LA Times Crossword 10 Oct 20, Saturday

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Constructed by: Jamey Smith
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 12m 26s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 What the eyes may have? : LASIK

LASIK surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye to improve vision. The LASIK acronym stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”.

15 Smog ingredient : OZONE

Ozone gets its name from the Greek word “ozein” meaning “to smell”. It was given this name as ozone’s formation during lightning storms was detected by the gas’s distinctive smell. Famously, there is a relatively high concentration of the gas in the “ozone layer” in the Earth’s stratosphere. This ozone layer provides a vital function for animal life on the planet as it absorbs most of the sun’s UV radiation. A molecule of ozone is made up of three oxygen atoms (O3), whereas a “normal” oxygen (O2) has just two atoms.

“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s. Several cities around the world have a reputation of being particularly smoggy. For example, the most smog-plagued city in Latin America is Mexico City, which is located in a highland “bowl” that traps industrial and vehicle pollution.

21 “__ & the Women”: 2000 Altman film : DR T

The 2000 movie “Dr. T & the Women” is a pretty good film, and stars Richard Gere in the title role. It’s a romantic comedy about a gynecologist, and the women in his private and public life. The list of actresses playing those women is impressive, and includes Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett, Laura Dern, Shelley Long, Kate Hudson and Liv Tyler.

Film director Robert Altman seemed to have more than his fair share of career ups and downs. He was nominated for the Best Director Oscar five times, but never won. However, he was given an Academy Honorary Award in 2006. He made some great movies, including “MASH” (1970) and “Gosford Park” (2001), but also had some real flops. He directed the terrible film “Popeye” (1980), which was apparently beset by a cast and crew, including Altman himself, that were prone to drug and alcohol abuse.

22 Rihanna hit that samples “Tainted Love” : SOS

Singer Rihanna was born and grew up on the island of Barbados and moved to the US when she was 16-years-old to pursue a singing career. “Rihanna” is her stage name, as she was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty. The name “Rihanna” is derived from the Welsh name “Rhiannon”. And, Rihanna sometimes goes by the nickname “RiRi”, which is also the name of her line of beauty products.

23 Morse bit : DAH

Samuel Morse came up with the forerunner to modern Morse code for use on the electric telegraph, of which he was the co-inventor. Morse code uses a series of dots and dashes to represent letters and numbers. The most common letters are assigned the simplest code elements e.g. E is represented by one dot, and T is represented by one dash. When words are spelled aloud in Morse code, a dot is pronounced as “dit”, and a dash is pronounced as “dah”.

24 Yorkshire __, landmark London pub named for a slang word for strong ale : STINGO

“Stingo” is a slang term for strong ale that is sometimes used in Britain, especially in Yorkshire in the north of England. There was even a pub just outside central London that used the name “Yorkshire Stingo”.

27 Maker of the Levante SUV : MASERATI

Maserati is a manufacturer of luxury cars in Italy. The company was founded in Bologna in 1914 by five brothers: Alfieri, Bindo, Carlo, Ettore and Ernesto Maserati. The company uses a trident logo that is based on the trident depicted in the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza Maggiore in Bologna.

35 Classic theater name : ROXY

The original Roxy Theater opened in 1927 in New York City, and was designed to be the biggest and best “motion picture palace” of the day. The first theater operator was Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel, someone who had a lot of experience in the industry. As part of the deal to entice Rothafel to take the job, the owners offered to name the theater after him.

37 “Chinatown” screenwriter Robert : TOWNE

Screenwriter Robert Towne has supplied screenplays to an impressive list of movies, including Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown”, for which he won an Academy Award. He also wrote the screenplays for “Shampoo” and the first two “Mission Impossible” films.

1974’s “Chinatown” is a Roman Polanski film starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. Nicholson also stars in a 1990 sequel to “Chinatown” called “The Two Jakes”. The sequel never made it as big as the original.

38 Polar opposites? : ICE CAPS

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.

40 Painter’s option : OIL BASE

Alkyd paints are also known as “oil-based” paints. They are an alternative to “latex-based” paints.

42 Doofus : MORON

The unsavory term “moron” was formerly used by the medical community to describe someone with a degree of mental retardation. The term comes from the Greek “moros” meaning “foolish, dull”. Back in the early 1900s, IQ tests were used to classify those suffering from mental retardation into categories:

  • “idiot” … IQ of 0-20
  • “imbecile” … IQ of 21-50
  • “moron” …IQ of 51-70

“Doofus” (also “dufus”) is student slang that has been around since the sixties. Apparently the word is a variant of the equally unattractive term “doo-doo”.

