LA Times Crossword 12 Mar 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Jeff Stillman
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Rending

Themed answers are common phrases with a letter R added to the end:

  • 16A West Coast footballer on an RV vacation? : ROAMING CHARGER (“roaming charge” + R)
  • 26A San Fernando counterfeiter? : VALLEY FORGER (“Valley Forge” + R)
  • 41A Fisher who won’t take advice? : OBTUSE ANGLER (“obtuse angle” + R)
  • 52A Indecisive European? : BELGIAN WAFFLER (“Belgian waffle” + R)

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

Bill’s time: 8m 01s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Flash : JIFF

“Jiff”, or “jiffy”, meaning “short time, instant” is thought originally to be thieves’ slang for “lightning”.

13 Lake near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame : ERIE

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 some years ago and really enjoyed myself. The magnificent building was designed by famed architect I. M. Pei.

15 Bean sprout? : IDEA

The bean, the conk, the head …

16 West Coast footballer on an RV vacation? : ROAMING CHARGER (“roaming charge” + R)

The Chargers were an AFL charter team, and so the franchise was founded in 1959. The Chargers played one season in Los Angeles, before moving to San Diego in 1961, and then returning to Los Angeles in 2017.

Recreational vehicle (RV)

A cell phone user may encounter a roaming charge when roaming, when using his or her phone outside of the geographic coverage offered by the user’s cell phone provider. Basically, a partner network is providing coverage when roaming, and may impose a charge for the privilege of using the partner’s service.

19 “As Good as It Gets” Oscar winner : HUNT

Helen Hunt is a very talented actress who first came to national attention playing opposite Paul Reiser in TV’s hit sitcom “Mad About You”. Hunt then starred in some major films including “As Good as It Gets” (for which she won the Best Actress Oscar), “Twister”, “Cast Away”, “What Women Want” and more recently “The Sessions”. Offscreen, Hunt was married for a while to Hank Azaria, a favorite actor of mine.

“As Good as it Gets” is a very entertaining romantic comedy of sorts released in 1997 and starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear. Nicholson and Hunt won Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars for their performances. No other film has garnered both Best Actor and Best Actress Academy Awards since “As Good as it Gets”.

20 Deer madam : DOE

A male deer is usually called a buck, and a female is a doe. However, the male red deer is usually referred to as a stag. The males of even larger species of deer are often called bulls, and females cows. In older English, male deer of over 5 years were called harts, and females of over 3 years were called hinds. The young of small species are known as fawns, and of larger species are called calves. All very confusing …

22 “Sex Education” actor Butterfield : ASA

Asa Butterfield is a actor from London whose breakthrough came with the title role in the 2008 Holocaust movie “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”. More recently, he starred in the excellent Netflix comedy-drama series “Sex Education” alongside Gillian Anderson.

“Sex Education” is a marvelous Netflic somedy-drama show made for Netflix that stars Gillian Anderson as a single-mother and sex therapist, and Asa Butterfield as her insecure teenage son. Highly recommended …

24 Used crayons : COLORED

We use the word “crayon” for a stick of colored wax used for drawing. The term was imported in the 16th century from French, in which language it means “pencil”.

26 San Fernando counterfeiter? : VALLEY FORGER (“Valley Forge” + R)

The San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County is home to almost 2 million people, as well as some of the largest film studios, e.g. Warner Bros. and Walt Disney. Back in the 1970s, “the Valley” was also home to a multibillion-dollar pornography industry and many adult film production companies. This gave rise to some inventive nicknames, such as Porn Valley, Silcone Valley and San Pornando Valley.

The village of Valley Forge is in Pennsylvania, and about 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Famously, Valley Forge hosted George Washington’s Continental Army during the 1777-1778 winter.

29 Mystery writer’s middle name : … ALLAN …

The celebrated American writer Edgar Allan Poe (EAP) was born “Edgar Poe” in 1809 in Boston. Poe’s father abandoned Edgar and his two siblings after the death of their mother. As a result, Edgar was taken into the home of the Allan family in Richmond, Virginia. His foster parents gave the future author the name “Edgar Allan Poe”.

34 Times Square gas : NEON

The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.

Times Square in New York City isn’t a square at all, but rather a triangle. When the New York Times newspaper opened new headquarters in the area in 1904, the city agreed to the name “Times Square”, changing it from Longacre Square.

37 Property attachment : LIEN

A lien is a right that one has to retain or secure someone’s property until a debt is paid. When an individual takes out a car loan, for example, the lending bank is usually a lien holder. The bank releases the lien on the car when the loan is paid in full.

