not least in that he was respected for both his popular and classical compositions. Gershwin’s best known works for orchestra are the magnificent “Rhapsody in Blue” from 1924 and “An American in Paris” from 1928. Another noted work is the opera “Porgy and Bess” that was first performed in 1935. Surprisingly, Porgy and Bess was a commercial failure, and so Gershwin moved to Hollywood and started composing very successful film scores. He was only 38 years old when he died in 1937 from a brain tumor.

27 Convergence points : FOCI

A focus (plural “foci”) is a point of convergence, or a center of activity. “Focus” is a Latin word meaning “hearth, fireplace”. The hearth can be a focus of a room.

28 Feline rapper? : TYGA

“Tyga” is the stage name of hip hop artist Michael Stevenson from Compton, California. Apparently, the stage name comes from the phrase “thank you God always”.

30 The Rams of the Atlantic 10 Conf. : URI

The University of Rhode Island (URI) was chartered as an agricultural school back in 1888. Rhody the Ram was chosen as the school’s mascot in 1923, a nod to URI’s agricultural past. As a result, the school’s sports teams are known as the Rams. URI’s main campus is located in the village of Kingston.

31 Only Nobelist besides Marie to win the prize in two fields : LINUS

Being a chemist myself by training, I have nothing but admiration for Linus Pauling, who was perhaps America’s greatest chemist of all time. Pauling is the only person to have individually been awarded two Nobel Prizes (for Chemistry in 1954, and the Peace Prize in 1962). During WWI he worked on military research & development, but after the war he adopted the pacifist views of his wife and led a campaign to ban above-ground nuclear testing, for which he was awarded his Peace Prize.

Marie Curie lived a life of firsts. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and indeed was the first person to win two Nobel prizes (in Physics in 1903, and in Chemistry in 1911). Most of Curie’s work was in the field of radioactivity, and was carried out in the days when the impact of excessive radiation on the human body was not understood. She died from aplastic anemia, caused by high exposure to radiation. To this day, Curie’s personal papers are kept preserved in lead-lined boxes as they are highly radioactive, even her personal cookbook.

38 OkCupid alternative with an oceanic name : PLENTY OF FISH

Plenty of Fish (POF) is an online dating website based in Vancouver. Founded in 2003, POF had over 100 million registered users by 2015.

39 Droid’s “surname” : DETOO

Artoo’s proper name is R2-D2 (also “Artoo-Detoo”). R2-D2 is the smaller of the two famous droids from the “Star Wars” movies. British actor Kenny Baker, who stood just 3 ft 8 ins tall, was the man inside the R2-D2 droid for the first six of the “Star Wars” movies.

41 Swerves at sea : YAWS

The word “yaw” means to deviate from the line of a course and is used mainly at sea and in the air. “Yaw” is derived from the Old Norse word “jaege” which means “to drive, chase”. As such, “yaw” is etymologically related to our word “yacht”.

45 Boobird’s output : JEER

A boobird is a sports fan who does a lot of booing.

49 Mortal Kombat’s __ Kang : LIU

Mortal Kombat is a series of video games launched in 1992 by Midway Games. It’s pretty violent stuff, apparently …

50 30-day mo. : APR

The exact etymology of “April”, the name of the fourth month of our year, seems to be uncertain. The ancient Romans called it “mensis Aprilis”, which roughly translated as “opening month”. The suggestion is that April is the month in which fruits, flowers and animals “open” their life cycles.

51 Column angle: Abbr. : POV

Point of view (POV)

52 Pre-coll. class : AP CALC

The Advanced Placement (AP) program offers college-level courses to kids who are still in high school. After being tested at the end of an AP course, successful students receive credits that count towards a college degree.

The Latin word “calculus” was originally used for a reckoning or an account, and originally applied to a pebble that was used to maintain a count. The Latin word came from the Greek for a pebble, “khalix”.

58 Sight sharpener : LASIK

LASIK surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye to improve vision. The LASIK acronym stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”.

