LA Times Crossword 7 Mar 20, Saturday

Advertisement

Constructed by: Roland Huget
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 03s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Dreamer of Greek myth : LOTUS-EATER

The lotus-eaters were a race of people who featured in Greek mythology. The lotus flowers and fruits that were consumed were supposedly narcotic and addictive, and so the lotus-eaters enjoyed a life largely asleep in peaceful apathy.

17 Celebrated 1981 bride : PRINCESS DI

Charles, Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The wedding was a huge television event, with about 750 million people tuning in worldwide. Although the event was billed as a fairytale wedding, the couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996. Famously, Lady Diana died in a car crash in Paris the following year.

18 Kyrgyzstan range : ALAI

The Alay (also “Alai”) Mountains are located in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The highest peak in the range is Pik Tandykul, which lies on the international border between the two countries.

19 Italian sonnet closing : SESTET

A sestet is a group of six lines of poetry. It is similar to a quatrain, a group of four lines.

A sonnet is a 14-line poem with a specific structure and rhyming scheme. A popular rhyming scheme for what is known as the Italian sonnet is ABBA, ABBA, CDECDE. Compare this with the Shakespearean sonnet which rhymes as ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG.

25 Sleeper’s path : RAILS

The rectangular supports under rails in railroad tracks are known as railroad ties or crossties here in North America. Over on the other side of the Atlantic, we call them railway sleepers.

32 “Breaking Bad” org. : DEA

The AMC drama “Breaking Bad” is a well-written show about a high school teacher stricken by lung cancer who turns to a life of crime to make money. It turns out that the teacher has a talent for making high-quality crystal meth. The show was created by Vince Gilligan who had spent many years as a producer and writer of “The X-Files”. There is a “Breaking Bad” spin-off show running on AMC called “Better Call Saul” that focuses on the life of lawyer Saul Goodman. To be honest, I enjoyed “Better Call Saul” even more than the original show …

33 City on the Arno : PISA

The city of Pisa sits right on the Italian coast, at the mouth of the River Arno. The city is perhaps most famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …

The Arno is the principal river in the Tuscany region of Italy, and passes through the cities of Florence and Pisa. Famously the Arno flooded in 1966, the worst flood in the region for centuries. There were numerous deaths and extensive destruction of priceless art treasures, particularly in Florence.

34 Hardly the best smoke : STOGIE

A stogie (also “stogy”) is both a rough, heavy shoe and a long, cheap cigar. Both items were favored by the drivers of the covered wagons called Conestogas that wended their way across the Midwest in days gone by. The term “stogie” is derived from the name of the wagon, which itself is named after the area in which the wagons were built, i.e. Conestoga, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

36 Item on many a diner check : ENTREE

“Entrée” means “entry” in French. An entrée can be something that helps one get “a way in”, an interview for example perhaps helped along by a recommendation letter. In Europe, even in English-speaking countries, the entrée is the name for the “entry” to the meal, the first course. I found the ordering of meals to be very confusing when I first came to America!

38 Jazz piano style : STRIDE

Stride is a jazz piano style that features an “oom-pah” action with the left hand, alternating between a bass note and a chord.

40 Greek letter : ETA

Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”. Originally denoting a consonant, eta was used as a long vowel in Ancient Greek.

45 Early philosophical hot spot : ELEA

Zeno of Elea was a Greek philosopher who lived in Elea, a Greek colony in Southern Italy. Zeno is famous for his paradoxes, a set of problems that really make you think! In the problem known as “Achilles and the Tortoise”, Zeno tells us that Achilles races a tortoise, giving the tortoise a head start (of say 100 meters). By the time Achilles reaches the starting point of the tortoise, the tortoise will have moved on, albeit only a small distance. Achilles then sets his sights on the tortoise’s new position and runs to it. Again the tortoise has moved ahead a little. Achilles keeps on moving to the tortoise’s new position but can never actually catch his slower rival. Or can he …?

46 Columbo, for one: Abbr. : DET

“Columbo” is a police drama that aired from 1971-78, with some more episodes made as recently as 2003. Columbo was played by Peter Falk, although the character of Columbo was first played by Bert Freed in 1960 in an episode of “The Chevy Mystery Show”. That first appearance was so successful that the episode was adapted for the stage in 1962, with Thomas Mitchell taking on the role. Then, the same episode was stretched into a TV movie in 1968, with Peter Falk playing Lt. Columbo for the first time.

