LA Times Crossword 8 Apr 20, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Zachary David Levy
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Piece of Cake

Themed answers each start with a kind of CAKE:

  • 60A Easy-peasy … or a hint to the start of 17-, 24-, 36- and 51-Across : PIECE OF CAKE
  • 17A Early stage of most tornados : FUNNEL CLOUD (giving “funnel cake”)
  • 24A Bikini Bottom fry cook : SPONGEBOB (giving “sponge cake”)
  • 36A Common nickname for a redhead : CARROT TOP (giving “carrot cake”)
  • 51A Hashtag symbol : POUND SIGN (giving “pound cake”)

Bill’s time: 5m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Continent with 11 time zones : ASIA

Local solar time was replaced with standard time zones due to the increasing use of rail travel and telecommunications as the variations in local solar times became somewhat inconvenient. Time zones in the US vary in hourly increments, but in some parts of the world a 30-minute or even 15-minute difference can apply.

11 Slyly include in an email, for short : BCC

A blind carbon copy (bcc) is a copy of a document or message that is sent to someone without other recipients of the message knowing about that extra copy.

14 Textile machine : LOOM

There are many types of loom used to weave cloth, but they all hold parallel threads in tension in one direction, while allowing the interweaving of threads in the perpendicular direction. The threads held under tension are the warp threads, and the “woven” threads are the “weft” threads.

17 Early stage of most tornados : FUNNEL CLOUD (giving “funnel cake”)

Funnel clouds are funnel-shaped clouds that drop down from the base of larger clouds, marking rotating columns of winds. When a funnel cloud touches the ground, it is referred to as a tornado.

Funnel cake is a traditional serving at American carnivals and seaside resorts. The cake is made by pouring cake batter from a funnel into hot cooking oil in a circular pattern, and then deep frying until it is golden-brown.

21 Actress Basinger : KIM

Kim Basinger’s big break in movies came when she played a Bond girl Domino Petachi in “Never Say Never Again” opposite Sean Connery. Basinger’s more famous roles were in “L.A. Confidential”, “9½ Weeks” and “8 Mile”. My personal favorite of her films though was the thriller “Cellular”, released in 2004.

22 Former Clannad singer : ENYA

Enya’s real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career, eventually becoming Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. And, she sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!

24 Bikini Bottom fry cook : SPONGEBOB (giving “sponge cake”)

SpongeBob SquarePants is a cartoon character in a Nickelodeon television series. Spongebob first appeared in 1999, and he “lives in a pineapple under the sea”. The character was created by marine biologist, cartoonist and animator Stephen Hillenburg.

27 Pacific current : EL NINO

When the surface temperature of much of the Pacific Ocean rises more than half a degree centigrade, then there is said to be an El Niño episode. That small temperature change in the Pacific has been associated with climatic changes that can stretch right across the globe. El Niño is Spanish for “the boy” and is a reference to the Christ child. The phenomenon was given this particular Spanish name because the warming is usually noticed near South America and around Christmas-time.

30 Curiosity org. : NASA

There have been several rovers sent to Mars from Earth. The Soviet Union’s Mars 2 landed in 1971, and failed. Mars 3 landed the same year, and ceased operation just 20 seconds after landing. NASA’s Sojourner landed in 1997 (what a great day that was!) and operated from July through September. The British rover Beagle 2 was lost six days before its scheduled entry into the Martian atmosphere. NASA’s Spirit landed in 2004, and operated successfully for over six years before getting trapped in sand and eventually ceasing to communicate. NASA’s Opportunity also landed in 2004, and it is still going. And then NASA’s Curiosity made a spectacular, hi-tech landing in 2012 and is continuing to explore the planet today.

31 Practitioner of total patient care : HOLIST

A holistic approach to medicine emphasises not only physical symptoms but also social considerations and the environment.

35 Neon or Freon : GAS

Neon was discovered in 1898 by two British chemists Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers. They chilled a sample of air, turning it into a liquid. They then warmed that liquid and separated out the gases that boiled off. Along with nitrogen, oxygen and argon (already known), the pair of scientists discovered two new gases. The first they called “krypton” and the second “neon”. “Krypton” is Greek for “the hidden one” and “neon” is Greek for “new”.

