LA Times Crossword 18 Jul 20, Saturday

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Constructed by: Jim Peredo
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 9m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

12 Word heard before a hike : HUT

The quarterback (QB) starts each play in football with a snap (also called a “hike”). He announces to his teammates the exact moment of the snap by calling out signals, usually including the word “hut” one or more times in a prearranged sequence.

15 Paper Mate introduced one in 1979 : ERASABLE PEN

The Paper Mate pen was introduced in 1949 by the Frawley Pen Company, with the attraction being that it delivered a revolutionary ink that dries instantly on paper.

18 Poe’s __ Morgue : RUE

“The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, and is recognized as the first “detective story” ever written. The murder is solved when it is determined that the murderer was actually an orangutan.

21 Vicuña cousins : LLAMAS

The vicuña is a South American camelid that lives in the Andes. The vicuña produces very little wool, and that wool can only be collected every three years. So, vicuña wool is very expensive due to the shortage of supply. And, the vicuña is the national animal of Peru.

23 __ pit : MOSH

Moshing (also “slam dancing”) is the pushing and shoving that takes place in the audience at a concert (usually a punk or heavy metal concert). The area directly in front of the stage is known as the mosh pit. When a performer does a “stage dive”, it is into (or I suppose “onto”) the mosh pit. It doesn’t sound like fun to me. Injuries are commonplace in the mosh pit, and deaths are not unknown.

24 Trap : PIEHOLE

The term “piehole” meaning “mouth” has been in use since the early 1980s. It is a variation of the older term “cake hole” that originated with the British armed forces during WWII. “Cake hole” is still used in the British Isles, with “piehole” largely limited to North America.

30 Polite gesture from Alice : CURTSYING

The word “curtsy” (sometimes “curtsey”) is a variant of “courtesy”. The term has been used to describe the bending of the knee and lowering of the body since the 1570s. However, back then it was men who were curtsying as well as women.

In the children’s novel “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll, the Red Queen says to Alice:

Curtsey while you’re thinking what to say, it saves time.

35 “The Hound of the Baskervilles” setting : MOOR

“The Hound of the Baskervilles” is one of four “Sherlock Holmes” novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, regarded by many fans as the best of the series. “The Hound …” tells of a murder attempt on Dartmoor in Devon, England that is disguised as the act of a legendary supernatural hound. The novel also marks Doyle’s revival of his Sherlock Holmes character after he “killed him off” eight years earlier in a story called “The Final Solution”.

38 “Nobody Listens to __ Poundstone”: comedy podcast : PAULA

Paula Poundstone is a stand-up comedian who grew up in Sudbury, Massachusetts. She is a regular panelist on the NPR weekly news quiz show “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me”. I had the privilege of seeing Poundstone performing in a local theater a few years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

39 Not on the ball : UNWARY

The phrase “on the ball”, meaning “alert”, comes from ball sports. It is a contraction of the expression “keep your eye on the ball”, i.e. stay alert!

40 Spacely Space Sprockets employee : JETSON

“The Jetsons” is an animated show from Hanna-Barbera that had its first run in 1962-1963, and then was recreated in 1985-1987. When it debuted in 1963 on ABC, “The Jetsons” was the network’s first ever color broadcast. “The Jetsons” is like a space-age version of “The Flintstones”. The four Jetson family members are George and Jane, the parents, and children Judy and Elroy. Residing with the family in Orbit City are their household robot Rosie and pet dog Astro.

43 French bean? : TETE

In French, a “penseur” (thinker) might use his or her “tête” (head) to produce an “idée” (idea).

45 Play the sycophant to, with “over” : FAWN …

The verb “to fawn” has a different etymology to that of the noun “fawn”. The Old English “faegnian” meant “to rejoice, be glad”. In particular, the Old English verb applied to a dog wagging its tail. From there, “to fawn” came to mean “to court favor, to grovel”.

A sycophant is a selfish person, one who flatters. The term comes from the Greek “sykophantes” which originally meant “one who shows the fig”. This phrase described a vulgar gesture made with the thumb and two fingers.