45 J.Lo’s fiancé : A-ROD

Professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez earned more nicknames than just “A-Rod”. He has been called “the Cooler” by some players as there was a perception that teams went cold when he joined them and hot when he left. He has also been called “A-Fraud” by teammates because of another perception, that he is over-demanding. Rodriguez was in a world of hurt not so long ago, for using illegal performance-enhancing drugs. He retired from baseball in 2016.

“J.Lo” is the nickname of singer and actress Jennifer Lopez. “J.Lo” is also the title of her second studio album that was released in 2001.

50 Busy sweet spot? : APIARY

An apiary is an area where bees are kept, apiculture is beekeeping, and an apiphobe has a fear of bees. The Latin word for “bee” is “apis”.

52 Midge __, co-organizer of the Live Aid benefit concert : URE

Midge Ure is a musician from Scotland who has worked with a number of famous bands and was the lead singer for Ultravox. He was the lesser-known name (along with Bob Geldof) behind the incredible Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8 concerts, and he co-wrote the hit charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

Live Aid was a concert held in 1985 to raise funds for famine victims in Ethiopia. It was held simultaneously in London and Philadelphia, and was organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. Almost 2 billion people watched the live broadcast.

53 Nanny __ : CAM

From what I’ve read, it is legal to record video with a hidden camera, at least to monitor the behavior of a caregiver in your home. Apparently there is also a law that prohibits the recording of audio. So, “nanny cams” are sold without audio capability. But (disclaimer) that’s just what I read, so don’t take my word for it!

55 Fútbol announcer’s shout : GOL!

In Spanish, a “fútbol” (football) announcer might shout “gol!” (goal!).

56 Powerless sort : EUNUCH

The word “eunuch” comes from the Greek words “eune” meaning “bed” and “ekhein” meaning “to keep”, so literally, a eunuch is a bed-keeper. Indeed, in many early cultures a eunuch was a slave who had been castrated at an early age to render him “safe”, and who was then given lowly domestic tasks such as making the master’s bed, bathing him etc.

64 LAN administrator : IT PRO

Local area network (LAN)

65 Coffee-making portmanteau : NESPRESSO

A Nespresso machine brews espresso from single-use capsules of ground coffee. The machine was invented by a Nestlé employee in Switzerland in 1976. “Nespresso” is a portmanteau of “Nestlé” and “espresso”. I’m a big fan, and am drinking a cup of decaf from mine right now …

66 Flag : DROOP

Our verb “to flag” meaning “to tire” was originally used in the sense of something flapping about lazily in the wind. From this it came to mean “to go limp, droop”, and then “to tire”.

67 Flier with means : JET SETTER

The jet set comprises wealthy individuals who frequent the fashionable resorts around the world. The term “jet set” was coined in 1951, and actually predated (slightly) the introduction of jet planes for commuter flights.

Down

1 TV drama about the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 : LOST

In the TV show “Lost”, the plane that crashed was operated by Oceanic Airlines. The fictional airline Oceanic Airlines or Oceanic Airways turns up a lot on the big and small screen. Try to spot Oceanic in the movies “Executive Decision” and “For Love of the Game”, and in episodes of the TV shows “Castle”, “Chuck”, “Flipper”, “The Goldbergs” and “The X-Files”.

2 Couleur de la Méditerranée : AZUR

In French, “azur” is a shade of “bleu” (blue).

3 Cream __ : SODA

Cream soda is a carbonated soft drink that is flavored with vanilla. There is a suggestion that the name “cream soda” was chosen as the taste is reminiscent of an ice cream soda. I’m not so sure …

4 Skinny : INSIDE SCOOP

The use of the word “skinny”, meaning “information”, comes from WWII military slang for “the truth”. The term is probably a derivative of the expression “the naked truth”, which is evocative of “skinny-dipping”.

5 Hybrid instrument played by Prince and Lady Gaga : KEYTAR

A keytar is a lightweight musical keyboard that is worn around the neck with a strap like a guitar. “Keytar” is a slang term and is a portmanteau of “keyboard” and “guitar”. The instruments are more properly called “strap-on keyboards” or something similar.

The singer Prince was born in Minneapolis, and he lived there most of his life. Born Prince Rogers Nelson, his given name honored his father, a jazz musician who used the stage name Prince Rogers. Prince died in 2016 due to an accidental fentanyl overdose at his home and recording studio located just southwest of Minneapolis. The home and studio, known as Paisley Park, is now a museum that is open to the public.

“Lady Gaga” is the stage name of Stefani Germanotta. Germanotta is a big fan of the band Queen, and she took her stage name from the marvelous Queen song titled “Radio Ga Ga”.