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.

36 Common nickname for a redhead : CARROT TOP (giving “carrot cake”)

Cooks started using carrots in cakes in medieval times, as carrots contain more sugar than any other vegetable other than sugar beet. Carrot cake really only became widely available in the US in the sixties, which I find surprising given how ubiquitous the confection is today …

42 Congregation leader : PASTOR

A pastor is a minister or priest in some Christian traditions. “Pastor” is the Latin word for “shepherd”.

47 Turkish inn : IMARET

Imarets were inns or hostels used by pilgrims throughout the Ottoman Empire. The network of imarets was set up to provide food to anyone in need, so they also served as soup kitchens, as it were.

51 Hashtag symbol : POUND SIGN (giving “pound cake”)

A hashtag is a word preceded by the symbol #. Hashtags are big these days because of its use by Twitter. The “#” symbol is usually referred to as the “number sign”, but here in the US the name “pound sign” is very common as well.

55 Dog-__: folded at the corner : EARED

The folded-down corner of the page of a book, a temporary placeholder, is known as a “dog-ear”. I suppose that’s because it looks like the ear of a dog …

56 Ward of “Sisters” : SELA

Actress Sela Ward turns up in crosswords a lot. Ward played Teddy Reed in the TV show “Sisters” in the nineties, and was in “Once and Again” from 1999-2002. I don’t know either show, but I do know Ward from the medical drama “House” in which she played the hospital’s lawyer and Greg House’s ex-partner. That was a fun role, I thought. More recently, Ward played a lead role on “CSI: NY” and was a very welcome and much-needed addition to the cast. And, Ward played Dr. Richard Kimble’s murdered wife in the 1993 film version of “The Fugitive”.

“Sisters” is a drama TV show that originally aired in the nineties. “Sisters” was groundbreaking television in that it was the first primetime show to focus on women and women’s issues. The four title characters are Alex, Teddy, Georgie and Frankie Reed, played by Swoosie Kurtz, Sela Ward, Patricia Kalember and Julianne Phillips.

57 SADD concern : DUI

In some states, there is no longer a legal difference between a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). Other states retain that difference, so that by definition a DUI is a lesser offence than a DWI.

Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) was founded in Massachusetts in 1981. SADD’s aim is to prevent road traffic accidents by urging students to avoid potentially destructive decisions (such as driving under the influence of alcohol).

58 “The Grouchy Ladybug” writer Carle : ERIC

Eric Carle is a very successful children’s author and book illustrator, with over 100 million of his books sold around the world. Carle’s most famous title is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, and it alone has sold 30 million copies.

“The Grouchy Ladybug” is a children’s book by Eric Carle, first published in 1977. The book was published using an alternative title “The Bad-Tempered Ladybird”, presumably for children speaking English on the other side of the Atlantic.

59 “Conan” channel : TBS

Before Conan O’Brien came to fame as a late night talk show host, he was a writer. He wrote for both “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons”. While attending Harvard, O’Brien was president of “The Harvard Lampoon”.

64 Seine water : EAU

The Seine is the river that flows through Paris. The Seine empties into the English Channel to the north, at the port city of Le Havre.

68 Some digital watches : CASIOS

Casio is a Japanese manufacturer of mainly electronic products, including calculators, watches and electronic keyboards. It was Casio that produced the first portable and compact all-electric calculator, way back in 1957.

69 Polliwog home : POND

“Polliwog” is another word for “tadpole”, which describes the larval stage of an amphibian such as a frog or a toad. The term “polliwog” has been around since the mid-15th century and probably comes from the Old English words “pol” (head) and “wiglen” (wiggle).

Down

1 ET from Melmac : ALF

“ALF” is a sitcom that aired in the late eighties. The title character is a hand-puppet, and supposedly an alien named Gordon Shumway from the planet Melmac. The alien crash-landed into the house of amateur radio enthusiast Willie Tanner. Tanner renamed the intruder “ALF”, standing for “alien life form”.

