LA Times Crossword 5 Sep 20, Saturday

Advertisement

Constructed by: Greg Johnson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 9m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Common Creamsicle float ingredient : ORANGE SODA

A creamsicle is a popsicle with vanilla ice cream in the middle.

16 Bausch + Lomb brand : RENU

ReNu is a brand name of contact lens products sold by Bausch & Lomb.

17 Light rail predecessors : STREETCARS

A tram is a means of public transportation that runs on rails laid along the length of streets in cities and towns. Trams might also be referred to as trolleys or streetcars.

20 French meat stew : POT-AU-FEU

Pot-au-feu is a French stew made with beef and is similar to many stews made around the world, containing cheap cuts of meat with mainly root vegetables and spices. The name “pot-au-feu” means “pot on the fire”, and used to apply to a pot that was kept on the fire during cold weather, with ingredients being added when they became available, and stew doled out when needed.

36 Carousel riders : BAGGAGE

Apparently, the baggage carousel was developed by a French company. The first installation was in Paris Orly Airport in the 1950s.

38 It has one team in Can. : NBA

The Raptors are the NBA basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario. The franchise was founded, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, when the NBA expanded into Canada in 1995. However, the Grizzlies moved to Memphis in 2001, leaving the Raptors as the only Canadian member of the league. The selection of the name “Raptors” in 1995 was strongly influenced by the popularity of the movie “Jurassic Park in the mid-nineties.

39 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group since 2003 : AC/DC

The Heavy Metal band known as AC/DC was formed by two brothers Malcolm and Angus Young in Australia in 1973. The group is usually called “Acca Dacca” down under.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame can be visited on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was created in 1983 and started inducting artists in 1986. The Foundation didn’t get a home until the museum was dedicated in Cleveland in 1995. I had the great privilege of visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago and really enjoyed myself. The magnificent building was designed by famed architect I. M. Pei.

41 “The Nutcracker” marcher : TOY SOLDIER

Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” is one of the most popular ballets in the repertoire. It premiered in St. Petersburg in 1892, but its public appeal really only emerged in the late 1960s. It’s “must-see ballet” during the Christmas holidays.

48 __ work: menial labor : SCUT

“Scut work” is monotonous work, tasks that need to be done in order to complete a larger project. “Scut” is an informal term that describes a contemptible person.

59 “First Lady of Song” : ELLA

Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

60 Toy featured in the 2002 film “The Man Who Saved Christmas” : ERECTOR SET

Oh how I loved my Erector Set as a kid. The version we used growing up was referred to as a Meccano set, as “Meccano” was the brand name used for the toy sold as “Mechanics Made Easy”. The original Erector Set was developed by inventor Alfred Carlton Gilbert, and first produced in 1913. Back then it was sold as “The Erector/Structural Steel and Electro-Mechanical Builder”.

“The Man Who Saved Christmas” is a movie inspired by the true story of toymaker Alfred Carlton Gilbert. Gilbert had agreed to retool his factory during WWI to produce goods that supported the war effort. He became uncomfortable with the government’s urging people to forgo Christmas in order to conserve essential resources. Gilbert successfully lobbied the government to allow manufacturers to produce toys for the holiday season, earning him the moniker “The man who saved Christmas”. In the film, Gilbert is portrayed by Jason Alexander.

62 “That’s all she wrote” : END OF STORY

No one seems to be very certain of the origin of “that’s all she wrote”, meaning “there’s nothing more to be said”. One popular story is that it stems from the unfortunate “Dear John” letters that some soldiers received during WWII.

Down

3 With 54-Across, grilled Mexican dish : CARNE …
(54A See 3-Down : … ASADA)

The name of the dish called “carne asada” translates from Spanish as “roasted meat”.

4 Skateboarder’s protector : KNEE PAD

The activity of skateboarding emerged in California in the fifties. Enthusiasts made their own boards, by attaching roller skates to boards. Back then, skateboarding was referred to as “sidewalk surfing”.

7 Pac-12 member : USC

The University of Southern California (USC) is a private school in Los Angeles. Apart from its excellent academic record, USC is known for the success of its athletic program. USC Trojans have won more Olympic medals than the students of any other university in the world. The USC marching band is very famous as well, and is known as the “Spirit of Troy”. The band has performed with many celebrities, and is the only college band to have two platinum records.

