LA Times Crossword 27 Mar 21, Saturday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 9m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Shore seen on TV : DINAH

Dinah Shore had a lot of success as a singer in the forties and fifties in the Big Band Era, and then in the sixties as a hostess of variety programs on television. Shore was also a big fan of golf, both as a player and a spectator. She founded the Colgate Dinah Shore golf tournament which is now the Kraft Nabisco Championship, one of the four majors on the LPGA Tour.

17 Film composer Morricone : ENNIO

Ennio Morricone was an Italian composer best known for writing music for films and television shows. It was Morricone who wrote the fabulous scores for the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone, including the theme for “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”.

18 __-Caps : SNO

Sno-Caps are a brand of candy usually only available in movie theaters. Sno-caps have been around since the 1920s, would you believe?

19 Stand up : JILT

To jilt someone with whom you have a relationship is to drop them suddenly or callously. “Jilt” is an obsolete noun that used to mean “harlot, loose woman”.

20 __ Waters, most senior Black woman in Congress : MAXINE

Maxine Waters is a US Representative from Southern California who assumed office in 1991. She became the ranking member of the House Financial Services committee in 2012, following the retirement of Barney Frank. She became the Chair of that committee in 2019. Waters’ husband is Sidney William, a former NFL linebacker and US Ambassador to the Bahamas in the Clinton administration.

21 Reached the nadir, with “out” : BOTTOMED …

The nadir is the direction pointing immediately below a particular location (through to the other side of the Earth for example). The opposite direction, that pointing immediately above, is called the zenith. We use the terms “nadir” and “zenith” figuratively to mean the low and high points in a person’s fortunes.

23 Waffle center? : EFS

The center of the word “waffle” is a pair of letters F (efs).

27 Bluffer’s objective : POT

That might be poker, the card game.

28 Casual Fridays attire, perhaps : KHAKIS

“Khaki” is an Urdu word that translates literally as “dusty”. The word was adopted for its current use as the name of a fabric by the British cavalry in India in the mid-1800s.

31 __ Valley: Tucson suburb : ORO

The town of Oro Valley in Arizona is a suburb of Tucson. The town was founded in 1968, with the original name of “Palo Verde”.

34 Breville product : TOASTER

Breville is a manufacturer of small home appliances that was founded in 1932 in Sydney, Australia. The company’s founders were Bill O’Brien and Harry Norville, and it was a blending of “O’Brien” and “Norville” that created “Breville”.

37 Five carats : GRAM

The carat is a unit of mass equal to 200 mg (0.2 grams). It is used in sizing gemstones.

39 Tswana for “fly” : TSETSE

Tsetse flies live on the blood of vertebrate mammals. The name “tsetse” comes from Tswana, a language of southern Africa, and translates simply as “fly”. Tsetse flies are famous for being carriers of the disease known as “sleeping sickness”. Sleeping sickness is caused by a parasite which is passed onto humans when the tsetse fly bites into human skin tissue. If one considers all the diseases transmitted by the insect, then the tsetse fly is responsible for a staggering quarter of a million deaths each year.

40 Bridge action : BID

The version of the card game bridge that is played mostly today is contract bridge. Auction bridge is a similar game, and is a precursor to contract bridge.

41 Sights seen by seers, maybe : AURAS

An aura (plural “aurae”) is an intangible quality that surrounds a person or thing, a “je ne sais quoi”. “Je ne sais quoi” is French for “I don’t know what”.

44 Doce meses : ANO

In Spanish, there are “doce meses” (twelve months) in an “año” (year).

47 Abstract : PRECIS

A “precis” is an abstract, a concise summary. The term comes from the French “précis” meaning “cut short”.

49 Plant with corms : TARO

The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish (which I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

50 Greek letter used in the Shrödinger equation : PSI

The Schrödinger equation has been described as the most fundamental equation in quantum mechanics. As I understand it, a Schrödinger equation describes how subatomic particles behave. The equation was proposed by Austrian-Irish physicist Erwin Shrödinger in 1925, and earned Shrödinger the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933.