38 Minnesota senator Klobuchar : AMY

Amy Klobuchar was elected to the US Senate in 2006, and became the first elected female senator for Minnesota when she took her seat in the following January. Former Second Lady of the US Muriel Humphrey was Minnesota’s first female senator. Ms. Humphrey was appointed to serve out the balance of her husband’s term after Hubert Humphrey died.

39 Unctuous : OILY

A person described as “unctuous” is oily and insincere. “Unctum” is the Latin for “ointment”.

40 Tailor’s dummy, e.g. : TORSO

“Torso” (plural “torsi”) is an Italian word meaning the “trunk of a statue”, and is a term that we imported into English.

41 Fisher who won’t take advice? : OBTUSE ANGLER (“obtuse angle” + R)

We use the verb “to angle” to mean “to fish” because “angel” is an Old English word meaning “hook”.

In geometry, there are several classes of angles:

  • Acute (< 90 degrees) 
  • Right (= 90 degrees) 
  • Obtuse (> 90 degrees and < 180 degrees) 
  • Straight (180 degrees) 
  • Reflex (> 180 degrees)

47 Omaha Beach craft: Abbr. : LST

The initialism “LST” stands for Landing Ship, Tank. LSTs are the large vessels used mainly in WWII that have doors at either ends through which tanks and other vehicles can roll off and onto beaches. The design concept persists to this day in the huge fleet of commercial roll-on/roll-off car ferries, all inspired by the LST.

The Normandy landings on D-Day in 1944 took place along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. The worst fighting by far took place on Omaha Beach, a sector assigned to the US Army that was transported by elements of the US Navy and the Royal Navy.

49 Disney princess with red hair and a green tail : ARIEL

In the 1989 Disney animated film “The Little Mermaid”, the title character is given the name “Ariel”. In the original fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that dates back to 1836, the Little Mermaid is given no name at all. There is a famous statue of the unnamed Little Mermaid sitting in Copenhagen Harbor, in Andersen’s homeland of Denmark.

50 Prefix with center : EPI-

The epicenter is the point on the surface of the Earth that is directly above the focus of an earthquake.

51 Colony members : ANTS

Anthills are actually underground nests. The ants in the colony excavate below ground, resulting in a pile of sand or soil above ground.

52 Indecisive European? : BELGIAN WAFFLER (“Belgian waffle” + R)

You can’t get a Belgian waffle in Belgium, and the nearest thing is probably a Brussels waffle. Brussels waffles were introduced to the world in 1958, and arrived in the US in 1962 at the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle. The name “Brussels” was changed to “Bel-Gem” for the US market, which evolved into “Belgian”.

58 Big name in razors : ATRA

Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, as the first razor with a pivoting head. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

60 Shortfin shark : MAKO

The shortfin mako shark can appear on restaurant menus, and as a result the species is dying out in some parts of the world. The mako gets its own back sometimes though, as attacks on humans are not unknown. It is the fastest-swimming shark, and has been clocked at speeds of over 40 miles/hour. And the shark in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”, that’s a mako. “Mako” is the Maori word for “shark” or “shark tooth”.

Down

1 City near the Mount of Olives : JERUSALEM

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, with the oldest part of Jerusalem having been settled in the 4th millennium BCE. The city is considered holy in all three of the big Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and as a result is one of the crucial issues to be resolved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mount Olivet is a peak in a mountain ridge next to the Old City of Jerusalem that is also referred to as the Mount of Olives. In days past, the ridge was covered with groves of olive trees, hence the name. The mount is a pilgrimage site for many Christians as it is mentioned several times in the Christian New Testament with reference to Jesus and his mother Mary.

2 Steel, e.g. : IRON ALLOY

Steel is an alloy that is composed mainly of iron, with a small percentage of carbon.

3 Italian automaker since 1899 : FIAT

Fiat is the largest car manufacturer in Italy, and is headquartered in Turin in the Piedmont region in the north of the country. Fiat was founded in 1899 by Giovanni Agnelli, when the company’s name was “Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino” (FIAT). A few years ago, Fiat became the majority shareholder in Chrysler.

4 Like the yin side: Abbr. : FEM

The yin and yang can be illustrated using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

5 Xeroxed : RAN OFF

A xerox is a copy made on a xerography machine. Xerography is a dry photocopying technique that was invented in 1938 by Chester Carlson, although he originally referred to the process as electrophotography. Joseph Wilson commercialized Carlson’s process some years later, coining the term “Xerography” using the Greek words for “dry” and “writing”. Wilson changed the name of his own photographic company to Xerox.