59 Webinars, e.g. : E-LEARNING

“Webinar” is short for “Web-based seminar”, i.e. a presentation, lecture or similar event held online. In a Webinar, there is two-way interaction, with the audience able to ask questions of the presenter.

60 Classic TV nerd : URKEL

Steve Urkel is a character on the TV show “Family Matters” that originally aired in the late eighties and nineties. The Urkel character was the archetypal “geek”, played by Jaleel White. Urkel was originally written into the show’s storyline for just one episode, but before long, Urkel was the show’s most popular recurring character.

62 Brand with a Chop House variety : ALPO

Alpo is a brand of dog food introduced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”. Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?

63 Kind of tire : SPARE

The British spelling of “tyre”, for what we call a “tire” here in North America, was indeed the original spelling. The English started to use “tire” spelling in the 17th century, and then shifted back to the current “tyre” in the 19th century.

Down

3 Item seen in the “Six Feet Under” title sequence : TOE TAG

“Six Feet Under” is reportedly a great TV drama aired by HBO, and one that I fully intend to take a look at one day. The “six feet under” is a reference to the show’s storyline that features a family funeral business.

4 Corningware sister brand : EKCO

The EKCO brand dates back to 1888 when Edward Katzinger founded his company in Chicago, to make baking pans. The acronym “EKCO” stands for “Edward Katzinger Co”.

6 “Crimson Peak” co-star Wasikowska : MIA

Mia Wasikowska is an Australian actress. Wasikowska’s breakthrough role was playing the title character in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010. The only movie I’ve seen her in though is 2011’s “Jane Eyre”, a pretty good adaptation of the Charlotte Brontë classic, I thought …

“Crimson Peak” is a 2015 movie described as a “gothic romance horror film”. Not for me …

8 __ pants : CAPRI

Capri pants first became popular on the island of Capri, apparently. They were invented in Europe in 1948, but only became stylish in the US in the sixties. Mary Tyler Moore often wore Capri pants on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and to some extent she sparked a fashion trend. After a lull in the seventies and eighties there was a resurgence in sales after Uma Thurman wore them (and danced in them) in “Pulp Fiction”.

9 Tip that prevents fraying : AGLET

An aglet is a plastic or metal sheath that is found on the end of a shoelace or perhaps a drawstring. The name “aglet” comes from the Old French word “aiguillette” meaning “needle”.

10 Org. chaired by Ronna Romney McDaniel : RNC

National leadership of the Republican Party is provided by the Republican National Committee (RNC). Only one chairperson of the RNC has been elected to the office of US president, and that was George H. W. Bush.

Ronna Romney McDaniel became chair of the Republican National Committee in 2017, after Reince Priebus left the job to become President Donald Trump’s first White House Chief of Staff. McDaniel is the daughter of Scott Romney, brother of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

13 Basic part of a TV showrunner’s pitch : PREMISE

The showrunner of a TV series is really the boss. He or she has creative and management responsibility for the whole operation. Nowadays, shows often have a boatload of names credited as “executive producer”. The showrunner is usually listed among those executive producers, but he or she is the “chief executive” producer.

16 Guerrilla combat weapon: Abbr. : IED

Improvised explosive device (IED)

Guerrilla (sometimes “guerilla”) warfare is a type of fighting engaged in by irregular forces using ambushes and sabotage. The term “guerra” is Spanish for war, and “guerrilla” translates as “little war”.

26 Night light source : FIREFLY

Some living organisms are able to produce light, a phenomenon known as “bioluminescence”. A famous example on land is the firefly, with its glowing tail. There are many marine animals, such as jellyfish, that emit light. The frequently observed bioluminescence on the surface of the sea is usually caused by plankton. This phenomenon may be referred to as “sea fire”.

29 Key with no sharps or flats : A MINOR

Experts, unlike me, can wax lyrical on the technical differences between major and minor keys and scales. To me, music written in major keys is very strident, often very joyful and “honest”. Music written in minor keys (usually my favorite) is more feminine, more delicate and often quite sad.