54 Black Sabbath devotee, say : METALHEAD

Black Sabbath is an English heavy metal band set up in 1969 in Birmingham in the north of the country. Black Sabbath’s most famous band member was the lead singer, Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy was kicked out of the group in 1979 as his drug usage was becoming overly disruptive.

56 Hirsch of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” : EMILE

Emile Hirsch is an actor from Topanga, California. Hirsch’s most famous role was the lead in the 2007 drama “Into the Wild”.

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is a 2019 Quentin Tarantino movie. It has an impressive cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. I’m no fan of Tarantino films, but I was dragged to this one. It confirmed why I don’t like Tarantino movies …

58 Estonian neighbor : LETT

Latvia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs). People from Latvia are called Letts.

Down

2 Flowerless plant : FERN

Ferns are unlike mosses in that they have xylem and phloem, making them vascular plants. They also have stems, leaves and roots, but they do not have seeds and flowers, and reproduce using spores. Spores differ from seeds in that they have very little stored food.

3 Texas river named for its chilly waters : FRIO

The Frio is a river in south-central Texas. Rising from cold springs, the river takes its name from the coolness of the water (“frio” is Spanish for “cold”).

4 Busy pro around this time : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.

10 Spell : JINX

A jinx is a charm or a spell. The word “jinx” comes from an older word “jyng” from the 17th-century. A “jyng” was a wryneck, a type of bird much used in witchcraft.

11 She plays Sheldon’s grandma (Meemaw) on “Young Sheldon” : ANNIE POTTS

Annie Potts is an actress from Nashville, Tennessee. She had roles in successful films such as “Ghostbusters” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and did voice work for “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2”. Potts was lucky to survive a car crash when she was 21 years old, as she broke nearly every bone in her lower body.

“Young Sheldon” is a spinoff prequel to the hit sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” that follows the life of a 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper. The title character is played by child actor Iain Armitage. Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory”, is the narrator for the spinoff, and is also an executive producer. In another link between the shows, young Sheldon’s Mom is played by actress Zoe Perry. Perry is the real-life daughter of Laurie Metcalf, who plays “old” Sheldon’s mom in the original series.

12 Much of Vancouver Island : RAINFOREST

Strictly speaking, the terms “rainforest” and “jungle” are related, but different. A healthy rainforest has a thick canopy of leaves so that the ground below is relatively clear of vegetation due to a lack of sunlight. When the canopy thins, the increase in sunlight promotes growth of tangled vegetation at ground level producing the habitat that we refer to as “jungle”.

Vancouver Island in British Columbia is the largest island on the west coast of North and South America. Most of the inhabitants of the island live in the city of Victoria, which is the province’s capital. Vancouver Island is named for British naval captain George Vancouver who explored the area in the 1790s.

13 Skechers milieu : SHOE STORE

Skechers is a manufacturer of shoes that was founded in 1992, initially offering utility boots and skate shoes. Since then, the company is perhaps best known for its trendy athletic, casual and dress shoes. I don’t own any …

15 The Israel Museum display : DEAD SEA SCROLLS

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered over a period of years, between 1947 and 1956, in eleven caves on the shores of the Dead Sea. The scrolls are believed to have been written by an ancient Jewish sect called the Essenes, although this has been called into question recently. Many of the texts are copies of writings from the Hebrew Bible.

The Israel Museum is a prestigious institution in Jerusalem. Established in 1965, it is home to the majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

20 Wine denigrated in “Sideways” : MERLOT

Merlot is one of the main grapes used to make Bordeaux wines, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

To denigrate is to defame, to cast aspersions on someone’s reputation. The term comes from the Latin verb “denigrare” meaning “to blacken”.

“Sideways” is a marvelous 2004 film that is an adaptation of a 2004 novel of the same name. In fact, “Sideways” is the first in a trilogy of comedic wine-themed novels by Rex Pickett, and was followed by “Vertical” (2010) and “Sideways 3 Chile” (2015). The “Sideways” movie stars Paul Giamatti as a depressed teacher and writer accompanying his friend on a trip through wine country prior to that friend’s upcoming wedding. Great stuff …

21 Make madeleines, e.g. : BAKE

A madeleine is a small sponge cake associated with the Commercy and Liverdun communes in northeastern France.

