LA Times Crossword 15 May 21, Saturday

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Constructed by: David P. Williams
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 16m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8 Changing environment : CABANA

Our word “cabana” comes from the Spanish “cabaña”, the word for a small hut or a cabin. We often use the term to describe a tent-like structure beside a pool.

16 Sent abroad : EXPORTED

To export is to carry away, or send to some other place. The term “export” comes from the Latin “ex” meaning “out, away” and “portare” meaning “to carry”.

17 Source of biblical medicine : GILEAD

The balm of Gilead tree is also known as the balsam poplar. The tree’s resin is extracted for use in cough syrups and as a first-aid salve.

19 Color in four-color printing : MAGENTA

Four-color printing uses four different color inks: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The black ink is also known as the “key”. The first letter of the colors (with black being ”key”) give the more common name for four-color printing, namely CMYK.

20 What suspects may be charged with : TASERS

Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle”. The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon partly named its product as a homage to the novel. The acronym “TASER” stands for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.

21 Mysterious glow : 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”.

22 What blue may mean, briefly : DEM

On political maps, red states are usually Republican and blue states usually Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties. In election cycles, swing/battleground states are often depicted in purple.

23 Giant Mel et al. : OTTS

At 5′ 9″, baseball legend Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old. And, according to Wikipedia, “Ott’s name frequently appears in crossword puzzles, on account of its letter combination and brevity.” True that …

24 Stained glass setting : APSE

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

25 Excoriates : TARS

To excoriate is to abrade or chafe. “Excoriate” also means “to strongly denounce something or someone”.

26 High-arcing toss first attributed to Rip Sewell : EEPHUS PITCH

In baseball, an eephus (also “ephus” or “blooper”) pitch is one that is very slow, and high-arcing. As such, this overhand pitch resembles an underhand softball pitch. The etymology of the term “eephus” is unclear, although it may come from a Hebrew word meaning “nothing”. The eephus pitch was the invention of MLB pitcher Rip Sewell. He used it for the first time while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Detroit Tigers in the 1940s.

30 Water music? : SEA SHANTIES

A sea shanty (also “chantey”) is a song sung by sailors, often when they are working away on some repetitive task.

37 Liq. measures : GALS

The name of our fluid measure called a “gallon” ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin term “galleta” meaning “bucket, pail”.

38 Foam footwear : CROC

Crocs are foam clogs that were originally designed as shoes to be worn at health spas.

40 Former Bolivian president Morales : EVO

Evo Morales has been President of Bolivia since 2006. Morales has a socialist agenda, and as such his government is a close ally to the regimes in Venezuela and in Cuba.

42 Horn home : AFRICA

The Horn of Africa is that horn-shaped peninsula at the easternmost tip of the continent, containing the countries Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia as well as Somalia. The Horn of Africa is also known as the Somali Peninsula.

44 Ones moving to the right : NEOCONS

By definition, a neoconservative (neocon) is a formerly left-aligned politician who has moved to the right, and who now supports the use of American power and military might to bring democracy, liberty, equality and human rights to other countries.

49 Esophagus : GULLET

The esophagus is the gullet, the “pipe” that carries food from the mouth down into the stomach. The term comes from the Greek “oisophagos” that can be translated as “to carry to eat”.

52 Cure-all : PANACEA

Panacea was the Greek goddess of healing. She lent her name to the term “panacea” that was used by alchemists to describe the beguiling remedy that could cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely.

Down

2 Some wisecracks : RIPOSTES

“Riposte” is a fencing term, one describing a quick thrust after having parried a lunge from one’s opponent. We also use the term to describe a sharp verbal retort.

5 These, in Cádiz : ESTOS

Cádiz is a port city in southwestern Spain, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. Cádiz is a remarkable city geographically in that it sits on a thin spit of land that juts out into the sea.

6 MTV’s “__ Wolf” : TEEN

“Teen Wolf” is a 1985 comedy film starring Michael J. Fox in the title role, a high school student who transforms into a werewolf. There’s an MTV television series that’s loosely based on the movie. The show features Tyler Posey as the “teen wolf”.

7 Monk’s condition, on the TV show : OCD

Apparently, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed mental disorder, making it about as prevalent as asthma.

“Monk” is a police drama set in San Francisco starring Tony Shalhoub in the title role of Adrian Monk. Although set in the San Francisco Bay Area, the show is actually shot in Los Angeles.