9 Funhouse fixture : MIRROR

A funhouse often includes curved mirrors in which one can see a distorted image of oneself.

10 Mystery writer’s first name : EDGAR …

Edgar Allan Poe (EAP) lived a life of many firsts. Poe is considered to be the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He was also the first notable American author to make his living through his writing, something that didn’t really go too well for him as he was always financially strapped. In 1849 he was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious and in dire need of medical help. Poe died a few days later in hospital at 40 years of age.

11 Superman player : REEVE

Actor Christopher Reeve was most associated with his portrayal of Superman in the late seventies and early eighties. Reeve became paralyzed from the neck down when he fell from a horse in a jumping event in 1995. He published a best-selling autobiography 1999 called “Still Me), and sadly passed away in 2004.

18 Shoelace end : AGLET

An aglet is a plastic or metal sheath that is found on the end of a shoelace or perhaps a drawstring. The name “aglet” comes from the Old French word “aiguillette” meaning “needle”.

19 Caribbean metropolis : HAVANA

Havana is the capital of Cuba. The city was founded by the Spanish in the early 1500s after which it became a strategic location for Spain’s exploration and conquest of the Americas. In particular, Havana was used as a stopping-off point for treasure-laden ships on the return journey to Spain.

24 Nile threat : 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.

27 Office PC nexus : LAN

Local area network (LAN)

A nexus is a means of connection, or a center where many connections come together. “Nexus” is a Latin word meaning “that which ties or binds together”. The Latin “nexus” is the past participle of the verb “nectere” meaning “to bind”.

28 “Love Train” group, with “The” : O’JAYS

The O’Jays are an R&B group from Canton, Ohio. They came together in 1963 as a band of five singers and are still performing today, although now only as a trio. The band took the name of the O’Jays as a tribute to a radio disk jockey called Eddie O’Jay who was big in Cleveland at the time. The biggest hit for the O’Jays is “Love Train”, released in 1972.

31 O’Hare arrivals : AIRLINERS

O’Hare International was the world’s busiest airport from 1963 to 1998. The original airport was constructed on the site between 1942 and 1943, and was used by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the manufacture of planes during WWII. Before the factory and airport were built, there was a community in the area called Orchard Place, so the airport was called Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. This name is the derivation of the airport’s current location identifier: ORD (OR-chard D-ouglas). Orchard Place Airport was renamed to O’Hare International in 1949 in honor of Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare who grew up in Chicago. O’Hare was the US Navy’s first flying ace and a Medal of Honor recipient in WWII.

32 Former name of an arid-region Afro-Asian rodent : DESERT RAT

Most species of gerbil are native to arid regions, and in fact used to be called “desert rats”. They make popular household pets because they are very social and friendly by nature. As desert natives, they also have specially adapted kidneys that produce a very small amount of waste so that bodily fluids are preserved.

37 Captain’s journal : LOG

The word “logbook” dates back to the days when the captain of a ship kept a daily record of the vessel’s speed, progress etc. using a “log”. A log was a wooden float on a knotted line that was dropped overboard to measure speed through the water.

39 Marks in ancient manuscripts : OBELI

An obelisk is a rectangular column that tapers to the top and is capped by a pyramid shape. An image of an obelisk was used by the ancient Egyptians as a hieroglyph.

The prefix “hiero-” comes from the Greek word “hieros” meaning sacred or holy. The classic use of the prefix is in the term “hieroglyphics” (meaning “sacred carving”), the writing system that uses symbols and pictures.

40 Dynamite stuff : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

The explosive called dynamite contains nitroglycerin as its active component. Dynamite also contains diatomaceous earth and sodium carbonate that absorb the nitroglycerin. The absorbed nitroglycerin is far less sensitive to mechanical shock, making it easier to transport and to handle. Famously, dynamite was invented by Alfred Nobel, the man who used his fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes.

41 Basis of monotheism : ONE GOD

Broadly speaking, theism is the belief that there is at least one god. The term “theism” is also used to describe the belief in just one god, although the term “monotheism” is perhaps more accurate. Followers of Christianity, Judaism and Islam would all be classified as theists or monotheists.

42 Westernmost Texas county : EL PASO

El Paso is the most westerly county in Texas. It is one of only two Texas counties in the Mountain Time Zone (along with neighboring Hudspeth County).

