LA Times Crossword 6 Jun 20, Saturday

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Constructed by: Greg Johnson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 8m 11s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Egypt neighbor : LIBYA

The Italo-Turkish War was fought between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy from September 1911 and October 1912. At the end of the conflict the Ottoman Empire ceded to Italy the three provinces of Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. These provinces became Italian North Africa, and ultimately the country that we know today as Libya. The name “Libya” comes from the Ancient Greek “Libúē”, the historical name for Northwest Africa.

18 Three-time Olympics host country : ITALY

Italy has hosted three Olympic Games:

  • The 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo
  • The 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome
  • The 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin

20 Landmark in the 2018 documentary “Free Solo” : EL CAPITAN

El Capitan is a stunning vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park in California. The top of El Capitan has been used as the take-off point for many BASE jumps, parachute jumps made by diving off the top of the rock face. The National Park Service put a stop to the practise in 1999. Soon afterwards, a BASE jumper made an illegal jump to protest the ban. She died …

“Free Solo” is an excellent, albeit frightening (to me), 2018 documentary about Alex Honnold’s record-setting free-solo ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. The film won that season’s Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, as well it should …

25 Succulent plant genus : ALOE

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in relatively dry climates. The plant’s leaves are full of biologically-active compounds that have been studied extensively. Aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.

29 Org. with a “Parents” link on its main page : NEA

The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest labor union in the country, and mainly represents public school teachers.

30 LED part : DIODE

A Light Emitting Diode (LED) is a specialized form of semiconductor that when switched on releases photons (light). LEDs were used in early digital watches, and are getting more and more popular even though their use in electronic equipment is fading away. LEDs are used as replacements for the much less-efficient tungsten light bulbs. I replaced all of my tungsten Xmas lights a few years ago and saved a lot on my electricity bill.

37 Bald spot : TONSURE

Tonsure is the practice of shaving the head, or part of the head, before one can become a priest or a monk.

39 “Chicago Med” pro : ER DOC

“Chicago Med” is a medical drama TV show that started airing in 2015. It is part of what’s known as the “Chicago” franchise, which also includes “Chicago Fire”, “Chicago P.D.” and “Chicago Justice”.

42 Modern steady : BAE

“Bae” is a contemporary term of endearment. It is a pet name that is an abbreviation of “babe, baby”, although I’ve also read that it is an acronym standing for “before anyone else”.

45 AM radio staple : TALK

The radio spectrum is divided into bands based on frequency. “High band” is composed of relatively high frequency values, and “low band” is composed of frequencies that are relatively low. FM radio falls into the band called Very High Frequency (VHF). Television signals use frequencies even higher than VHF, frequencies in the Ultra High Frequency band (UHF). AM radio uses lower frequencies that fall into the relatively low bands of Low, Medium and High Frequency (LF, MF, and HF).

46 National __ : DEBT

Historically speaking, significant increases in the US national debt expressed as a percentage of the gross domestic product are caused by only two factors: war and recession. So, we should just avoid both of those things. Easy, huh …?

53 Stretchy fabric : LYCRA

What we call spandex in the US is known as lycra in Britain and Ireland. “Spandex” was chosen as the name for the elastic fiber as it is an anagram of “expands”.

56 Pleasure trip : JAUNT

A “jaunt” is a short pleasure trip, although back in the 1500s the word described a tiresome journey. Back then, one would “jaunt” a horse, meaning that one tired it out by riding it back and forth.

60 The Northern Pacific’s __ Islands : ALEUTIAN

The Aleuts live on the Aleutian Islands of the North Pacific, and on the Commander Islands at the western end of the same island chain. The Aleutian Islands are part of the United States, and the Commander Islands are in Russia.

62 Jellyfish appendage : TENTACLE

Jellyfish are found all over the ocean, right across the whole planet. They have been around for 500-700 million years, and so are the oldest multi-organ animal extant.

Down

1 12-point type : PICA

Both “pica” and “elite” are types. Pica is a 12-point type, having about 10 characters per inch. Elite is 10-point type, with about 12 characters per inch.

2 “Iliad” god : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

7 Hash browns, e.g. : FRIED POTATOES

Hash, beef and vegetables mashed together, is a very American dish and one that really surprised me when I first came across it. “Hash” just seems like such an unappetizing item, but I soon found out how delicious it was. The name “hash” in this context comes from the French “hacher” meaning “to chop”. Back in the early 1900s the dish called “hashed browned potatoes” was developed, which quickly morphed into “hash browns”. From there the likes of corned beef hash was introduced.

12 Space blanket material : MYLAR

Mylar is a brand name for a polyester film with many uses, one of which is to make reflective surfaces. Mylar can be used to make reflective solar sails, which are a fascinating form of spacecraft propulsion. Believe it or not, reflecting photons of light each provide a small amount of thrust, and enough of them can propel an object in the vacuum of space.

32 Like Alaska’s climate : SUBARCTIC

The subarctic zone is a region lying just south of the Arctic.

33 River to the Caspian Sea : URAL

The Ural River rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia and flows for half its length through Russian territory until it crosses the border into Kazakhstan, finally emptying into the Caspian Sea. It is the third-longest river in Europe, after the Volga and Danube. The Ural is often cited as defining a long stretch of the border between Europe and Asia, although the exact position of that border is open to debate.