24 Conformist’s phrase : WHEN IN ROME

The proverb “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” probably dates back to the days of St. Augustine. St. Augustine wrote a letter around 390 AD in which he states:

When I go to Rome, I fast on Saturday, but here [Milan] I do not. Do you also follow the custom of whatever church you attend, if you do not want to give or receive scandal?

28 Fourth-grade teacher in Springfield Elementary School : KRABAPPEL

In “The Simpsons” television show, Bart Simpson’s teacher was one Edna Krabappel. Edna married Ned Flanders, who is the next-door neighbor to the Simpson family. Sadly, Edna passed away in 2013. Edna was voiced by actress Marcia Wallace, who passed away the same year.

33 First name in desserts : SARA

In 1935, businessman Charles Lubin bought a chain of three bakeries in Chicago called Community Bake Shops, and soon expanded the operation into seven stores. Lubin introduced a cream cheesecake that he named after his daughter who was only 8-years-old at the time, Sara Lee Lubin. The cheesecake was a hit and he renamed the bakeries to Kitchen of Sara Lee. The business was bought out by Consolidated foods in 1956, but the brand name Sara Lee persists to this day, as does Ms. Sara Lee herself who now goes by the name Sara Lee Schupf.

38 Blue- or gray-furred cat : MALTESE

The cat known as a “Maltese” is one with fur that is primarily blue or gray, regardless of breed. Such coloring was prevalent in cats on the island of Malta, hence the name.

46 Small-muzzled horses : ARABS

The Arab (also “Arabian”) breed of horse takes its name from its original home, the Arabian Peninsula. Like any animal that humans have over-bred, the horse falls prey to genetic diseases, some of which are fatal and some of which require the horse to be euthanized.

48 TD Garden NBAer : CELT

The Boston Celtics NBA basketball team were founded just after WWII in 1946. The Celtics won eight league championships in a row from 1958 to 1966. That’s the longest consecutive championship winning streak of any professional sports team in North America.

TD Garden is a sports arena that was built in the 1990s to replace the aging Boston Garden as home for the Boston Celtics basketball team and the Boston Bruins hockey team.

50 Four-time Gold Glove winner Tony : PENA

Tony Peña is a former professional baseball catcher and manager. He managed the Kansas City Royals from 2002 to 2005.

The Gold Glove is an annual award given by Major League Baseball to the player judged to be the best in each fielding position in a season. The award was instituted in 1957 by the baseball glove manufacturer Rawlings.

51 __ City: Baghdad suburb : SADR

Sadr City is a suburb of Baghdad that has oft been in the news in recent years. Sadr City is named after the deceased Shia leader Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr.

52 Ancient midpoint marker, more or less : IDES

There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Well, actually the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Heard but not seen, as sound effects : OFF CAMERA
10 Disconcerts : JARS
14 In a fog : PERPLEXED
15 Shore seen on TV : DINAH
16 Tests : TRIAL RUNS
17 Film composer Morricone : ENNIO
18 __-Caps : SNO
19 Stand up : JILT
20 __ Waters, most senior Black woman in Congress : MAXINE
21 Reached the nadir, with “out” : BOTTOMED …
23 Waffle center? : EFS
24 __ spot : WEAK
26 Court figures : SUERS
27 Bluffer’s objective : POT
28 Casual Fridays attire, perhaps : KHAKIS
30 Account : TALE
31 __ Valley: Tucson suburb : ORO
32 Begrudges : RESENTS
34 Breville product : TOASTER
36 “__ luck?” : ANY
37 Five carats : GRAM
39 Tswana for “fly” : TSETSE
40 Bridge action : BID
41 Sights seen by seers, maybe : AURAS
43 Throw : CAST
44 Doce meses : ANO
45 Valiant : STALWART
47 Abstract : PRECIS
49 Plant with corms : TARO
50 Greek letter used in the Shrödinger equation : PSI
53 Put forward : POSED
54 Black Sabbath devotee, say : METALHEAD
56 Hirsch of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” : EMILE
57 Fair-haired : ASH BLONDE
58 Estonian neighbor : LETT
59 Reels : SEES STARS