2 Watts Towers neighborhood, briefly : SOUTH LA

The Watts Towers are a series of sculptures on display in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. Also known as “Nuestro Pueblo” (Spanish for “Our Town”), the collection was created by Italian-American artist Simon Rodia.

3 Greek islanders of old : IONIANS

The geographic region called Ionia is located in present day Turkey. Ionia was prominent in the days of ancient Greece, although it wasn’t a unified state and rather a collection of tribes. The tribal confederacy was more based on religious and cultural similarities than a political or military alliance. Nowadays we often refer to this arrangement as the Ionian League.

5 Leatherworking tool : AWL

An awl is a pointed tool used for marking a surface or for piercing small holes. The earliest awls were used to pierce ears, apparently. The tool then became very much associated with shoemakers.

7 Dutch flower : TULIP

We usually associate the cultivation of tulips with the Netherlands, but they were first grown commercially in the Ottoman Empire. The name “tulip” ultimately derives from the Ottoman Turkish word “tulbend” that means “muslin, gauze”.

8 MLB replay aid : SLO-MO

Major League Baseball (MLB)

9 College URL suffix : EDU

The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

11 Pliable seat : BEANBAG

The original beanbag chair was designed by an Italian company called Zanotta in 1969. That first model was called “il sacco” and is still made today. The idea came from staff at the Zanotta factory who would take their breaks sitting on bags filled with styrofoam.

12 Coloring name since 1903 : CRAYOLA

In the year 2000, the Crayola company held the “Crayola Color Census 2000”, in which people were polled and asked for their favorite Crayola colors. President George W. Bush chose “Blue Bell” and Tiger Woods chose “Wild Strawberry”.

13 Winter melons : CASABAS

A casaba is a type of honeydew melon. The casaba takes its name from the Turkish city of Kasaba, from where the fruit was imported into America in the late 1800s.

Winter melons are named for the fact that they have a long shelf-life, and with careful storage may be available in the winter months.

25 Cosa __ : NOSTRA

Apparently, “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn some members of the American Mafia. The Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “Mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

32 Surg. centers : ORS

Surgery (surg.) is usually performed in an operating room (OR).

38 Icy end-of-the-world region : POLAR CAP

The polar ice cap at the north of our planet is floating pack ice in the Arctic Ocean. The southern polar ice cap is an ice sheet that covers the landmass known as Antarctica. About 70% of all the freshwater on Earth is held in the southern polar ice cap.

39 Trendy type often parodied on “Portlandia” : HIPSTER

“Portlandia” is a satirical sketch show that airs on the Independent Film Channel (IFC). The show is set in Portland, Oregon and takes its name from a statue called “Portlandia” which sits above the entrance to a building in downtown Portland. The statue is a copper repoussé work, and is second in size in the US only to the Statue of Liberty.

40 Slide organisms : AMOEBAE

An ameba (also “amoeba”) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

44 Rivera in Cooperstown : MARIANO

Mariano Rivera is a professional baseball pitcher from Panama City. Rivera played for the New York Yankees from 1995 until his retirement at the end of the 2013 season. Rivera holds the league record for the most career saves (at 652). He is known by the nicknames “Mo” and “Sandman”.

46 Danson of “The Good Place” : TED

Actor Ted Danson is noted in particular for three successful roles that he has played on television. He played Sam Malone on the sitcom “Cheers”, the title role on the sitcom “Becker”, and eventually led the cast on the drama series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”. Danson has been married to actress Mary Steenburgen since 1995.

48 Genetic “messenger” initials : RNA

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

53 Fashion brand identified by interlocking G’s : GUCCI

Gucci was founded in Rome, in 1921, by Guccio Gucci. Guccio’s son Aldo took over the company after his father’s death in 1953. It was Aldo who established the international presence for the brand and opened the company’s first overseas store, in New York City.