The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water lying between Asia and Europe. By some definitions, the Caspian is the largest lake on the planet. The name “Caspian” comes from the Caspi people who lived to the southwest of the sea in the South Caucasus.

44 Current drama that ranks third behind “Gunsmoke” and “Lassie” in total original episodes, familiarly : SVU

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a spin-off from the TV crime drama “Law & Order”. “SVU” has been on the air since 1999, and is set in New York City. Interestingly (to me), there is a very successful Russian adaptation of the show that is set in Moscow.

45 Japanese industry giant, or the city in which it’s headquartered : TOYOTA

Several Toyota manufacturing plants, as well as Toyota’s headquarters, are located in the Japanese city that used to be called “Koromo”. In recognition of the area’s largest employer, the city changed its name to Toyota in 1959. The following year, Toyota City became a sister city with Detroit, Michigan.

48 __ Banner, a.k.a. The Hulk : BRUCE

The comic book hero named “The Hulk” first made an appearance in 1962. The Hulk is the alter ego of reserved and withdrawn physicist Bruce Banner. Banner transforms into the Hulk when he gets angry.

52 Game divs. : QTRS

Quarter (qtr.)

54 Capital of Oman : RIAL

The rial is the currency of Oman (as well as Yemen, Iran, Cambodia and Tunisia). Generally, there are 1,000 baisa in a rial.

55 Actress Dudek of “House” : ANNE

American actress Anne Dudek is perhaps best known to American audiences for playing the antagonistic radiologist Dr. Amber Volakis on the medical drama “House”. Prior to getting the role on “House”, Dudek played the lead on the hit British show “The Book Group”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Measures roughly : PACES OFF
9 Suspicious offers, often : SCAMS
14 Pots and such : IRONWARE
15 Egypt neighbor : LIBYA
16 Authenticates : CERTIFIES
18 Three-time Olympics host country : ITALY
19 Welcome at the door : ASK IN
20 Landmark in the 2018 documentary “Free Solo” : EL CAPITAN
22 Container for some baked goods : BREADBOX
24 __ tolerance : ZERO
25 Succulent plant genus : ALOE
27 “Puh-leeze!” : SPARE ME!
29 Org. with a “Parents” link on its main page : NEA
30 LED part : DIODE
31 Briefly : IN SUM
35 Most brief : TERSEST
37 Bald spot : TONSURE
39 “Chicago Med” pro : ER DOC
40 Not whispered : ALOUD
42 Modern steady : BAE
43 Done in the least amount of time : FASTEST
45 AM radio staple : TALK
46 National __ : DEBT
49 Supports, in a way : VOTES FOR
51 How work references may be given : ON REQUEST
53 Stretchy fabric : LYCRA
56 Pleasure trip : JAUNT
57 Enter : SET FOOT IN
59 Go on : OCCUR
60 The Northern Pacific’s __ Islands : ALEUTIAN
61 Way up or down : STEPS
62 Jellyfish appendage : TENTACLE

Down

1 12-point type : PICA
2 “Iliad” god : ARES
3 Display with pins : CORKBOARD
4 Complete : ENTIRE
5 Beasts with snouts : SWINE
6 Clumsy character : OAF
7 Hash browns, e.g. : FRIED POTATOES
8 Have regrets : FEEL BAD
9 Lapse : SLIP
10 Town hall meeting attendees : CITIZENS
11 Lessen : ABATE
12 Space blanket material : MYLAR
13 Refuse : SAY NO
17 Reason for revenge : SCORE TO SETTLE
21 Remove, as from a schedule : AXE
23 “No promises” tag : AS IS
25 Required game payment : ANTE
26 Wanton gaze : LEER
28 Make sure not to overlook : MIND
30 Prefix with -gon : DECA-
32 Like Alaska’s climate : SUBARCTIC
33 River to the Caspian Sea : URAL
34 Easily dominated : MEEK
36 Break down the resistance of, as a customer : SOFTEN UP
38 Means of escape : OUTS
41 Cry that’s from hunger? : LET’S EAT!
44 Current drama that ranks third behind “Gunsmoke” and “Lassie” in total original episodes, familiarly : SVU
45 Japanese industry giant, or the city in which it’s headquartered : TOYOTA
46 Places for black belts : DOJOS
47 Legally establish : ENACT
48 __ Banner, a.k.a. The Hulk : BRUCE
50 Scorn, as the rules : FLOUT
52 Game divs. : QTRS
54 Capital of Oman : RIAL
55 Actress Dudek of “House” : ANNE
58 Wetland : FEN

26 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 6 Jun 20, Saturday”

  1. 6:04 (!!), no errors. Quality grid I can’t think of any complaints to make on, but I could make some comments about the difficulty path as of late at the LAT. But I figure that’s not entirely up to my opinion to opine about as it’s really hard to know whether they’ve changed things at the LAT or it’s me getting better.