53 Experiment with Zener cards : ESP TEST

Zener cards were developed in the early thirties by psychologist Karl Zener for use in experiments related to extrasensory perception (ESP) that he conducted with his colleague J. B. Rhine. These five simple and distinctive cards replaced the standard deck of cards that had been used in trials up to that point. The five symbols used on the cards are a circle, a cross, three wavy lines, a square and a star.

55 Tree with green-skinned fruit : PAWPAW

The papaw (also “pawpaw”) tree is native to North America and has a fruit that looks similar to a papaya. Papaw probably gets its name from the word papaya, but papaw and papaya are two distinct species.

60 Opposite of bueno : MALO

In Spanish, something might be “bueno” (good) or bad “malo”).

61 United Nations goal : WORLD PEACE

The United Nations was established right after the end of WWII, and was a replacement for the ineffective League of Nations that had been formed after the end of WWI. The US was at the forefront of the founding of the United Nations, led by President Franklin Roosevelt just prior to the start of WWII. The UN’s headquarters is in international territory in New York. There are three regional UN headquarters, also located in international territory, in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi.

64 King Harald’s father : OLAV

King Harald V ascended to the throne of Norway in 1991 when his father King Olav V passed away. The European Royal houses are famously quite “incestuous”, so King Harald V of Norway is in the line of succession for the throne of England (albeit around no. 60).

66 Flier over Hawaii : NENE

The nene is a bird that is native to Hawaii, and is also known as the Hawaiian goose. The name “nene” is imitative of its call. When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were 25,000 nene living there. By 1950, the number was reduced by hunting to just 30 birds. Conservation efforts in recent years have been somewhat successful. The nene was named State Bird of Hawaii in 1957.

Down

1 Jungfrau setting : ALPS

The Jungfrau is a peak in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. “Jungfrau” translates from German as “maiden” or “virgin”.

3 Name you might see while listening to Muzak : OTIS

Elevators (simple hoists) have been around for a long time. What Elisha Otis did was come up with the “safety elevator”, a design that he showcased at the 1853 World’s Fair in New York. At the Fair, Otis would stand on an elevated platform in front of onlookers and order his assistant to cut the single rope holding up the platform. His safety system kicked in when the platform had only fallen a few inches, amazing the crowd. After this demonstration, the orders came rolling in.

“Muzak” is a proprietary name for piped music, and is apparently a blend of the words “music” and “Kodak”. The Muzak system was developed way back in 1922 and was first used in workplaces.

8 Part of TGIF : IT’S

“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) is a relatively new expression that apparently originated in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used first by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR in the early seventies. That said, one blog reader wrote me to say that he had been using the phrase in the fifties.

10 Beaux Arts __: longtime chamber music group : TRIO

The Beaux Arts Trio was a classical piano trio that was active from 1955 until 2008. Leading the group was Israeli-American pianist Menaheim Pressier.

Chamber music is a style of classical musical that is written for a small group of instruments, as opposed to a full orchestra. That number of players should be able to stage a performance in a “chamber”, traditionally a large room in a palace or other grand residence.

11 Arboreal marsupial : KOALA

The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …

24 Narcissist’s issue : EGO

Narcissus was a proud and vain hunter in Greek mythology. He earned himself a fatal punishment, being made fall in love with his own reflection in a pool. So, take was he by his own image, that he could not leave it and wasted away and died by the pool. Narcissus gives us our term “narcissism” meaning “excessive love of oneself”.

26 One flying without a plane? : SPEED DEMON

A speed demon is someone who likes to drive at high speeds, likes to floor it, put the pedal to the metal.

34 Bean of “Game of Thrones” : SEAN

Sean Bean is an English actor who is perhaps best known in North America for playing Boromir in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and Ned Stark in the fantasy TV show “Game of Thrones”. James Bond fans will remember him as the bad guy in “GoldenEye”, the character called Alec Trevelyan.

42 Org. that runs the FedEx Cup Playoffs : PGA TOUR

The FedEx Cup is a championship trophy on the PGA Tour that was first awarded in 2007 (to Tiger Woods). Points are awarded to players throughout the season, and then the top players participate in a series of three playoff events.

44 __ volente : DEO

“Deo volente” is Latin for “God willing”. If you read letters or emails from Ireland, you might come across “D.V.” in the text, as it is an abbreviation that we Irish commonly use to mean “God willing” or “Please God”.

52 Beehives, e.g. : UPDOS

That distinctive beehive hairstyle is also called a B-52, because the round, beehive-shape also resembles the bulbous nose of a B-52 bomber! The style originated in 1958, and is credited to Margaret Vinci Heldt, the owner of a hair salon in downtown Chicago. I’m not a fan of the beehive, but I do have to say that Audrey Hepburn carried it off in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, as did Dusty Springfield in her heyday.