46 Ms. Pac-Man ghost : SUE

The Pac-Man arcade game was first released in Japan in 1980, and is as popular today as it ever was. The game features characters that are maneuvered around the screen to eat up dots and earn points. The name comes from the Japanese folk hero “Paku”, known for his voracious appetite. The spin-off game called Ms. Pac-Man was released in 1981.

49 Hedonist’s goal : FUN

A hedonist is someone who seeks to maximise the amount of pleasure in his or her life. “Hedone” is the Greek word for “pleasure”.

54 Barcelona star : LIONEL MESSI

Lionel “Leo” Messi is a soccer player from Argentina. Messi was awarded FIFA’s Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball) award from 2009 to 2013. The Ballon d’Or is presented to the player who is considered the best in the world in the prior year.

55 “__ Miz” : LES

The 1980 musical “Les Misérables” is an adaptation of the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The show opened in London in 1985, and is the longest running musical in the history of London’s West End. My wife and I saw “Les Miz” in the Queen’s Theatre in London many years ago, but were only able to get tickets in the very back row. The theater seating is very steep, so the back row of the balcony is extremely high over the stage. One of the big events in the storyline is the building of a street barricade over which the rebels fight. At the height we were seated we could see the stagehands behind the barricade, sitting drinking Coke, even smoking cigarettes. On cue, the stagehands would get up and catch a dropped rifle, or an actor who had been shot. It was pretty comical. I didn’t really enjoy the show that much, to be honest. Some great songs, but the musical version of the storyline just didn’t seem to hang together for me.

56 Thurible go-with : INCENSE BOAT

A thurible is a device that holds burning incense. It is a metal chamber at the end of a long chain and plays a big part in many Christian ceremonies.

Down

2 Hymn singer’s wrath? : IRAE

“Dies Irae” is Latin for “Day of Wrath”. It is the name of a famous melody in Gregorian Chant, one that is often used as part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.

4 Part of i.e. : EST

“Id est” is Latin for “that is”, and is often abbreviated to “i.e.” when used in English.

5 Musical family including James and Livingston : TAYLORS

James Taylor is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who first achieved success with his 1970 song “Fire and Rain”. Famously, Taylor was married to fellow singer Carly Simon, from 1972 to 1983.

Singer-songwriter Livingston Taylor is a younger brother of the more famous singer James Taylor. Livingston remains friends with Carly Simon, his brother James’ ex-wife. Livingston and Carly have collaborated on music projects several times.

6 One behind a violist, maybe : OBOIST

The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”.

7 Wintry nuisance : SLUSH

Slush is a mixture of partially melted solid, a mixture of liquid and solid. The classic example is partly melted snow.

8 BOLO target : PERP

A BOLO is a police alert, with the acronym standing for “be on the look-out”. A BOLO can also be called an APB, an “all-points bulletin”.

9 Clint’s Clyde, in a 1978 movie : APE

“Every Which Way but Loose” is a 1978 movie starring Clint Eastwood as a trucker with a pet orangutan named Clyde. “Every Which Way but Loose” was a box-office success (I hated it …), as was the 1980 sequel “Any Which Way You Can”.

12 Like Pentatonix numbers : HARMONIOUS

Pentatonix (sometimes “PTX”) is an a cappella group that was founded by school chums in Arlington, Texas. The group’s break came with a win in 2011 on the NBC reality show “The Sing-Off”.

22 Sailor’s shout : AHOY, MATE!

“Ahoy!” is a nautical term used to signal a vessel. When the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, he suggested that “ahoy” be used as a standard greeting when answering a call. However, Thomas Edison came up with “hello”, and we’ve been using that ever since.

23 Strict disciplinarian : MARTINET

A martinet is someone who is a hard taskmaster and someone who sticks to the rules. Our use of the term is said to come from Jean Martinet, an Inspector General in the army of Louis XIV of France. Martinet was a noted drill master and disciplinarian.

25 __-Frank: 2010 financial reform bill : DODD

The Dodd-Frank Act became law in 2010 and was a response to the Great Recession during the late 2000s. Sponsored by Senator Chris Dodd and by Representative Barney Frank, the act tightened financial regulations in an attempt to prevent a recurrence of the 2007-2010 financial crisis.

26 Singer Brickell : EDIE

Edie Brickell is a singer-songwriter from Dallas, Texas. Brickell has been married to fellow singer Paul Simon since 1991.