6 It can precede Fridays : TGI …

T.G.I. Fridays is an American restaurant chain that was founded in 1965 in New York City. Today there are over a thousand T.G.I. Fridays restaurants in over 50 countries. I think that Fridays has always been particularly successful overseas. I used to visit one a lot with my family when we lived in the Philippines, and I believe the most successful Fridays restaurant anywhere in the world is the one in Haymarket Leicester Square in London in the UK.

7 Pair of threes, in craps : HARD SIX

If one considers earlier versions of craps, then the game has been around for a very long time and probably dates back to the Crusades. It may have been derived from an old English game called “hazard” also played with two dice, which was mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” from the 1300s. The American version of the game came here courtesy of the French and first set root in New Orleans where it was given the name “crapaud”, a French word meaning “toad”.

8 First female athlete to host Saturday Night Live : EVERT

Chris Evert is a former professional tennis player from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She has the best winning percentage in professional tennis, man or woman worldwide, losing less than 10% of all her matches. Evert was also the first female athlete to host “Saturday Night Live”, doing so in 1994 just after she had retired from professional tennis.

10 Spidey foe Doc __ : OCK

Otto Octavius is a supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe. Also known as Doctor Octopus or Doc Ock, Octavius is primarily a foe of Spider-Man.

11 Density symbol borrowed from the Greek alphabet : RHO

Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter “p”, although it is equivalent to the Roman letter R.

12 Online holdup? : RANSOMWARE

Ransomware is a piece of software used to extort money from computer users ranging from individuals to complete enterprises. The ransomware usually encrypts the victim’s data, and presents a message demanding a payment in exchange for the key needed to decrypt the data. One famous example is the WannaCry ransomware attack that was launched in May of 2017. Almost a quarter of a million computers were affected in over 150 countries. Actual ransom payments made by victims (to bitcoin accounts) amounted to over $130,000. The attackers have never been brought to justice.

13 Tibia, per esempio : OSSO

The tibia is the shin bone, and is the larger of the two bones right below the knee. It is the strongest weight-bearing bone in the human body. “Tibia” is the Roman name for a Greek flute and it is thought that the shin bone was given the same name because flutes were often fashioned out of the shin bones of animals.

In Italian, the tibia, “per esempio” (for example) is an “osso” (bone).

14 Old Royale 8’s : REOS

The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom Eli Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan. Among the company’s most famous models were the REO Royale 8 and the REO Flying Cloud.

25 “N,” in many assn. names : NATL

National (natl.)

26 U.S. Customs service that expedites traveler clearance : GLOBAL ENTRY

Global Entry is a program managed by the US Customs and Border Protection Service that allows speedy entry into the US for certain passengers. Those passengers have been pre-screened and pre-approved as low-risk individuals.

28 Part of a U.S. military full-dress uniform : ASCOT

An ascot is a wide tie that narrows at the neck, which these days is only really worn at weddings or part of a dress uniform. The tie takes its name from the Royal Ascot horse race at which punters still turn up in formal wear at Ascot Racecourse in England.

29 Sprite rival : SIERRA MIST

Sierra Mist was a brand of lemon-lime soft drink introduced by PepsiCo in 1999. The drink’s name was changed to Mist Twist in 2016.

Sprite is Coca-Cola’s answer to the very successful soft drink 7UP. Sprite was introduced in 1961, and Coca-Cola used its muscle to topple 7UP from its dominant position in the market. Sprite has been the number-one selling lemon soda since 1978.

30 Peter with the debut solo album “Legalize It” : TOSH

Peter Tosh was a musician from Jamaica, a member of the Wailers reggae band. Sadly, Tosh was murdered in a home invasion and extortion attempt in 1987.

32 Belgian painter James : ENSOR

James Ensor was a Belgian painter who was active in the first half of the twentieth century. He lived in Ostend for almost all of his life. In fact, Ensor only made three brief trips abroad, to Paris, London and Holland.

33 Bassoons, e.g. : REEDS

Our modern bassoon first appeared in the 1800s and has had a place in the concert orchestra ever since.

39 “The King __” : AND I

“The King and I” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on a book by Margaret Landon called “Anna and the King of Siam” first published in 1944. Landon’s book is based on a true story, told in the memoirs of Anna Leonowens. Leonowens was the governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s, and she also taught the king’s wives.

44 Digestive enzyme : AMYLASE

The names of enzymes usually include the suffix “-ase”. Enzymes are basically catalysts, chemicals that act to increase the rate of a particular chemical reaction. For example, starches will break down into sugars over time, especially under the right conditions. However, in the presence of the enzyme amylase (found in saliva) this production of sugar happens very, very quickly.