54 Promotional handouts : SWAG

“Swag” is “loot, stolen property”, and a term that started out as criminal slang in England in the 1830s. “Swag” is also the name given to the promotional freebies available at some events. That said, there’s an urban myth that the promotional version of “swag” is an acronym standing for “stuff we all get”.

57 Longtime MLB star Big __ : PAPI

The Dominican-American baseball player David Ortiz has the nickname “Big Papi”. After each home run that Ortiz scores, he looks upwards and points to the sky in a tribute to his mother who died in a car crash in 2002 when she was only 46 years old.

58 HP rival : ACER

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I visited a couple of times when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …

62 Nutritional abbr. : RDA

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.

63 Fleur-de-__ : LIS

“Lys” (sometimes “lis”) is the French word for “lily” as in “fleur-de-lys”, the heraldic symbol often associated with the French monarchy.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Island top : ALOHA SHIRT
11 Beaver young : KITS
15 Dreamer of Greek myth : LOTUS-EATER
16 Short race, briefly : ONE-K
17 Celebrated 1981 bride : PRINCESS DI
18 Kyrgyzstan range : ALAI
19 Italian sonnet closing : SESTET
20 One may be mounted close to a grille : FOG LAMP
22 Never encountered before : NOVEL
25 Sleeper’s path : RAILS
26 Didn’t lose at all : SWEPT
30 Athlete’s best effort : A GAME
32 “Breaking Bad” org. : DEA
33 City on the Arno : PISA
34 Hardly the best smoke : STOGIE
35 Filing aid : TAB
36 Item on many a diner check : ENTREE
38 Jazz piano style : STRIDE
40 Greek letter : ETA
41 White water : RAPIDS
45 Early philosophical hot spot : ELEA
46 Columbo, for one: Abbr. : DET
47 Point of view : ANGLE
48 Sidestep : AVERT
49 Formal wear : DRESS
51 One way to think : ALOUD
53 Experiment with Zener cards : ESP TEST
55 Tree with green-skinned fruit : PAWPAW
60 Opposite of bueno : MALO
61 United Nations goal : WORLD PEACE
64 King Harald’s father : OLAV
65 Obsolescent media : AUDIOTAPES
66 Flier over Hawaii : NENE
67 Island bottom : GRASS SKIRT

Down

1 Jungfrau setting : ALPS
2 Stuff of legends : LORE
3 Name you might see while listening to Muzak : OTIS
4 Follow the game? : HUNT
5 Trip up : ASCENT
6 Address : SEE TO
7 Dines on : HAS
8 Part of TGIF : IT’S
9 Sign of trouble : RED FLAG
10 Beaux Arts __: longtime chamber music group : TRIO
11 Arboreal marsupial : KOALA
12 Countertop option : INLAID TILE
13 Captain, say : TEAM LEADER
14 Stops pumping momentarily? : SKIPS A BEAT
21 Receive with a shake, maybe : GREET
23 Brewery fixture : VAT
24 Narcissist’s issue : EGO
26 One flying without a plane? : SPEED DEMON
27 January clearance : WINTER SALE
28 Where there’s a will, usually : ESTATE PLAN
29 Equal footing : PAR
31 Hit opposite : MISS
34 Bean of “Game of Thrones” : SEAN
37 Make room on a drive : ERASE
39 Gun in neutral : REV
42 Org. that runs the FedEx Cup Playoffs : PGA TOUR
43 Misfortune : ILL
44 __ volente : DEO
48 Makes adjustments : ADAPTS
50 Hot spot : STOVE
52 Beehives, e.g. : UPDOS
54 Promotional handouts : SWAG
56 Watered down : WEAK
57 Longtime MLB star Big __ : PAPI
58 HP rival : ACER
59 Old U.S. region? : WEST
62 Nutritional abbr. : RDA
63 Fleur-de-__ : LIS

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 7 Mar 20, Saturday”

  1. No errors, but had to look up the Zener card thing. Though I got it
    right because of crossing words, I am not familiar with “stride” as a
    jazz piano style. But then I’m not familiar with jazz at all.

  2. I was SO tempted to quit, but I just kept plugging along and finally got it. Rough times in the upper right and lower left. Didn’t know alai or elea. Didn’t know King Harald’s father. Was sure one flying without a plane was somebody up in the air like superman or a hang glider. So my mind works … or doesn’t.