Down

1 Decides : OPTS
2 Flowerless plant : FERN
3 Texas river named for its chilly waters : FRIO
4 Busy pro around this time : CPA
5 “Seriously … ” : ALL JOKING ASIDE …
6 Distinction : MERIT
7 Celebrates big-time : EXULTS
8 Let : RENT OUT
9 They’re seen in some wars : ADS
10 Spell : JINX
11 She plays Sheldon’s grandma (Meemaw) on “Young Sheldon” : ANNIE POTTS
12 Much of Vancouver Island : RAINFOREST
13 Skechers milieu : SHOE STORE
15 The Israel Museum display : DEAD SEA SCROLLS
20 Wine denigrated in “Sideways” : MERLOT
21 Make madeleines, e.g. : BAKE
22 Heart : MEAT
24 Conformist’s phrase : WHEN IN ROME
25 “Not too much” : EASY DOES IT
28 Fourth-grade teacher in Springfield Elementary School : KRABAPPEL
29 Automotive suspension components : STRUTS
33 First name in desserts : SARA
35 See 55-Down : … SEAT
38 Blue- or gray-furred cat : MALTESE
42 Wrap snugly : SWATHE
46 Small-muzzled horses : ARABS
48 TD Garden NBAer : CELT
50 Four-time Gold Glove winner Tony : PENA
51 __ City: Baghdad suburb : SADR
52 Ancient midpoint marker, more or less : IDES
54 Family figures : MAS
55 With 35-Down, precarious place : HOT …

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 27 Mar 21, Saturday”

  1. LAT: About 30 minutes with one incorrect letter causing two incorrect proper names. I entered a z instead of an n in “Ennio” and “Annie.” I thought “Enzio” sounded like an Italian name and made a wild, stupid guess on “Anzie” with “Annie” staring me in the face. Kinda easy puzzle for Saturday though.

  2. Not proud of myself today; too many Googles on proper names, but
    worse was a simple clue that I muffed–jams instead of jars, so had
    main forest instead of rain forest.

  3. Thought I did ok until I was reading Bill’s blog and got to 50A. I had CHI which gave me CENA for 50D and HADR for 51D.
    Win some, lose some.

    Definitely didn’t know PRECIS. Had to let the crosses fill that in.

    1. Thanks, Amy. I missed that piece of news. My wife and I were just talking about him the other night, as we are working our way through the “Dollars Trilogy” of Spaghetti Westerns. Great music …

  4. I found this a good enough challenge without leaving me muttering imprecations and gnashing my teeth. For the longest time I struggled with 29 Down “Automotive suspension parts” due to inking in “shocks”. That had me chasing my tail on the crosses. Finally got it straightened out and that got me rolling to a successful conclusion.

  5. 13:17

    Steadily chipped away, until I was this close to looking up ANNIE POTTS. Luckily the right guesses on the crosses fell into place.

  6. 55:40 no errors…very interesting tidbit about Sheldons moms …both shows are favorites in my house😀
    Stay safe😀
    Play ball!!!

  7. 14 minutes, 28 seconds, and no errors, but needed Check Grid help to point out errors in about 8 fills. This one gave me fits in places, but it was a fair and worthy Saturday challenge.

  8. Tricky Saturday for me; took 46:37 with a one word peek that allowed me to get the final four letters. I looked up the two letters in E_I_E to get EMIL and that immediately got me the other two letters R and C in PRECIS (a new one for me).

    I actually saw “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” but flaked on Emil, who was only on screen a few times.

    Lots of other educated guesses on this one including ANNIE POTTS, who I was great as the crazy record store owner in “Pretty In Pink.” I saw TBBT but haven’t seen the newer “Young Sheldon” yet.

    All in all a pretty good puzzle, if I could of gotten When in Rome and Celt.

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