31 WWII craft : LSTS

The initialism “LST” stands for Landing Ship, Tank. LSTs are the large vessels used mainly in WWII that have doors at either ends through which tanks and other vehicles can roll off and onto beaches. The design concept persists to this day in the huge fleet of commercial roll-on/roll-off car ferries, all inspired by the LST.

34 Saunders/French Britcom : ABFAB

“Absolutely Fabulous” (sometimes shortened to “AbFab”) is a cult-classic sitcom produced by the BBC. The two stars of the show are Jennifer Saunders (Edina Monsoon) and Joanna Lumley (Patsy Stone). “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” hit the screens in 2016. I haven’t seen it yet, but my wife did and really enjoyed it. She said that there’s a veritable cavalcade of British stars that make an appearance …

37 William who plays Grissom on “CSI” : PETERSEN

The actor William Petersen is best known for portraying forensic scientist Gil Grissom on the “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”. Petersen quit acting in the show after nine seasons, and moved into the role of executive producer.

38 “A Taste for Death” author : PD JAMES

P. D. James was an incredibly successful English author of crime fiction, with her most famous books being a series that features a policeman and sometime poet named Adam Dalgliesh. James’ 1992 novel called “The Children of Men” was adapted into a 2006 movie (“Children of Men”) starring Clive Owen and Julianne Moore. It tells of a world that develops after two generations of human infertility.

42 Kenai Fjords National Park site : ALASKA

The Kenai Peninsula juts out into the Gulf of Alaska from Alaska’s southern coast. The Kenai Peninsula is home to several towns, including Homer, Alaska. Homer is nicknamed “the end of the road” as it is a terminus for North America’s paved highway system. The peninsula is also home to Kenai Fjords National Park.

46 Summer of disco : DONNA

Donna Summer is known as “The Queen of Disco”, with great hits like “Love to Love You, Baby”, “I Feel Love” and “Hot Stuff”. In the late sixties and early seventies, LaDonna Gaines (her real name) lived and worked in Germany. There she met and married an Austrian actor called Helmuth Sommer. They divorced not long after the marriage, but Donna kept his family name, just changing the “o” to “u” to give her the stage name of “Donna Summer”.

53 Koi, e.g. : CARP

Koi are fish that are also known as Japanese carp. Koi have been bred for decorative purposes and there are now some very brightly colored examples found in Japanese water gardens.

55 Tech brand since 1998 : MAC

Macintosh (also “Mac”, since 1998) is a line of computers from Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced in 1984, and I remember someone showing me one at work in those early days of personal computing. There was a piece of white plastic connected to the main computer by a cord, and I was amazed when the guy showed me that it controlled where the cursor was on the screen. My colleague told me that this lump of plastic was called “a mouse” …

56 Economic stat : GNP

A country’s Gross National Product (GNP) is the value of all services and products produced by its residents in a particular year. GNP includes all production wherever it is in the world, as long as the business is owned by residents of the country concerned. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is different, although related, and is the value of all services and goods produced within the borders of the country for that year.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Toys with tails : KITES
6 Mineral used in roofing : MICA
10 Short answer? : RSVP
14 Sukiyaki ingredient : ENOKI
15 Disney theme park designer : IMAGINEER
17 Bounce : EJECT
18 55-Down warranty brand : APPLECARE
19 Publish : PUT OUT
21 Salmon or coral : RED
22 Pathetic start? : SYM-
23 George’s musical sibling : IRA
24 One may be turned or earned : PROFIT
27 Convergence points : FOCI
28 Feline rapper? : TYGA
30 The Rams of the Atlantic 10 Conf. : URI
31 Only Nobelist besides Marie to win the prize in two fields : LINUS
32 Convert wrongly : MISTRANSLATE
36 Game with a pecking order? : SPIN THE BOTTLE
38 OkCupid alternative with an oceanic name : PLENTY OF FISH
39 Droid’s “surname” : DETOO
40 Fellow : LAD
41 Swerves at sea : YAWS
45 Boobird’s output : JEER
46 It unfolds before you retire : DAYBED
49 Mortal Kombat’s __ Kang : LIU
50 30-day mo. : APR
51 Column angle: Abbr. : POV
52 Pre-coll. class : AP CALC
54 Botch : MISMANAGE
58 Sight sharpener : LASIK
59 Webinars, e.g. : E-LEARNING
60 Classic TV nerd : URKEL
61 Match : SYNC
62 Brand with a Chop House variety : ALPO
63 Kind of tire : SPARE

