LA Times Crossword 3 Apr 21, Saturday

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Constructed by: Ryan McCarty
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 18m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 One who gets famous just for kicks? : SOCCER STAR

Soccer (also known as “association football”) is the most popular sport in the world. The term “association football” was introduced in 1863 in England, with the name chosen to distinguish the sport from rugby football. The term “soccer” started to appear about 20 years later in Oxford, as an abbreviation for “association”.

16 Use sound to get around : ECHOLOCATE

Echolocation, when used by animals, is known as biosonar. The best-known example of an animal using biosonar is probably the bat, although not all species of bat use sounds to locate objects.

17 Large volume : TOME

“Tome” first came into English from the Latin “tomus” which means “section of a book”. The original usage in English was for a single volume in a multi-volume work. By the late 16th century, “tome” had come to mean “large book”.

28 Setting of van Gogh’s “Café Terrace at Night” : ARLES

Quite a few years ago now, I had the privilege of living just a short car-ride from the beautiful city of Arles in the South of France. Although Arles has a long and colorful history, the Romans had a prevailing influence over the city’s design. Arles has a spectacular Roman amphitheater, arch, circus as well as old walls that surround the center of the city. In more modern times, it was a place Vincent van Gogh often visited, and was where he painted many of his most famous works, including “Cafe Terrace at Night” and “Bedroom in Arles”.

30 Stop shooting : WRAP

When shooting of a film is concluded the movie is said to wrap, and everyone heads to the wrap party. There is one story that “wrap” is actually an acronym for “wind, reel and print”, a reference to the transition of the filming process into post-production. But, this explanation is disputed.

32 Let the air out of : PUNCTURED

Here’s another example of terms that change as we cross the Atlantic Ocean. When talking about tires (“tyres” in Britain and Ireland), a defect can cause a “flat” (“puncture” in Britain and Ireland).

35 Area where skateboarding likely originated, briefly : SOCAL

Southern California (SoCal)

38 One may get rubbed out : GENIE

The “genie” in the bottle takes his or her name from “djinn”. “Djinns” were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book “The Thousand and One Nights” was translated into French, the word “djinn” was transformed into the existing word “génie”, because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This “génie” from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived “genius”, a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the “djinn” that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

40 Failed to uphold : RENEGED ON

To renege on something is to back out of it. It’s a verb commonly used in card games like bridge and whist. A renege is when a player doesn’t follow suit, even though there may be a card of the suit led in his/her hand.

43 Gorilla researcher Fossey : DIAN

Dian Fossey carried out her famous study of gorilla populations in the mountain forests of Rwanda. She wrote a 1983 autobiographical account of her work titled “Gorillas in the Mist”, which served as a basis for a 1988 film of the same name starring Sigourney Weaver as Fossey. Sadly, Fossey was found dead in her cabin in Rwanda in 1986, murdered in her bedroom, her skull split open by a machete. The crime was never solved.

48 Milwaukee draft pick? : PABST

Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a “blue ribbon” prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

Milwaukee sits on the western shore of Lake Michigan, and is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin. Milwaukee has a long tradition of brewing, a tradition that dates back to the 1850s that is associated with the large number of German immigrants that started to arrive in the area during the 1840s. Even though the city was once home to four of the world’s largest breweries, namely Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst and Miller, only the latter is a major employer in Milwaukee today.

50 One obsessed with guns? : GYM RAT

“Gym rat” is a slang term describing someone who spends much of his or her leisure time playing sports or working out at the gym. Never been called a gym rat …

52 Utensil in Valencian cooking : PAELLA PAN

Paella is sometimes referred to as the Spanish national dish, but not by Spaniards. In Spain, paella is regarded as a typical regional dish from Valencia.

Valencia is one of the autonomous communities of Spain, and is located in the east of the country on the Mediterranean Coast. Its capital city is also called Valencia, and is the third-largest city in the nation, after Madrid and Barcelona.

56 Isle off the Sorrento Peninsula : CAPRI

The island of Capri off the coast of Southern Italy has been a tourist resort since the days of ancient Rome. Capri is home to the famous Blue Grotto, a sea cave that is illuminated with sunlight that’s colored blue as it passes through the seawater into the cave.

Sorrento is a small town on the Italian coast that sits on a peninsula overlooking the Bay of Naples. It is an extremely popular tourist destination. The island of Capri lies off the western tip of the Sorrento Peninsula.