27 Natural-born quillers? : PORCUPINES

Porcupines are rodents with coats of sharp quills that afford protection against predators. The name “porcupine” comes from the Latin “porcus” meaning “pig”, and “spina” meaning “spine”.

28 Like Nash poetry : PUNNY

Ogden Nash was a poet from Rye, New York who is remembered for his light and quirky verse. Nash had over 500 such works published between 1931 and 1972.

30 Brewery in Golden, Colorado : COORS

Adolph Coors founded the Coors brewing company in 1873, in Golden, Colorado. Coors was originally from the Rhine Province in Prussia, and worked in various brewers around what is today Germany before immigrating to the US in 1868. Despite all of his success as a brewer here in America, Coors ended up taking his own life in 1929, by jumping to his death out of a hotel window.

The Colorado city of Golden was founded in 1859 as a mining camp with the name Golden City. Despite the mining connection to “gold”, the camp was named for miner Thomas L. Golden.

31 Short court plea : NOLO

“Nolo contendere” (sometimes shortened to “nolo”) is a legal term that translates from Latin as “I do not wish to contend”. It’s the plea of no contest, and is an alternative to guilty and not guilty, meaning that one doesn’t admit guilt but nor does one dispute the charge.

37 One of Kenya’s official languages : SWAHILI

Swahili is one of the many Bantu languages spoken in Africa. There are hundreds of Bantu languages, with most being spoken in central, east and southern Africa. The most commonly spoken Bantu language is Swahili, with Zulu coming in second.

Kenya lies on the east coast of Africa, right on the equator. The country takes her name from Mount Kenya, the second-highest peak on the continent (after Kilimanjaro). The official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili.

40 The Dresden Green and The Graff Pink : JEWELS

The Dresden Green is a natural green diamond that is on display in Dresden Castle in Germany. Jewelry worth over a billion dollars was stolen from the Green Vault in the castle in a 2019 heist. The pieces have not been recovered. Fortunately, the Dresden Green was on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York at the time, and so escaped the clutches of the thieves..

The Graff Pink is a diamond set in a ring that sold for auction in 2010 for $46 million, making it the most expensive single jewel sold at auction up to that time. The purchaser was Laurence Graff, founder of Graff Diamonds, hence the gem’s name.

47 Space bear : URSA

The constellation Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called “the Big Dipper” because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, “the Plough”.

Ursa Minor (Latin for “Smaller Bear”) sits right beside the constellation Draco (Latin for “Dragon”). Ursa Minor used to be considered the wing of Draco, and was once called “Dragon’s Wing”. The tail of the “Smaller Bear” might also be considered as the handle of a ladle, and so the constellation is often referred to as the Little Dipper.

51 “Funky Cold Medina” rapper Tone __ : LOC

Tone Lōc (sometimes “Tone-Lōc”) is the stage name of rapper Anthony Smith. He was somewhat of a pioneer in the world of rap as he was only the second ever act to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s album charts (after the Beastie Boys), doing so in 1989 with “Lōc-ed After Dark”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Early finisher’s luxury : TIME TO SPARE
12 Word heard before a hike : HUT
15 Paper Mate introduced one in 1979 : ERASABLE PEN
16 Hearth debris : ASH
17 Mock question of literacy : CAN’T YOU READ?
18 Poe’s __ Morgue : RUE
19 Casual greeting : HEY
20 Struggle with one’s sins? : LISP
21 Vicuña cousins : LLAMAS
23 __ pit : MOSH
24 Trap : PIEHOLE
25 Set out : DEPART
28 Relay : PASS ON
29 Some memory triggers : ODORS
30 Polite gesture from Alice : CURTSYING
33 Malicious gossip : DIRT
34 Actions to avoid : DON’TS
35 “The Hound of the Baskervilles” setting : MOOR
36 Trial results : DECISIONS
38 “Nobody Listens to __ Poundstone”: comedy podcast : PAULA
39 Not on the ball : UNWARY
40 Spacely Space Sprockets employee : JETSON
41 Some pending cases : APPEALS
43 French bean? : TETE
44 Twist in pain : WRITHE
45 Play the sycophant to, with “over” : FAWN …
46 Ms. Pac-Man ghost : SUE
49 Hedonist’s goal : FUN
50 Boss’s unsettling request : I’D LIKE A WORD
53 A, to Amélie : UNE
54 Barcelona star : LIONEL MESSI
55 “__ Miz” : LES
56 Thurible go-with : INCENSE BOAT