“Pac-12” is an abbreviation for the Pacific-12 Conference, a college athletic conference in the western US. The Pac-12 has won more NCAA National Team Championships than any other conference. The Pac-12 was founded in 1915 as the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC). Over time as it grew, the conference went by the names Big Five, Big Six, Pacific-8, Pacific-10 and became the Pacific-12 in 2011.

9 Format for older computer games : CD-ROM

“CD-ROM” stands for “compact disc read only memory”. The name indicates that you can read information from the disc (like a standard music CD for example), but you cannot write to it. You can also buy a CD-RW, which stands for “compact disc – rewritable”, with which you can read data and also write over it multiple times using a suitable CD drive.

10 “And __ thou slain the Jabberwock?” : HAST

Here is a verse from “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, probably the one poem that we all just loved learning to recite at school:

And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

12 Chef Boyardee product : BEEFARONI

The Chef Boyardee brand of canned food products was named after Ettore Boiardi who introduced the product line in the twenties. Boiardi was an Italian immigrant who owned an Italian restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. He started the line of canned recipes based on the demand for samples of his dishes from satisfied customers at his restaurant.

14 “The Nutcracker” sight : TUTU

The word “tutu”, used for a ballet dancer’s skirt, is actually a somewhat “naughty” term. It came into English from French in the early 20th century. The French “tutu” is an alteration of the word “cucu”, a childish word meaning “bottom, backside”.

21 Handy communication syst.? : ASL

American Sign Language (ASL)

27 Key ring thing : FOB

A fob is attached to an object to make it easier to access. And so a key fob is a chain attached to a key so that it can be retrieved easily. There are also watch fobs, and the pocket in a vest in which a watch can be placed is called a fob. In fact, the original use of the term “fob” was for a small pocket in which one could carry valuables.

28 Valediction reminder : BE GOOD

A valediction is an act of taking one’s leave, from the Latin “vale dicere”, to say farewell. An example of a valediction would be the words “yours truly” at the end of a letter. And, the valedictorian (here in the US anyway) is the student in a graduating class that is chosen to say the final words at the graduation ceremony, a farewell to the classmates.

32 Flameless light source : LED CANDLE

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 Two-time U.S. Open champ : ELS

Ernie Els is a South African golfer. Els is a big guy but he has an easy fluid golf swing that has earned him the nickname “The Big Easy”. He is a former World No. 1 and has won four majors: the US Open (1994 & 1997) and the British Open (2002 & 2012).

40 Transparent 61-Across parts : CORNEAS
(61A They’re light-sensitive : EYES)

The cornea is the transparent part of the eye in the front, and the part that covers the iris and the pupil. Even though the cornea is not part of the eye’s lens, it acts as a lens. In fact, the cornea does most of the work focusing light coming in through the eye. It is in effect a fixed-focus lens passing on light to the variable-focus lens that is inside the eye.

42 Ending course : DESSERT

Our word “dessert” comes from the French verb “desservir” meaning “to clear the table”. The idea is that dessert is usually the last course to be cleared from the table.

44 Bad thing to leave at a crime scene : DNA

I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the DNA of living things is so very similar across different species. Human DNA is almost exactly the same for every individual (to the degree of 99.9%). However, those small differences are sufficient to distinguish one individual from another, and to determine whether or not individuals are close family relatives.

53 Barrie’s nonconformist pirate : SMEE

In J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook’s pirates and is Hook’s bosun and right-hand man. Smee is described by Barrie as being “Irish” and “a man who stabbed without offence”. Nice guy! Captain Hook and Smee sail on a pirate ship called the Jolly Roger.

54 Book after Joel : AMOS

Amos is one of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible. The Old Testament’s Book of Amos is attributed to him.