54 2012-’18 Mexican president : NIETO

Enrique Peña Nieto served as President of Mexico from 2012 to 2018. Soon after taking office, President Nieto struggled with a plummeting approval rating that was initially due to a sluggish economy and a weakened Mexican Peso.

60 Push-up target, for short : PEC

“Pecs” is the familiar name for the chest muscle, which is more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

62 CIA forerunner : OSS

The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. A few years after the end of the war the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Continent with 11 time zones : ASIA
5 Gift for a creative kid : ART SET
11 Slyly include in an email, for short : BCC
14 Textile machine : LOOM
15 “Who __ thunk it?” : WOULDA
16 Significant time span : ERA
17 Early stage of most tornados : FUNNEL CLOUD (giving “funnel cake”)
19 Smallish batteries : AAS
20 Knotted up : TIED
21 Actress Basinger : KIM
22 Former Clannad singer : ENYA
23 Terrible twos, one hopes : PHASE
24 Bikini Bottom fry cook : SPONGEBOB (giving “sponge cake”)
27 Pacific current : EL NINO
29 “Fan-cee!” : OO LA LA!
30 Curiosity org. : NASA
31 Practitioner of total patient care : HOLIST
35 Neon or Freon : GAS
36 Common nickname for a redhead : CARROT TOP (giving “carrot cake”)
39 “Oh, puh-leeze!” : HAH!
42 Congregation leader : PASTOR
43 Fail to include : OMIT
47 Turkish inn : IMARET
49 At full volume : ABLARE
51 Hashtag symbol : POUND SIGN (giving “pound cake”)
55 Dog-__: folded at the corner : EARED
56 Ward of “Sisters” : SELA
57 SADD concern : DUI
58 “The Grouchy Ladybug” writer Carle : ERIC
59 “Conan” channel : TBS
60 Easy-peasy … or a hint to the start of 17-, 24-, 36- and 51-Across : PIECE OF CAKE
64 Seine water : EAU
65 Puts into law : ENACTS
66 At once, in many poems : ANON
67 Sales __ : REP
68 Some digital watches : CASIOS
69 Polliwog home : POND

Down

1 ET from Melmac : ALF
2 Watts Towers neighborhood, briefly : SOUTH LA
3 Greek islanders of old : IONIANS
4 “Who am I?” speaker, perhaps : AMNESIAC
5 Leatherworking tool : AWL
6 Is totally awesome : ROCKS
7 Dutch flower : TULIP
8 MLB replay aid : SLO-MO
9 College URL suffix : EDU
10 Bit : TAD
11 Pliable seat : BEANBAG
12 Coloring name since 1903 : CRAYOLA
13 Winter melons : CASABAS
18 Paradise : EDEN
22 Skinny swimmer : EEL
23 Home near a barn : PEN
25 Cosa __ : NOSTRA
26 Show up for : GO TO
28 “Darn it all” : OH RATS
32 Surg. centers : ORS
33 Used car site : LOT
34 “Who am __ judge?” : I TO
37 Pretended to be : APED
38 Icy end-of-the-world region : POLAR CAP
39 Trendy type often parodied on “Portlandia” : HIPSTER
40 Slide organisms : AMOEBAE
41 Calls on the carpet : HAULS UP
44 Rivera in Cooperstown : MARIANO
45 “Seems to me,” in dialect : I RECKON
46 Danson of “The Good Place” : TED
48 Genetic “messenger” initials : RNA
50 Most steaks : BEEF
52 Notions : IDEAS
53 Fashion brand identified by interlocking G’s : GUCCI
54 2012-’18 Mexican president : NIETO
60 Push-up target, for short : PEC
61 __ bind: stuck : IN A
62 CIA forerunner : OSS
63 Close : END

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 8 Apr 20, Wednesday”

  1. Wow, Mr Levy really pulled out all the 3,4 5 and even 6 letter lingo and abbreviated words;, woulda , oolala, ireckon, ohrats, hah, rep, etc…
    Not sure ‘ablare’ is lingo but it is to me. “The crossword was ablare with lingo??”