44 __-Castell: office supply brand : FABER

Faber-Castell is a supplier of stationary equipment that is headquartered in Stein, a town in the German state of Bavaria. The company was founded back in 1761 by a cabinet maker named Kaspar Faber. A descendant of Kaspar married into the German noble family known as the House of Castell. As a result, the company changed its name to Faber-Castell in 1900.

45 Ryan of “The Beverly Hillbillies” : IRENE

Irene Ryan was the wonderful actress who played “Granny” on “The Beverly Hillbillies”. Ryan was remarkable in that she had a successful career in vaudeville, on radio and television, on film and on Broadway.

“The Beverly Hillbillies” sitcom originally aired from 1962 to 1971. The show had consistently respectable ratings, but was canceled as part of “the Rural Purge” at CBS. Advertisers at the time were applying pressure on the network to move to more urban-themed shows. CBS responded by canceling shows such as “Petticoat Junction”, “Green Acres”, “Lassie” as well as “The Beverly Hillbillies”.

46 Piña colada garnish? : TILDE

The tilde diacritical mark (~) is very much associated with the Spanish language. We use the name “tilde” in English, taking that name from Spanish. Confusingly, the word “tilde” in Spanish is used more generally to mean “accent mark, diacritic”, of which a “~” is just one. What we call a “tilde” in English is usually referred to as a “virgulilla” or “tilde de la eñe” in Spanish.

“Piña colada” is a Spanish term that translates into “strained pineapple”. The piña colada cocktail was introduced in the Caribe Hilton San Juan in 1954, and since 1978 it has been the official beverage of Puerto Rico. Yum …

50 Furry Endor critter : EWOK

The Ewoks are creatures that live on the moon of Endor in the “Star Wars” universe. First appearing in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”, they’re the cute and cuddly little guys that look like teddy bears.

54 Actress Vardalos : NIA

Not only is Nia Vardalos the star of the 2002 hit movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, she also wrote the screenplay. The film never made it to number one at the box office, but it still pulled in more money than any other movie in history that didn’t make it to number one. That record I think reflects the fact that the film wasn’t a blockbuster but rather a so-called “sleeper hit”, a movie that people went to see based on referrals from friends. The big fat mistake came when a spin-off TV show was launched, “My Big Fat Greek Life”. It ran for only 7 episodes. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” hit movie theaters in 2016.

Nia Vardalos is an actress and screenwriter whose biggest break came with the 2002 film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, which she wrote and in which she starred. The film tells the story of a Greek-American woman marrying a non-Greek Caucasian American who converts to the Greek Orthodox Church to facilitate the marriage. The storyline reflects the actual experiences of Vardalos and her husband, actor Ian Gomez. Vardalos and Gomez appeared together as hosts for two seasons of the reality competition “The Great American Baking Show”.

55 Relatives, slangily : FAM

A sibling (sib) is a member of a family (fam).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Flash : JIFF
5 Hustle and bustle : RUSH
9 Just : MERE
13 Lake near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame : ERIE
14 __ rug : AREA
15 Bean sprout? : IDEA
16 West Coast footballer on an RV vacation? : ROAMING CHARGER (“roaming charge” + R)
19 “As Good as It Gets” Oscar winner : HUNT
20 Deer madam : DOE
21 Considerable : GRAVE
22 “Sex Education” actor Butterfield : ASA
23 Mischief maker : ELF
24 Used crayons : COLORED
26 San Fernando counterfeiter? : VALLEY FORGER (“Valley Forge” + R)
29 Mystery writer’s middle name : … ALLAN …
30 Emotional shock : JOLT
31 Show stoppers : ADS
34 Times Square gas : NEON
35 Parking unit : SPACE
37 Property attachment : LIEN
38 Minnesota senator Klobuchar : AMY
39 Unctuous : OILY
40 Tailor’s dummy, e.g. : TORSO
41 Fisher who won’t take advice? : OBTUSE ANGLER (“obtuse angle” + R)
44 Goal of regular exercise : FITNESS
47 Omaha Beach craft: Abbr. : LST
48 Boiling blood : IRE
49 Disney princess with red hair and a green tail : ARIEL
50 Prefix with center : EPI-
51 Colony members : ANTS
52 Indecisive European? : BELGIAN WAFFLER (“Belgian waffle” + R)
56 Opposite of exo- : ENDO-
57 Spanish rivers : RIOS
58 Big name in razors : ATRA
59 Pond plant : REED
60 Shortfin shark : MAKO
61 More than half : MOST