63 City on the Skunk : AMES

The Iowa city of Ames was founded as a stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad in 1864. It was named for US Congressman Oakes Ames from the state of Massachusetts in honor of the role that Ames played in the building of the transcontinental railroad.

The Skunk River in Iowa is a tributary of the Mississippi. The etymology of the river’s name is a little unclear, and is probably a mistranslation of the Sauk and Meskwaki name “Shecaqua”, which means “strong and obnoxious smell”. The headwaters of the Skunk River was known for its wild onions along the banks, hence the “odoriferous” reference. A better translation might have been “Onion River”.

Down

2 Film genre for Shyamalan’s “The Happening” : ECO-HORROR

Eco-horror films are documentaries and fictional movies that explore potential disasters resulting from human activity. An example of such a documentary is Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” from 2006. An example of an eco-horror movie is M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening” from 2008.

“The Happening” is a 2008 sci-fi film starring Mark Wahlberg that was written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. It’s all about four people trying to escape a mysterious natural disaster that is compelling people to commit suicide.

3 Competitor who’s over the hump? : CAMEL RACER

Camel racing is big business in parts of the world, including North Africa and Australia. The sport is controversial in that children are favored to ride the camels in some places. Jockeys can also be replaced by robotic whips that are controlled remotely.

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of a camel is the large deposit of fatty tissue on its back. The dromedary is the most common camel, and has one hump of fatty tissue on its back. The Bactrian camel has two humps, and makes up just 6% of the world’s camel population. Those fatty humps are useful if no food or water is available, as fat can be broken down into water and energy.

6 Figure eight, in tango parlance : OCHO

The dramatic dance called the tango originated in the late 1800s in the area along the border between Argentina and Uruguay. Dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires in particular traveled to Europe and beyond in the early twentieth century and brought the tango with them. The tango craze first struck Europe in Paris in the 1910s, and from there spread to London and Berlin, crossing the Atlantic to New York in 1913.

7 Harry Potter love interest Cho __ : CHANG

Cho Chang is a fellow student of Harry Potter, one year ahead of him at Hogwarts. Chang is the girl who gives Harry his first kiss!

9 South Bend suburb : ELKHART

Elkhart, Indiana is a city located just 15 miles east of South Bend. Elkhart was originally set up as a rival town to neighboring Pulaski in 1831. Elkhart won out, and Pulaski was absorbed into Elkhart after just a few short years.

The city of South Bend, Indiana is located on the St. Joseph River. The actual location is on the most southerly bend of the river, hence the name “South Bend”.

10 Larva that attacks Valentine’s Day plants : ROSE SLUG

The rose slug is the larva of the rose sawfly. Sawflies are so called because of the saw-like tube (ovipositor) used by the females to cut into the surface of plants to deposit eggs.

12 Fabulist’s work : TALE

A “fabulist” is a writer of “fables”.

14 Out of a job, perhaps?: Abbr. : RETD

Retired (“ret.” or “retd.”)

20 Trivia site : PUB

Trivia are things of little consequence. “Trivia” is the plural of the Latin word “trivium” which means “a place where three roads meet”. Now that’s what I call a trivial fact …

23 __ fly : POP

That would be baseball.

27 Arena for the stars : OUTER SPACE

The exploration and use of outer space is governed by the Outer Space Treaty that came into force in 1967. The initial signatories were the US, UK and USSR, and now 102 nations are party to the treaty. For the purposes of the treaty, outer space begins at the Kármán line, a theoretical sphere that lies at an altitude of 100km about the Earth’s sea level.

29 Annual coronation event : SENIOR PROM

A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

31 Impressive displays : PANOPLIES

“Panoply” originally described the complete set of armor of a warrior, with the term coming from the Greek “pan-”meaning “all” and “hopla” meaning “arms”. We’ve been using “panoply” to mean “any splendid array” since the 1820s.

39 Armageddons : END TIMES

According to the Bible’s Book of Revelation, there will be a gathering of armies and a great battle during the “end of days”, and that battle between good and evil will take place at Armageddon.