49 Ancient Celtic priests : DRUIDS

Druids were priests of Celtic Europe during the Iron Age.

53 As well as, e.g. Abbr. : CONJ

Conjunction (conj.)

54 Out of the wind : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather.

58 Marsh critter : CROC

Crocodiles and alligators do indeed bear a resemblance to each other, although they belong to distinct biological families. One of the main ways used to distinguish them is by their teeth and jaws. Both the upper and lower sets of teeth of a crocodile are visible when its mouth is closed, whereas only the upper teeth of an alligator are visible with the mouth shut.

62 “We must away, __ break of day … “: Tolkien : ERE

“Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold” is a song sung by Thorin II and colleagues in “The Hobbit” by J. R. R. Tolkien. The first verse is:

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 What the eyes may have? : LASIK
6 “Nooo! Anything but that!” : THE HORROR!
15 Smog ingredient : OZONE
16 Pursued : GAVE CHASE
17 In a lather : SUDSY
18 “It does seem likely” : I RECKON SO
19 Properties : TRAITS
21 “__ & the Women”: 2000 Altman film : DR T
22 Rihanna hit that samples “Tainted Love” : SOS
23 Morse bit : DAH
24 Yorkshire __, landmark London pub named for a slang word for strong ale : STINGO
27 Maker of the Levante SUV : MASERATI
31 Not so jumpy : CALMER
34 Retail warning : AS IS
35 Classic theater name : ROXY
37 “Chinatown” screenwriter Robert : TOWNE
38 Polar opposites? : ICE CAPS
40 Painter’s option : OIL BASE
42 Doofus : MORON
43 “I don’t see the __” : HARM
45 J.Lo’s fiancé : A-ROD
46 Moved purposefully : STRODE
48 Buttinskies : MEDDLERS
50 Busy sweet spot? : APIARY
52 Midge __, co-organizer of the Live Aid benefit concert : URE
53 Nanny __ : CAM
55 Fútbol announcer’s shout : GOL!
56 Powerless sort : EUNUCH
60 Meat- or wheat-based deli order : OLIVE LOAF
64 LAN administrator : IT PRO
65 Coffee-making portmanteau : NESPRESSO
66 Flag : DROOP
67 Flier with means : JET SETTER
68 Matches exactly : SYNCS

Down

1 TV drama about the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 : LOST
2 Couleur de la Méditerranée : AZUR
3 Cream __ : SODA
4 Skinny : INSIDE SCOOP
5 Hybrid instrument played by Prince and Lady Gaga : KEYTAR
6 It can precede Fridays : TGI …
7 Pair of threes, in craps : HARD SIX
8 First female athlete to host Saturday Night Live : EVERT
9 Busy and then some : HECTIC
10 Spidey foe Doc __ : OCK
11 Density symbol borrowed from the Greek alphabet : RHO
12 Online holdup? : RANSOMWARE
13 Tibia, per esempio : OSSO
14 Old Royale 8’s : REOS
20 On the dot : SHARP
25 “N,” in many assn. names : NATL
26 U.S. Customs service that expedites traveler clearance : GLOBAL ENTRY
27 Incapacitates : MAIMS
28 Part of a U.S. military full-dress uniform : ASCOT
29 Sprite rival : SIERRA MIST
30 Peter with the debut solo album “Legalize It” : TOSH
32 Belgian painter James : ENSOR
33 Bassoons, e.g. : REEDS
36 Yesteryear : YORE
39 “The King __” : AND I
41 “It’s my time” : I’M DUE
44 Digestive enzyme : AMYLASE
47 Baby on a cliff : EAGLET
49 Ancient Celtic priests : DRUIDS
51 Place to rule : ROOST
53 As well as, e.g. Abbr. : CONJ
54 Out of the wind : ALEE
57 Briefed about : UPON
58 Marsh critter : CROC
59 Quick flights : HOPS
61 Some suits, briefly : VPS
62 “We must away, __ break of day … “: Tolkien : ERE
63 On the side of : FOR

24 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 10 Oct 20, Saturday”

  1. Not really enjoyable today. Never had so many lookups, even on a Saturday,
    No errors at the end, but mostly thanks to Google.

    1. Too many english words , abbreviations, foreign words I didn’t know.. I was hoping for crosses to fill in.. Just couldn’t do it.. I usually circle an area that I’m hung up on and come back to… My paper looks like it should be an answer key.. Anyone remember the old answer let’s where you take the answer paper and overlay it on the person’s test sheet?? Then the teacher would circle all the wrong answers?? Well I have all the wrong answer key!!

    1. Too much I didn’t know in the top of that grid so DNF. But it was a good outing for him. 72 mins, 1 error on the Newsday if you were curious about that.