    1. I saw things that I just forgotten, realizing you can put your life in others things and forget who you really are, this is what happened to me I see now . I just need to clean away my swag that I put in my life. Now I am waiting on a dumpster to help me out. Eddie

  3. LA Times: Almost an hour but without error. Big time waster was entering Ural instead of Alai for the Kyrgyzstan range. And agree with Wayne about a rough time in the upper right corner. All in all a satisfying Saturday puzzle. (Could never even dream of approaching Dave’s time.)

    1. Me too. I kind of think that’s a more likely interpretation of the setter’s intent on this side of the pond.

  4. 10:25, no errors. Interesting: For at least thirty years, I have thought that the Alai Mountains and the Altai Mountains were one and the same. Not so. They are different. And I fancied myself a mountaineer! How embarrassing … 😳.

  5. I forgot …

    If anyone else here did today’s “Saturday Stumper”, from Newsday, I’d be curious to know what they thought of it. I got about 3/4 of it before hitting a wall. I then used Google to finish and, even so, had trouble. I spent a total of almost two hours on the thing and thought some of the clues were unusually obscure (especially the ones for 20A, 28A, 2D, 5D, 25D, 35D, and 46D, some of which suggest to me that the setter really intended to force the use of references to solve the thing).

    On the other hand, this was only the second really hard puzzle I’ve attempted in the last six or seven weeks, so maybe I’m just seeing the result of all that time off … 😳.

    1. I may attempt it later. I don’t know, but given everything else bad going on with me the last week or so, I kinda doubt that I’ll have the extreme level of patience it takes for me to put up with a lot of these crosswords that use nonsensical language (I barely got the LAT done) like the Newsday. We’ll see.

  6. 11:11 was my time, much better than my time yesterday on Friday’s puzzle, I was so off my brains yesterday.

    This felt like a typical Saturday to me… slow but steady progress with a lot of the answers slightly “tricky” and needing some thought. Some obscure proper nouns, though… the last thing I filled in was INLAID TILE because I couldn’t get a bunch of the crosses (ALAI and ELEA, and RAILS and TAB because I just wasn’t seeing them)… I wound up staring at the long down until I “Wheel of Fortuned it” as my wife puts it.

  7. 37:26 with one stupid error…Did anyone notice that the aloha shirt and the grass skirt are on the top and bottom where they belong?

    1. @Jack – Didn’t notice that top and bottom placement until you mentioned it. I lightly wrote in “coconut bra” for 1 Across (too many Jimmy Buffet concerts and pre concert tailgate party margaritas over way, way too many years).

      I was just glad to see Bill go over 10 minutes on his solve time. If he was a sub 10 minute solve for this I was going to eat my hat without salt!

  8. 21:22. Good one. I’ve been cheating on the LA Times and spending all my times (pardon the pun) with the NY Times puzzles lately. It’s largely a function of their coming out at 7 PM Pacific time so I do them at night. Mornings lately have been little more than coffee and chaos for me.

    The clue for OTIS wins the award for the day, although there was a lot of punny competition.

    Jack – I did notice that. In fact, getting GRASS SKIRT finally allowed me to see ALOHA SHIRT up top and finish.

    Interesting note about KOALA fingerprints. All I need to do is train a few of them, and I can finally find a safer way to commit high-end robberies….

    Best –

  9. 25 mins 45 sec, and 3 unfilled, so DNF. INLAID TILE just would not suggest itself to me, and ELEA and ALAI as crossers were both complete naticks.

    Overall, the clue phrasing had me pulling my hair out. Never felt comfortable with this grid.

  10. I totally bombed out today. Knew from just going through it at first that I wasn’t going to win this one. And I didn’t. Glad a lot of you made it though. Just too far out of my league I guess. Alas.

  11. Fairly hard Saturday for me; finished at about an hour with no errors, but a lot of guesses and waiting for crosses. Curiously I had koala, kits, alai and surmised onek right away, so INLAIDTILE came fairly quickly to me. I was held up for a while with eVade instead of AVERT, but finally got that. I got the SW, middle and NE fairly quickly and struggled with the SE and finally the NW. We’ve had PAWPAW before and I’ll try to remember, but that held me for a while. I stared at what was obviously LOTUSEATER for a long time, before finally just putting it in and that got me the obvious PRINCESSDI – I was thinking the Tiny Tim wedding 🙂 I had ALPS and the great OTIS right away….LORE was the last to fall.

    Good to know about Altai and Alai, they are pretty close.

    Whew!! Time to set my clocks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.