41 Lose it : GO BATTY

The expression “bats in the belfry” meaning “mad, crazy” conjures up images of bats flying around Gothic bell towers, but actually it’s a relatively recent addition to our vernacular. The term is American in origin, and dates back only to the early 1900s. The concept is that someone who is “crazy”, with wild ideas flying around his or her head, can be described as having bats (wild ideas) flying around the belfry (head). The terms “bats” and “batty” originated at the same time, and are clearly derivative.

46 Site of the HQ of five major sports : NYC

New York City is home to the headquarters of five major (men’s) sports:

  • The National Football League
  • The National Hockey League
  • The National Basketball Association
  • Major League Baseball
  • Major League Soccer

49 Croquetas or caracoles : TAPAS

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

51 It forms igneous rock : MAGMA

Magma is the molten material below the Earth’s surface. When magma cools, it forms igneous rock. “Magma” is a Greek term that describes a thick ointment.

52 Microsoft co-founder Allen : PAUL

Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen met and became friends in high school. The Gates was three years younger than Allen, but the pair gravitated towards each other due to a shared interest in computers. One of their first programming projects was to create a computerized version of tic-tac-toe, which they did together on a time-shared computer that was donated to the school by the Mothers’ Association. The two parted company when they graduated and went to different colleges, Allen to Washington State and Gates to Harvard. Allen dropped out of school to start work as a programmer, and he later convinced Gates to drop out of Harvard so that they could create Microsoft.

53 Intangible quality : AURA

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”.

55 Role in the Monteverdi opera “The Coronation of Poppaea” : NERO

Poppaea Sabina was the second wife of the Emperor Nero. Poppaea was an ambitious and ruthless woman by all accounts.

The Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi was a true pioneer. His opera “L’Orfeo” was one of the first operas ever composed, and is the earliest surviving opera that is still regularly performed. The debut performance of “L’Orfeo” was in 1607.

“The Coronation of Poppaea” is a 1643 opera by Claudio Monteverdi. It proved to be the composer’s last opera, as Monteverdi died in December of the same year.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 One may be planted on a cheek : PECK
5 One who gets famous just for kicks? : SOCCER STAR
15 Volunteer’s words : I CAN
16 Use sound to get around : ECHOLOCATE
17 Large volume : TOME
18 Reaction that can be grateful or sarcastic : THANKS A LOT!
19 Call from a brooder : CHEEP!
21 Getting better : ON THE MEND
22 Arrive by car, say : ROLL UP
24 Perception : GRASP
25 Make a typo … or miss one : ERR
26 Surprising sound : BOO!
28 Setting of van Gogh’s “Café Terrace at Night” : ARLES
30 Stop shooting : WRAP
32 Let the air out of : PUNCTURED
35 Area where skateboarding likely originated, briefly : SOCAL
37 Activity cube user : TOT
38 One may get rubbed out : GENIE
40 Failed to uphold : RENEGED ON
43 Gorilla researcher Fossey : DIAN
44 Turning part : ROTOR
45 Directed : RAN
47 With 42-Down, unlikely racetrack pick : OLD …
48 Milwaukee draft pick? : PABST
50 One obsessed with guns? : GYM RAT
52 Utensil in Valencian cooking : PAELLA PAN
56 Isle off the Sorrento Peninsula : CAPRI
57 Captured soundly? : AUDIOTAPED
59 Hardly promising : GRIM
60 Walk-in clinic focus : URGENT CARE
61 Fashion : MODE
62 Espies : LAYS EYES ON
63 City on the Skunk : AMES

Down

1 Retiring groups? : PIT CREWS
2 Film genre for Shyamalan’s “The Happening” : ECO-HORROR
3 Competitor who’s over the hump? : CAMEL RACER
4 Prepare to talk to a tyke, maybe : KNEEL
5 Prepared : SET
6 Figure eight, in tango parlance : OCHO
7 Harry Potter love interest Cho __ : CHANG
8 Independent __ : CONTRACTOR
9 South Bend suburb : ELKHART
10 Larva that attacks Valentine’s Day plants : ROSE SLUG
11 Ran playfully : SCAMPERED
12 Fabulist’s work : TALE
13 Buckets or barrels : A TON
14 Out of a job, perhaps?: Abbr. : RETD
20 Trivia site : PUB
23 __ fly : POP
27 Arena for the stars : OUTER SPACE
29 Annual coronation event : SENIOR PROM
31 Impressive displays : PANOPLIES
33 Rest for a bit : NOD
34 Transport service for the disabled : DIAL-A-RIDE
36 Much less : LET ALONE
39 Armageddons : END TIMES
41 Lose it : GO BATTY
42 See 47-Across : … NAG
46 Site of the HQ of five major sports : NYC
49 Croquetas or caracoles : TAPAS
51 It forms igneous rock : MAGMA
52 Microsoft co-founder Allen : PAUL
53 Intangible quality : AURA
54 Norm-challenging : EDGY
55 Role in the Monteverdi opera “The Coronation of Poppaea” : NERO
58 Big-screen TV site : DEN