    Just seemed a little heavy today.. Maybe it’s just me sitting around sequestered with this pandemic and cooped up all day. Stay safe!!!

  2. No errors. Pretty easy puzzle but got off the track once when I put a
    known answer into the wrong boxes…a bothering habit of mine, I
    suppose because my aging eyes have problems reading the tiny box
    numbers. Oh rats!
    Having this and other puzzles sure helps to pass the time when
    sequestered as we all are today. “Who woulda thunk?”

  3. 9:24, no errors. Did it while feeling a little brain-damaged from the “Stumper” of 02/08, which I finished (much to my surprise, with no errors!) after 2:02:34 (none of which was walk-away time). A wild ride!

  4. 8:41. Completely spaced off looking for a theme despite this one being obvious.

    ABLARE is a Carrie special. Any word in crosswords that has the extra “A” at the beginning to manufacture a word annoys her – ABLARE, AROAR, ABED and many others. I’m sitting here ADESK trying to think of some others.

    Dirk – that was a painful video of the toilet paper fire, but it was all going to San Antonio anyway. I guess we here way out west will be the last to be restocked.

    Best –

  5. I had to Google for CASABAS, HAH, TBS (can’t stand him).
    I woulda said, “Who’d a thunk it?” rather than, “Who WOULDA thunk it?”
    Also, never heard of HAULS UP, MARIANO, NIETO. I asked my husband about MARIANO. I guess I pushed a button, cuz he went on and on.

    On toilet paper, there was a fellow on tv who said the scarcity was because there are 2 kinds of TP. The ones we use at home are very fine and lovely. The ones we find in public bathroom come in a huge roll and are thin, coarse and don’t tear at built in perforations. The supermarkets don’t sell the latter to us.

  6. 11 mins 20 sec, and needed the Check feature of the online puzzle to correct 3 errors, centered around OH RATS. Just couldn’t figure that one out…

  7. We made 2 posting errors and left 10 blank boxes. Letter wise, 94%.

    I am not sure that ablare is a word, but I suppose if not, it wouldn’t be used.

    Didn’t exactly overwork this one, but didn’t like it as much as MT.

    Everybody stay well.

  8. I wonder why # is called the pound sign.
    The sign for pound sterling is a capital L with 2 crossmarks. Does anyone know?

    1. Sam –

      Apparently the # sort of resembles the old abbreviation for pounds, lb. It used to be written with a line up top linking the l and the b (although why I don’t know). I saw an image of it once, and if you really use your imagination you can see lb with a line up at the top through the l and b look like #. Squinting might help too

      Best –

  9. Got slightly slowed down by a few entries; ended up with 17:22 online when I got the “ding”, even though I was expecting to further debug the SW corner. I was all asea with the author and the channel, even though I just watched Colbert interview Conan on YouTube.

    re TP – There’s another video of a TP semi afire in Australia. Given the value of the cargo, the brave firemen were able to save 1/2 the load. I think TP is a fungible commodity like oil, where a loss somewhere leads to shortages everywhere. 🙂 At our supermarket they’ve introduced single rolls rather than the multi-roll packs that we’re used to.

    Well, I’ll be abed soon, so I can be ashop – okay that was a bit of a stretch – tomorrow morning. Better early, than atilt with fellow shoppers at closing.

  10. DIRK!! YOU’RE KILLING ME HERE!!😬

    And we have a winner for WORST A-non-word 2020: ABLARE. Jeez!!😟

    Not a bad puzzle otherwise. No errors. It did make me think that I kinda miss cake – both having it and eating it – but it is too hard to find these days….🤔

    I did get out today, which was good. I had to pick up a prescription for a friend. LA is lovely lately, with clean air. I passed a food truck near a work site on Sunset Blvd, and all the lunchtime workers in line politely stood six feet apart, wearing masks.

    @Nonny Muss from yesterday– wow, that Everclear will do the job!!🤗

    Be safe ~~🍺

    1. It’s kind of the same as “calls on the carpet.” I’ve never heard of “hauls up on the carpet” since “hauls up” is usually used for “hauls up in front of a judge.”

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