Down

1 Modern fixer : TECH
2 Hymn singer’s wrath? : IRAE
3 Loads : MANY
4 Part of i.e. : EST
5 Musical family including James and Livingston : TAYLORS
6 One behind a violist, maybe : OBOIST
7 Wintry nuisance : SLUSH
8 BOLO target : PERP
9 Clint’s Clyde, in a 1978 movie : APE
10 Dreamers’ opposites : REALISTS
11 Circular, in a way : ENDLESS
12 Like Pentatonix numbers : HARMONIOUS
13 Expected : USUAL
14 What we have here : THESE
22 Sailor’s shout : AHOY, MATE!
23 Strict disciplinarian : MARTINET
24 Play things : PARTS
25 __-Frank: 2010 financial reform bill : DODD
26 Singer Brickell : EDIE
27 Natural-born quillers? : PORCUPINES
28 Like Nash poetry : PUNNY
30 Brewery in Golden, Colorado : COORS
31 Short court plea : NOLO
32 Pop’s ma : GRAN
34 Focused : DIALED IN
37 One of Kenya’s official languages : SWAHILI
38 Honey or sugar : PET NAME
40 The Dresden Green and The Graff Pink : JEWELS
41 Not good at all : AWFUL
42 Cut back : PRUNE
43 Occupied : TAKEN
45 Okay : FINE
46 Just okay : SO-SO
47 Space bear : URSA
48 Change the narrative? : EDIT
51 “Funky Cold Medina” rapper Tone __ : LOC
52 Pathological liar’s creation : WEB

35 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 18 Jul 20, Saturday”

      1. Truth be told, I really don’t care either way in any event. But when he gets an abscessed tooth that’s hurting him enough to not be able to solidly concentrate while he’s doing a puzzle (oddly enough for me, this is the only one I got done), we can compare.

  1. No errors, but had a difficult time with the SE corner, not knowing what a thurible was and only the vaguest idea of the soccer star (and only his last name).

  2. LAT: About 20 minutes with only one careless error. Did a lot of correct guessing, but the clues weren’t especially difficult.

  3. 13:26, no errors. I had LOTS before MANY, SLEET before SLUSH, HARMONIZED before HARMONIOUS, RATHOLE before PIE HOLE, and NONOS before DONTS, so … a few more write-overs than usual … and then, I did Newsday’s “Stumper“, with no write-overs … so you just never know how a given puzzle is going to flow (and the Stumper took me 26:17, so I was taking my time with it).

    @John Daigle … I will send you an email update about the golf ball issue later today.

  4. No errors today. I knew what a thurible was but had never heard
    of the term incense boat. But the down clues give me the right
    answer. I did a few lucky guesses, also. Piehole was a question until I figured “trap” was a slang expression for “mouth” as in “shut your
    trap.”

  5. Bill,
    5D : Explanation in my paper says that James Taylor’s first hit was in 1070. Clearly a typo.

    My paper came one day this week missing the section containing the crossword. I was completely out of sorts until the replacement arrived. Amazing how we develop habits!

    Keep up the wonderful blog. You perform a real service as well as being quite entertaining

    1. I don’t know, Kenneth Mick … James Taylor has been around a long time 🙂 Thanks for catching the typo. All fixed now.

  6. I’m usually not a fan of themeless puzzles but there were some really good clues in this one…. like natural born quillers….. barcelona star….. and spacely space sprockets employee. I had to look up what thurible was…. (I learned a new word) but overall an enjoyable puzzle.

  7. Well I had some hard brain squeezers with this puzzle. Had different endings on afew and acouple l had no clue. Thurible, & incense boat, didn’t know that at all or the Barcelona star. So l had to struggle alot. But the rest was okay, fine, soso.