58 Fed gp. fighting certain illegal trafficking : ATF

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today is part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the ATF’s name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Have plenty of force : PACK A PUNCH
11 Hardly any : A BIT
15 Common Creamsicle float ingredient : ORANGE SODA
16 Bausch + Lomb brand : RENU
17 Light rail predecessors : STREETCARS
18 Body shop concern : DENT
19 Pitchfork features : TINES
20 French meat stew : POT AU FEU
22 Groundwater-fed puddle : SEEP
23 Dire destiny : DOOM
25 Ride the wind : SOAR
26 On the wrong side (of) : AFOUL
28 Impulsively utters, with “out” : BLURTS …
30 “I’ve got you” : HOLD ONTO ME
34 Starting course : SOUP
35 Ship’s dir. : ENE
36 Carousel riders : BAGGAGE
38 It has one team in Can. : NBA
39 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group since 2003 : AC/DC
41 “The Nutcracker” marcher : TOY SOLDIER
43 Crack, perhaps : DECODE
45 Calf-roping loop : NOOSE
46 G-rated word of annoyance : DARN
47 Give conditionally : LEND
48 __ work: menial labor : SCUT
52 Casual question after “We took pictures” : WANNA SEE?
54 See 3-Down : … ASADA
55 Prepare for a surprise, perhaps : HIDE
56 Expressed remorse, say : MADE AMENDS
59 “First Lady of Song” : ELLA
60 Toy featured in the 2002 film “The Man Who Saved Christmas” : ERECTOR SET
61 They’re light-sensitive : EYES
62 “That’s all she wrote” : END OF STORY

Down

1 Message board entries : POSTS
2 Fitting name for a gallery patron? : ARTIE
3 With 54-Across, grilled Mexican dish : CARNE …
4 Skateboarder’s protector : KNEE PAD
5 Suitability word on some games : AGES
6 Stroke : PET
7 Pac-12 member : USC
8 Words indicating lack of offense : NO APOLOGY NEEDED
9 Format for older computer games : CD-ROM
10 “And __ thou slain the Jabberwock?” : HAST
11 Difficult : ARDUOUS
12 Chef Boyardee product : BEEFARONI
13 Waterslide aid : INNER TUBE
14 “The Nutcracker” sight : TUTU
21 Handy communication syst.? : ASL
23 Campaign website option : DONATE
24 Expenditure : OUTGO
27 Key ring thing : FOB
28 Valediction reminder : BE GOOD
29 Practice in a ring : SPAR
30 Melon, facetiously : HEAD
31 Dosage instruction : ONCE DAILY
32 Flameless light source : LED CANDLE
33 Stone __ : MASON
37 Two-time U.S. Open champ : ELS
40 Transparent 61-Across parts : CORNEAS
42 Ending course : DESSERT
44 Bad thing to leave at a crime scene : DNA
47 Pick up : LEARN
49 Playground retort : CAN SO!
50 Milk container : UDDER
51 “Delish!” : TASTY!
52 Waterslide cry : WHEE!
53 Barrie’s nonconformist pirate : SMEE
54 Book after Joel : AMOS
57 Tourist opening? : ECO-
58 Fed gp. fighting certain illegal trafficking : ATF

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 5 Sep 20, Saturday”

  1. LAT: 30 minutes, no errors. A bit of trouble in the SE corner but otherwise not much difficulty. Enjoyable beginning of the day.

  2. No errors. About 25 minutes. Fairly straight forward. Never heard the reference to menial work as SCUT.
    The Chef Boyardee reference reminded me of what we did when we were kids. Mom would buy us kids a chef Boyardee pizza package for a Saturday night treat. This was before pizza places were around. We would make the dough from the chef Boyardee in a cookie sheet because there wasn’t a pizza sheet in those days. Then put in the pizza sauce and put on our toppings. Then when it was done we cut the pizza long ways and would roll our pizza slices into a log shape. Oh, we thought we were in heaven. Good simple times.

  3. No errors. Not as difficult as some Saturday puzzles, but I struggled
    with the southwest corner until I thought of “decode” for 43A and
    changed my first thought about the rock and roll group from Abba
    to ACDC.

  4. There are very few completed puzzles I find unenjoyable. This was one of them. Potaufeu? Cram that word in. Scut? Never heard of it. What I’ve noticed about these themeless Saturday puzzles, the longer answers are on the easy side but are interspersed with words that are never used. End of story!

  5. 10:01, no errors, no complaints. Good puzzle.