Down

1 City near the Mount of Olives : JERUSALEM
2 Steel, e.g. : IRON ALLOY
3 Italian automaker since 1899 : FIAT
4 Like the yin side: Abbr. : FEM
5 Xeroxed : RAN OFF
6 Exhort : URGE
7 Flash : SEC
8 “So there!” : HAH!
9 Funhouse fixture : MIRROR
10 Mystery writer’s first name : EDGAR …
11 Superman player : REEVE
12 Like some jugs : EARED
17 Without thinking : IDLY
18 Shoelace end : AGLET
19 Caribbean metropolis : HAVANA
23 Dark time for poets : E’EN
24 Nile threat : CROC
25 Eye rudely : OGLE
27 Office PC nexus : LAN
28 “Love Train” group, with “The” : O’JAYS
31 O’Hare arrivals : AIRLINERS
32 Former name of an arid-region Afro-Asian rodent : DESERT RAT
33 Sleeps soundly? : SNORES
35 Poses : SITS
36 Furthermore : PLUS
37 Captain’s journal : LOG
39 Marks in ancient manuscripts : OBELI
40 Dynamite stuff : TNT
41 Basis of monotheism : ONE GOD
42 Westernmost Texas county : EL PASO
43 “Yeah, right!” : AS IF!
44 __-Castell: office supply brand : FABER
45 Ryan of “The Beverly Hillbillies” : IRENE
46 Piña colada garnish? : TILDE
50 Furry Endor critter : EWOK
51 Choir member : ALTO
53 Equip : ARM
54 Actress Vardalos : NIA
55 Relatives, slangily : FAM

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Mar 21, Friday”

  1. No errors. It took a while for the “light bulb” to go off in my brain, but when
    I got “obtuse…..” everything came together. This one was fun.

  2. I thought I was going to have to give up because I was stuck in the upper left corner. Then I had a sudden breakthrough (Jerusalem) and everything fell into place and I finished in a normal time. That is to say, normal for normal people…

  3. Bill – from yesterday, we all need a proofreader, if not an editor. Not to pile on, but today you have duplicate Poe explanations that contain different ages at death. I don’t remember what the tombstone says about the dates even though I spent 3 years of my life right next door to it. It’s essentially on the grounds of the law school in Baltimore and Poe is part of the inspiration for naming the football team here the Ravens. It’s not football season, so I’ll say Go Terps! for our men’s and women’s basketball teams.

  4. 11:03

    I read up on the current meaning of OBELI. Interesting stuff!

    The theme really helped with the first long answer, and brought back memories. The San Diego Chargers were my home team back in the day. I don’t follow football much now, but I saw one incredible game: a playoff between the Chargers and the Dolphins. And then, next week’s game with the Bengals was the most painful.

  5. A little bobble with 35 across “parking unit” by inserting place instead of space. Once I straightened that out the puzzle was completed.

    I’m mostly here to see if anyone know what has become of Carrie? Her posts were always a breath of fresh air and positivity. Hope she is alright and will start posting again. Hey, Carrie – if you will return I pledge to start posting again on a regular basis! (some incentive – lol).

    1. Carrie is definitely missed, even if she posts not as regularly (her last comment was March 3, 2021 as seen on the second).

      1. Thanks for that, Glenn. You had me going there with the March 3rd “Carrie sighting” but after I looked there without success I parsed your sentence a little more closely and found her post on the 2nd but dated the 3rd.

        I’ll leave my search with this little homage to ET…”Carrie, phone home!”

  6. Can’t beleive I had no errors on Friday. But the usual guesses: ROAMING CHARGER, HUNT, LST, LAN, OBELI, IRENE, NIA.
    CROC and TNT should be indicated as abbrevs.

  7. 11 minutes, 23 seconds, no errors. Theme was most forced and annoying. Do the constructors really think this stuff is “clever”?

  8. My mother launched LST-59 at the Dravo Shipyard on Neville Island near Pittsburgh, PA in November of 1943. LST-59 participated in the Normandy invasion in June of 1944. I remember it making a very big splash when sliding into the Ohio River.

  9. Mostly easy Friday for me; took 14:32 with no errors or peeks. Started out as kind of tough, but found my footing going down and finished the bottom half in good time. Got the theme and worked the top half, which was easier than I first thought.

    I miss Carrie too though she lately she’s only posted on Mondays and Tuesdays. I can send her a private email to see what’s up.

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