  8. The Messi answer helped a lot. Used to know nothing about soccer/futbol until my daughter started playing (and became quite good). Now… I know a lot more, but still just a little. Kinda like crossword puzzles: had no idea 5 years ago when I started doing them, now I’m decent, but nowhere near as skilled as many of you regular contributors (20-ish minutes today). Seems that Nash is the perfect poet to appear in a puzzle with many punny clues.
    Be well. Thanks, Bill

  9. 14:26 no errors. A lot of my first guesses were wrong, gotta respect that.
    I felt pleased by CANTYOUREAD. MARTINET is an interesting word. And I learned what a thurible is.

  10. Kudos to constructor Jim Peredo for a fine, sufficiently challenging Saturday puzzle whose minimal use of PPPs — products, places, names and other proper nouns — is sure refreshing. I counted fewer than 15 (under half the average number of PPPs) in today’s puzzle! Mr. Peredo, I salute you for mining most of your answers from the dictionary and our vernacular, as opposed to People magazine, a World Atlas, or old TV Guides. Yours is a crossWORD puzzle, not a pop-culture quiz or geography text. Well done!

    1. I’ll third the applause for the foregoing of People, TV Guide, etc. – this was a really awesome puzzle. 🙂

  11. Good amount of time spent mulling over the NW corner. Finally got it worked out and the grid was done. Bill’s solve time, as it usually does, astounds me.

    The WSJ 21 X 21 comes later this afternoon.

  12. Just found your site
    It’s great!!!
    Fantastic having some fascinating background on some of the clues.
    Thanks!

  13. Probably under two hours, but not by much. Two completed Saturday’s in a row! “Struggle with one’s sins”/Lisp was very clever. Thurible/Incence boat was in the tall weeds. Fun!

  14. 30:36 no errors…each day I become more and more convinced that I know about 10% of the English language and way less of French German Hebrew etc. Every day except most Mondays and Tuesdays I see another “never heard of”
    Again hats off to you guys and gals that whiz through these mazes.
    Stay safe

  15. 19 mins 39 sec, no errors. Although my time is nothing to stick my chest out about, it does mark the end of the rare PERFECT WEEK, with all 7 puzzles completed without error. Always glad to have one of those. There were several times during this puzzle where I thought this grid would deny me the feather in my cap!!!

    1. Think you’re joking but if not the answer is pronounced erase-able pen

      Anyway, I agree with others, fun puzzle done in a good time (for me! 20:48). I was helped out a bit in that my original answer for “struggle with one’s sins?” was LASP – close enough to LISP that was able to fill in surroundings without a problem

  16. I agree with Anonymous. This was a good puzzle without many PPP’s. I finished without errors, but I did use my eraser a few times, i.e. PITFALL instead of PIEHOLE at first, while also mis-reading some clues, thinking Pentatonix was a camera (Pentax), and trying to figure out what a “Modern fixer” was (instead of “Modem”). I gather that MS. Pac-Man’s name is SUE? Who is Mr. Pac-Man?

  17. OMG , Didn’t anyone start out with ANDRE AGASSI for 54A.. Even if he isn’t from Spain. It just fit so well, it had to be it! I knew it!! Then when nothing worked going west , my heart sank. Had to work backwards from the top to prove I was wrong,., all of a sudden LIONEL MASSI name appeared., INCENSE GOAT and that left me with WAG for 52D. Perfect!!! …. Turns out it’s MESSI, WEB and it’s a BOAT..

    Little over an hour., I enjoyed it..

    1. @Susan … The clue was “Play things” rather than “Playthings”. That little space makes all the difference. (See Chris C’s remark, below.)

  18. Nice enjoyable Saturday for me; took 34:04 before I got the banner, and without peeking. I agree with the others applauding the lack of PPPs, although geography I can live with. (preposition alert)

    Had to change nONoS to DONTS, FAuN(sigh) to FAWN and gEorge to JETSON. I thought Messi was too obvious and started to go with Luis Suarez or Arturo Vidal or maybe Gerard Pique (Shakira’s husband), but they didn’t fit one way or another. Who knew that Ms Pac-Man ghosts had names: Blinky (red), Pinky (pink), Inky (cyan) and Sue (orange)?

    @Carrie – Thanks for the best wishes, and yes, I’m looking forward to this being over with. I’d like to get together for Mojitos again. Take care.

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