20 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 3 Apr 21, Saturday”

  1. Yeah, right. I gave up on this one after three minutes. Who cares? I think I have a bad attitude today. I took a long time to decide on just the right color to paint the bathroom walls. A blue so pale it’s practically white. I put on a coat and it’s dark robin’s egg blue and I hate it. What to do? Thinking of adding some white to it to tone it down. Grrr. Oh yeah, I didn’t like the puzzle. Maybe I’ll go back to bed.

  2. A lot of cogitating time (read that as fiddle farting around with many strike overs) on the NW section, until I somehow wrestled it into submission and the puzzle was suddenly complete. I think that in order to gauge the difficulty of today’s grid all one need do is take a look at Bill’s solve time.

  3. I agree with Corky. 3 minutes and I was outta there! Grrrr….
    Live with the blue walls for a while. You might get used to it. If not, add in some blue to a can of white to get the light blue you want. Don’t know if adding white into blue will lighten it enough for what you want. Good luck!
    Stay safe! 😊

  4. No errors, but this was a toughie for me. When I first started in on it, the
    only answer I knew for sure was “Dian” (Fossey) I started out with “stoop”
    instead of “kneel’ because I tried “kiss” instead of “peck” for the first clue
    and it took awhile and some new tries to finally get the top left corner.
    But I guess all’s well that ends well.

  5. I thought it was fun but I made a lot of lucky guesses. Had pull up instead of roll up which really slowed down the NW corner.

  6. 14:41… pretty straightforward except in a couple of spots (took me forever to “get” PIT CREWS which slowed me down in the NW, and I had PANORAMAS instead of PANOPLIES which totally messed me up in the SW for a while). I agree it was kind of bland, but I suspect that puzzles with fresh and clever answers AND parallel runs of long answers in several places are pretty hard to construct.

    For some reason ECHOLOCATE and AUDIOTAPED in nearly symmetrical positions kind of tickled me.

  7. For me, a worthy Saturday challenge that I enjoyed despite being a DNF because of errors in the NW. Put in “pull up” for 22A early on which threw off 1D & 2D. Completely unfamiliar with the genre eco horror or the film mentioned.

  8. 22:30

    There were a lot of clues that my mind had to come at from several different directions. 10D was the biggest sticking point, because I know that a slug is not a larva. But then, sawflies are weird.

    Regarding some of the discussion about puzzles being difficult:
    If I don’t know an answer, I hope that means I’m about to learn something interesting. After all, a constructor bothered to clue it and put it in. If it turns out to be something boring, like “reality” TV, that’s when I feel cheated.

  9. LAT: Almost gave up. Returned after a nap and finished it without error. Time: A lot. Very hard puzzle but fair. Required a lot of perseverance–from me anyway.

  10. 43:35 no errors…every time I enjoy a puzzle most of you don’t like it…It must be me.
    Have a happy and safe Easter😀😀😀
    The Orioles are 2 and 0…so far so good…It’s a long season

  11. Well how about cross with PANOPLIES and PAELLAPAN , whew!!

    This was a bit of a slog for me but I made it.. probably about an hour..

    I remembered SKUNK river from a previous grid but what a ame.

  12. 20 minutes on the dot, and needed Check Grid to fix two errors: ROSES[L]UG/AR[L]ES. This one was full of really poor clues, I thought.

  13. Too tough for me today; took 59:58 with me grinding to a halt at about 30 minutes and resorting to “check grid.” After some more fill and “check grid” things slowly started coming together.

    Learned a lot…croquetas look pretty tasty but I think I’ll pass on the caracoles…

    1. Strong arms developed by a lot of weight training are sometimes referred to as “guns.”

      You might hear the expression “look at those guns!”

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