Down

1 Generous words : KEEP IT
2 Tear, perhaps : INJURY
3 Item seen in the “Six Feet Under” title sequence : TOE TAG
4 Corningware sister brand : EKCO
5 Bit of middle management? : SIT-UP
6 “Crimson Peak” co-star Wasikowska : MIA
7 Prankster : IMP
8 __ pants : CAPRI
9 Tip that prevents fraying : AGLET
10 Org. chaired by Ronna Romney McDaniel : RNC
11 Available periodically : SEASONAL
12 “Aww!” : VERY CUTE!
13 Basic part of a TV showrunner’s pitch : PREMISE
16 Guerrilla combat weapon: Abbr. : IED
20 Steed modifier : TRUSTY
25 Right at the start? : ORTHO-
26 Night light source : FIREFLY
27 __ rich : FILTHY
29 Key with no sharps or flats : A MINOR
31 WWII craft : LSTS
33 Digging a lot : INTO
34 Saunders/French Britcom : ABFAB
35 “Wish I knew” : NO IDEA
36 Tired way to talk : SLEEPILY
37 William who plays Grissom on “CSI” : PETERSEN
38 “A Taste for Death” author : PD JAMES
42 Kenai Fjords National Park site : ALASKA
43 More cagy : WILIER
44 Nurse : SUCKLE
46 Summer of disco : DONNA
47 Use : AVAIL
48 Report card blemish : D-PLUS
51 Scorecard number : PAR
53 Koi, e.g. : CARP
55 Tech brand since 1998 : MAC
56 Economic stat : GNP
57 Certain maniac’s focus : EGO

24 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 15 Feb 20, Saturday”

  1. LAT: Tough puzzle. Took an hour with only one error (letter c instead of k in ekco/enoki). Spent much of my time in the NW corner. Of course I didn’t know several clues (e.g., OkCupid alternative with oceanic name) and did a lot of guessing.

    1. @ Sallee
      “Ortho” is a Greek prefix meaning “straight” or “right” and shows up in words you might not want to become too familiar with, such as orthodontics (“straight teeth”).

  2. @Cathy — I’m with you.
    Horrible puzzle. After doing all the across and all the down, all I knew for sure was Ira and Donna.
    Usually two of us do it at the same time and see who finishes first, but sometimes, like now, we agree to work together because it’s so hard. Still took over an hour and had to cheat. Enoki?

  3. About half an hour, but needed 2 lookups in the NW. Got “ortho” from crosses, but didn’t really “get it,” so appreciate the explanation.

  4. What a joyless, grotesquely clued slog of a puzzle, overstuffed with proper nouns (people, places, brand names etc) and sloppily constructed (two answers starting with MIS, for example). Julian Lim’s editor obviously just blew this mess a kiss and let it be publi … er, PUT OUT.

  5. I pretty much agree with the above comments. I got nowhere with this today. So Fri. and Sat. were washouts for me. Hope Sunday is kind to all of us.

  6. After perusing all of the clues, I had merely 5 answers that I felt confident in. After a second pass, the paper went into the recycle bin. Horrible puzzle. Since the crossword puzzle is one of my morning brain exercises that let me know I’m still functioning well, I think I should go back to bed.

  7. 21:19. Nice to see Julian Lim back in the saddle. His puzzles often elicit comments such as the above. I knew I had a chance when I knew William PETERSEN and just from that “P” I got SPIN THE BOTTLE. Really had to use the Tony Michaels hunt and peck method to get started. After those two, my next fill was URKEL.