      In other news, been going through the oldest Fireball books I got lately. I’ll definitely say they got easier as they got newer. For sure. They’ve definitely been interesting.

      1. @Glenn …

        My initial impulse was to leave the Croce puzzle undone (given that I have found many of his “specialty” puzzles rather time-consuming), but it was sitting there, and I wondered exactly what he meant by “unchecked squares, going clockwise”, and … before I knew it, I got sucked in, and quickly discovered that it was not all that different from his usual rectangular puzzles. I liked the fact that, although I had to guess at various answers, all of them were very logical guesses: for example, given the clue “Michael ___ Palin (Atlanta emo band” (a group completely unknown to me), I could still intuit pretty easily what a punster might come up with for that four-letter blank. (Come to think of it, I think that may be one of the things I like about his cluing, in general.) I finished with no errors (in about 50 minutes, I think, but I forgot to record my starting time, so … ).

        My solve of the Newsday “Stumper” was decidedly odd. It took me 34:09, with no errors, but I would like to have a graph of the sort I mentioned a few weeks ago, showing progress versus time. I would guess that the top half was completely filled in at about the 12-minute mark and the bottom half was filled in during the final 12 minutes; the 10-minute segment in between was a plateau, occupied solely by staring and head-scratching.

        I think my subconscious is finally accepting that I’m staying in this new place, as a consequence of which I’ve begun to unpack some of the boxes in the basement. In the process, I came across all those old Fireball books I acquired just before the move and, with winter approaching, it’s possible that I’ll get back into doing some of the puzzles in them. We’ll see … 😜.

        1. I usually get kind of a quick idea of progress vs. time while I’m doing most things that take me that kind of time. The Newsday was easy in that regard. Most of it went pretty quickly except the upper right and then stared at it for about 30-40 minutes before I had one of those “how could you be so stupid?” moments (between HAREM PANTS and TEAM EUROPE) and finished it out. The overall time should have been closer to yours except for that. (Error was EIRE for LIRE. Seemed reasonable.)

          As for the Fireball books, I ended up getting all of them and two away from completing them all (on “Sizzlingly Hard” right now, but think of them more in years since I subscribed and have the rest cataloged like that). Still keeping track of how I do on all of them and have all that saved. Most of them from 2012 and earlier kind of just “clunk” on progress vs. time but I finish most of them in about the same time or longer that I tend to finish Croce and Newsday. I definitely do think they got easier in 2013 and again in 2018.

  2. LAT: A little over an hour to complete with one minor letter error. Didn’t think I’d be able to do it at all, as there were very few “gimmies,” at least for me. Had trouble in upper left corner because I entered “bleu” for the Mediterranean color instead of “azur.” Took a long time to correct that. Hardest puzzle in quite a while, but I enjoyed it.

  3. 24:04 1 error, 2 lookups

    Alternated between “oh this is tough” and “I got one, and this and this and this” and “nope, still tough.” A fine challenge.

    Today I learned about James Ensor.

  4. 44:27 no errors…this is my first and only error free puzzle of the day.
    Either I’m getting older or the puzzles are getting harder or both.
    Stay safe😀
    Go Ravens

  5. Very, very hard puzzle for me. Even when I got Dr. Google’s help. I found the puzzles yesterday and Thursday extremely easy, so maybe the constructor just put all the hard stuff in today’s?

    This was my first DNF in a long time.

  6. 16 minutes, 34 seconds, no errors. Good, stiff Saturday challenge. Mid-solve, I’m thinking, “This is a DNS for sure”, but after filling in what I could that came to mind, some of the crosses began to take shape for me.

  7. My first DNF in a long, long time. Nothing particularly clever or interesting about this puzzle—just very obscure trivia, and if ya don’t know it, ya don’t know it.

  8. Ready to give up a few times, but stuck with it—and finished (about 40 minutes?) without any look-ups or errors. 😁

  9. The scary part was that apparently I knew who J.Lo’s fiance is. Sigh. I’d rather not reinforce those particular neural pathways.

  10. Pretty tough Saturday for me; took 58 minutes on paper with 1 error. Slowly got the E, SE, SW, W, NW and then got stuck on the NE for a looong time. Finally unscrambled it after another 15 minutes and was left with two squares to fill in the E and SW. I got the N in TOWNE right but couldn’t figure out COlJ/lESPRESSO.

    Considering that I didn’t know OCK, TOWNE, ENSOR, STINGO, AMYLASE NESPRESSO, URE, SIERRAMIST and SOS, I was just relieved that I could suss it out to the extent that I did, without help.

    Nice, very tough challenge.

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