    I’ve heard “scut” mostly as part of the phrase “scut work”. And, my first experience with pizza was a Norwegian version improvised by my mother … good, but … not quite … pizza … 😜.

    “Saturday Stumper”, from Newsday: 1:16:41, no errors. Yesterday’s Tim Croce: 37:22, no errors. Looking at them now, all the clues (with one or two possible exceptions) make complete sense to me, but it took a lot of head-scratching to finish these two puzzles, and I have a difficult time understanding why the first took so much longer than the second. Lately, I’ve been trying to analyze objectively just what it is that makes a puzzle easy or hard (with minimal success, I’m afraid).

    1. @ Nonny
      I’m gonna take a shot at your question. What makes a puzzle hard or easy; enjoyable or not, are the clues. Is there wordplay, are they clever, are they relevant or even historical in nature? Putting in obscure words (although obviously subjective) fits none of that criteria. This is why, IMO, the LAT Sunday puzzle is by far, the best of the week and the Saturday is the weakest.

      And if anyone so desires, check out the latest WSJ puzzle. A perfectly clever, relevant, enjoyable crossword. A delight to solve.

    2. Croce: 1:37:00, no errors. Newsday still in progress because between having to package up a couple of bigger glass items for Ebay sales and a couple of other things I got too tired to finish the Newsday out.

      As for what’s hard or not (sort of referencing your NYT comments), I’ve tried that explaining that, especially what goes on with Agard’s stuff with no avail. There’s “hard interesting” and “hard tedious/ridiculous”, and there’s a very fine line. As you may have figured out, there’s much more time consuming stuff that I’m okay with. The main issue is how well written and factual the clues are in terms of communication – I’ve tried explaining that to you before, but you rejected it.

      Of course, the main question is whether a grid is fun to do or not. A lot of that relates to interesting challenge, and whether I get tired and it turns into a slog. Lately I’ve been trying to push on trying to at least be able to finish Croce and Newsday, so I do those in shifts. (Along with some pretty hard Fireball puzzles – I just started book 5 of 7, if the first puzzle in that book is any indication, I think these are going to be harder than Croce/Stumper on average) Speaking of the LAT, Fri and Sat are the most interesting to me (today’s was kind of a 3.5* effort). Sun LAT is one of those that’s usually a “that’s boring” but at least it was done mercifully quick, as opposed to a Sun NYT that always bogarts my patience. Or the Sat WSJ that very nearly did that.

      The WSJ usually has more interesting/challenging puzzles (esp Wed/Thu), but has a lot of the features that people complain about here when they show up in the LAT. It’s a good candidate if you want more challenging themed stuff – at least until they go pay on it. (Which is a rumor that gets floated routinely and was again as of Labor Day, so we’ll see.)

      At this point with everything going on in my life, I have often wondered if I need to scale back, which puzzles would go. Problem in making that decision is that a lot of the early week stuff really doesn’t take *that* much time, and the late week stuff (while *too* time consuming, is a lot more fun). So hard to know what I’d drop to eliminate the time factor and be able to keep the fun level…

    3. I will note there’s a cooperative solving app now at http://squares.io/ where you can load a puzzle and group solve something. I don’t know how useful that would be to anyone here, but that’d be a possible avenue to explore with people if you wanted to learn how they perceive puzzles…

  6. I knew the word “scut” but only as a rabbit’s tail. Did not know the
    use as in “scut work” but got the right answer because of down clues.

    1. @Mary – You and I were in total sync today. First of all I had both the same struggles you posted about above (Abba and having trouble coming up with decode). And then I was going to post about “scut” being another word for a rabbits tail. Great minds think alike! ;-D>

  7. 20:12 1 error, 1 lookup as I don’t think I’ve ever eaten any Chef Boyardee products. No, wait, I have a vague memory of gooey spaghettios that tasted sweet.

  8. Nice challenging Saturday for me; took 34 minutes on paper with no errors. Looked hard after the first pass, but slowly but surely it revealed openings.

    Had to change roSes to MASON, FOp and riceARONI. I doubted the last one, but could only think of Spaghetti-Os, until I finally remembered RENU from doing crosswords.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.