    I put NEXI before FOCI thinking it was the plural of “nexus”. Turns out “nexus” is a rare 4th declension Latin word, and the plural is….uhhh…..”nexus”. I was wrong on several counts there.

    Please tell me there isn’t really a “Chop House” variety of ALPO. Will dogs think they’re at a nice steakhouse from that name?? Sometimes I can’t believe people get paid to think this stuff up.

    I try to avoid pontificating here as I respect that people are entitled to their own opinions – even ones that foolishly aren’t the same as mine (humor).

    So I’ll just make a suggestion: Rather than getting angry at a setter or at a puzzle, just accept that some puzzles will be out of your wheelhouse. Then just solve them with Google, dictionaries, or whatever resources are available to you. Treat it like an open book exam. It’s the only way to get better at these things, and you might even (gasp) learn a thing or two. I know whereof I speak. There was a time when a Julian Lim Saturday meant I might not fill in 10 squares on my own.

    No one is giving out gold stars for finishing these things, nor are they giving out demerits for not finishing. It’s something you do (I assume) for fun and relaxation. Sooo – relax and have fun with it for *@$%’s sake.

    To steal a line from Tom Hanks in “A League of Their Own”: There’s no crying in crosswords!!!!!!!!!

    Best –

  8. 2 wrong letters for 28 Across. Put in “type” instead of “tyga” (who/which I’ve never heard of?) so ended up with “toe tap” instead of “toe tag” for 3 Down and “E minor” instead of “A minor”. D’oh!

  9. @Janice….I am starting to agree with you…..this is the one of three puzzles that I worked today and the only one I finished and still wound up with one error where TOE TAG and TYGA cross. I guess we are both getting old.
    At least I am

  10. 16:10 was my time… I really really struggled in the northwest corner; I kept wanting HEARSE or COFFIN for the 6-feet under clue, and MIRIN for the sukiyaki ingredient. I only know ENOKI because of the Asian restaurant in our building, that serves a delicious deep-fried Enoki appetizer. Finally I forced myself to think wayyyyyy out of the box on “bit of middle management” and then it came to me from S—P.

    I thought SPIN THE BOTTLE was a funny answer to a clever clue, especially sitting right on top of the Ok Cupid alternative! Although I doubt anyone winds up playing spin the bottle from an Ok Cupid connection… maybe I’m wrong about that.

    1. Certainly a challenge but not a surprise for a Saturday! Jeff, I could not agree with you more about excepting fate and learning new words and appreciating the opportunity. That being said, I would have more respect for a haters comments if he/she provided a name other than anonymous. I stopped reading that hate long ago…

  11. Too tough for me today; put a fork in it after an hour with just KITES and IRA in the NW. I also screwed up RSVP as ResP, which screwed up a few squares there as well.

    I was surprised that I was able to get much of this puzzle at all, but managed the rest of the grid with logic, gut feeling, luck and guesses. Some I’d seen before but a lot of stuff and people I’ve never heard of…so I came here to at least see what I missed. I’ve got to remember EKCO, since I’ve seen it enough times by now.

  12. Greetings y’all!!🦆

    Tough one!! DNF. Yet, I agree with Jeff. Especially on a Saturday, puzzles are SUPPOSED to be hard. Sometimes my brain just doesn’t have the right combination of info and insight to do well on certain grids. I didn’t really object to most of the clues and answers on this one; I just couldn’t get them! 😮

    I do complain sometimes about puzzles, cuz some IMO really do contain mediocre clues, but I hope I don’t overdo it.

    RJB from Friday- thanks! I am not alone!🤗

    Be well~~🍸

  13. 33 mins 15 sec before I had to admit defeat, with 14 unfilled or incorrectly filled. This one was flat out HARD. Throw in a couple of completely esoteric names and references and it’s a wonder anybody can finish a grid like this.

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