    One thing I have to add to yesterday is one unique thing that’s an asset for both the NYT and the LAT are these kind of puzzles with open submission. For the NYT, what they offer on Fridays and Saturdays are still mostly good, but in a lot of ways it’s more a function of uniqueness than anything else.

  2. LAT: About 30 minutes. And I agree with the comments above: Am I getting better at crosswords, or are these puzzles, Saturday’s in particular, easier than ever? Had only minimal difficulty with the bottom half.

  3. No errors, but at first had a problem with the NW corner because I
    had “stepsoff” but changed it to “pacesoff”when “pica” and “corkboard” were the down answers. A bit easier than usual for Saturday.

  4. 9:42, no errors. Yesterday’s Croce: 1:47:39 including a lot of walk-away and/or dozing-off time, no errors; lots of unfamiliar things in it (but, ultimately, all guessable). Today’s Stumper: 1:13:00, but I haven’t error-checked it yet because of a single square that mystifies me and that I’m still thinking about; a rather difficult puzzle.

    @Glenn … I intend to respond to your comments from yesterday, but I have other things to tend to for a bit.

    @John Daigle … Did you get the email that I resent?

    1. I took a moment to look at the square that I was questioning in the “Stumper” and found a way to resolve the issue I had with it, so, in the end: no errors, but a total elapsed time of at least twelve hours, and I still don’t understand how the clue “One in a sure-to-sue scenario” gives one “ANR”. An unfamiliar acronym, perhaps? Anyone?

        1. Oh, my! Color me embarrassed! How could I miss that?! Rookie blind spot! So much for my solving skills! Pardon me while I go off and bash my head against the wall a few times … 😜.

          (And thank you!)

        2. In my own defense, I think I now see what happened: For the crossing entry, the clue was “Restrains, as sounds”, and the only two logical choices were “EMBANKS” or “EMBARKS”; it took me until this morning to finally understand that “sound” can refer to a particular body of water, which might be created by an “embankment”, which is to say that it might be “embanked” (a logical usage, but one that I had never encountered before), giving me the “N” for “EMBANKS”. So my attention was fixed on that, and I wrote off “ANR” or “ARR” as some kind of acronym I’d never heard of.

          All of which does little to soothe my sorely wounded ego … 😜.

    2. When I leave here, I will go look for it. No, I don’t see it, but I am not good unless it
      is plain black and white. If it is somehow off in another file or such, I probably would
      not find it. I will look some more.

      If you want to write me a note and give me your e-mail address, we could do it that way.
      I would like to pursue it.

      2002 Chamblee Drive
      Sulphur, LA 70665

      jadsli@camtel.net

      Glad you pros our current ones easier. Another DNF for us. Tough week after Tuesday.

  5. The entire western side just didn’t come together until my old comics saved the day with BRUCE, which started the flow upwards. Regarding Bill’s comment on “Free Solo”, I truly enjoyed the climber’s story (Nat Geo?), but could not complete the movie later, even knowing that he didn’t fall! Not a relaxing show.
    Nice to know that I have a tonsure, rather than a plain old bald spot. Nice to learn that Lycra and Spandex are one and the same, and the origination of the Spandex name (so simple, swapped ends, pure genius). Thanks, Bill, for all the insightful information you impart in your comments.
    I thought this was a nice vanilla puzzle with the right amount of difficulty for a Saturday morning.

    1. @Lawrence – I recorded Free Solo and have watched it now 4 times. I still get sweaty palms where the karate kick scene unfolds. Great documentary. I fervently hope that Alex does know when to stop his free soloing short of that long list of great free solo climbers who went one climb too many.

      I thought today’s grid was a good level of difficulty. I made it a lot harder than it needed to be when I stuck in “tan line” instead of “tonsure” for no good reason at all. D’oh!

  6. 34:47 no errors…I had BALDSPOT in37A but it just didn’t fit…the SW corner really slowed me down.
    Stay safe all.

    1. @Jack – “I had BALDSPOT in37A” Wait. What? You tried to put the clue in as the answer? Now I’m confused…

    1. @Greg Johnson
      Thanks for your posts. To clarify, my intention in the above was more to point out a (roughly) two month trend I noticed in the Saturday LAT puzzles more than to address anything specific about your effort. Of course, you’d be in the best position to know the edits that were applied to your submission.

  7. Insum and bae. These are today’s made up words or terrible clues. take your pick.
    Most days seems to be one or things the puzzle creator cant really figure out or get a proper clue for!!!!!!
    BAE is large aerospace company. Insum is just today’s BS.

    1. And “BAE” is a recently coined bit of slang that means exactly what one would infer from its clue. I’ve seen it a lot in recent crosswords. Setters don’t just make things up, but they do track the language pretty closely.

  8. 13 minutes, 30 seconds; challenging, but fair. No shenanigans. No “cute and clever”. We need more like these.

  9. Moderately difficult Saturday; took 44 minutes with no errors. A lot of bouncing around trying to get a foothold somewhere with the NE to fill that roll. Had a lot of guesses but took a while to get the corresponding crosses to confirm everything.

    Had to change TENdrill to TENTACLE and fix my spelling of ALEUTIAN. All in all a good fun challenge.

    @Greg Johnson – Nice to see the constructor drop by 🙂

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