9 Friendly-sounding old Commodore computer : AMIGA

Amiga is a line of desktop computers that was made by Commodore in the eighties and nineties.

10 Christian in films : BALE

Christian Bale is an actor from Wales in the UK, although he is better known for his work on this side of the Atlantic. Bale’s big break in movies came in 1987 with the starring role in Spielberg’s “Empire of the Sun” at only 13 years of age. He has also played Batman three times, in “Batman Begins” (2005), “The Dark Knight” (2008) and “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012).

11 It may be hidden : AGENDA

“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.

12 More pinlike? : NEATER

Apparently, the idiom “neat as a pin” arose in the early 1800s, with the advent of mass production. Up until that time, pins were handmade and so were irregular and relatively flawed. Mass-produced pins were uniform and of consistent quality. So, something that was uniform and of consistent quality came to be described as “neat as a pin”.

13 Iconic New Yorker cartoonist Charles : ADDAMS

Charles Addsms was a cartoonist who signed his work “Chas Addams”. He didn’t draw a cartoon strip but rather individual cartoons, although many of his cartoons did feature regular characters. The most famous of these were the members of the Addams Family, who were published in single-panel cartoons between 1938 and 1988 in “The New Yorker”. The Addams Family moved onto the small and big screens starting in 1964.

19 Ruminations : MUSINGS

Ruminants are animals that “chew the cud”. Ruminants eat vegetable matter but cannot extract any nutritional value from cellulose without the help of microbes in the gut. Ruminants collect roughage in the first part of the alimentary canal, allowing microbes to work on it. The partially digested material (the cud) is regurgitated into the mouth so that the ruminant can chew the food more completely exposing more surface area for microbes to do their work. We also use the verb “to ruminate” in a figurative sense, to mean “to muse, ponder, chew over”.

24 Squared stones : ASHLARS

There’s “rubble masonry” and “ashlar masonry”. The former uses irregularly-shaped stones, to build a wall perhaps, whereas the latter uses stone that has been dressed and generally sculpted into rectangular blocks. Ashlar often can look like brick, but the “brick” is just shaped stone as opposed to formed and fired building material.

25 Divine type of rule : THEOCRATIC

In a theocratic country, God is recognized as the head of state (“theocracy” means “rule of God”). Theocracies are typically run with strong clerical influence, and with divine guidance.

29 Op. __ : CIT

“Op. cit.” is short for “opus citatum”, Latin for “the work cited”. Op. cit. is used in footnotes to refer the reader to an earlier citation. It is similar to ibid, except that ibid refers the reader to the last citation, the one immediately above.

31 Country whose official language is Dutch : SURINAME

The Republic of Suriname is located on the northeast coast of South America, and is the continent’s smallest country. What is now Suriname fell under Dutch rule in the late 1600s, gaining independence in 1975.

33 Song whose second line is “And I will pledge with mine” : TO CELIA

Ben Jonson’s poem “To Celia” was written in 1616, but some time around 1770 the words were put to music. That song uses the first line as its title, namely “Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes”.

Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss within the cup,
And I’ll not ask for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.

36 Dig with a snout : ROOTLE

To “rootle” around is to “root” around, to dig with the snout.

39 Space __ : CADET

The expression “space cadet” is used to describe someone who is eccentric and disconnected from reality. It may even imply that the person is a user of hallucinogens. The phrase has been around since the sixties, and may be derived from the science fiction TV show “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet” that aired in the fifties.

41 Flamingo, for one : HOTEL

The Flamingo Las Vegas is a casino hotel that opened for business in 1946, when it became the first luxury hotel on the las Vegas Strip. It was built by mobster Bugsy Siegel, who named the property “Flamingo” after his girlfriend Virginia Hill. Supposedly, Siegel referred to Hill as “Flamingo” as she had long and thin legs, although other stories attribute the nickname to her flushed, pink face after a few drinks.

42 Three-time Emmy-winning choreographer Debbie : ALLEN

Debbie Allen is an actress, dancer and choreographer who is best known for playing dance teacher Lydia Grant on the great TV show “Fame” in the 1980s. Allen is the younger sister of actress Phylicia Rashad, who played Calir Huxtable on the sitcom “The Cosby Show”.

46 Lady of song : GAGA

“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”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Exchange with, in sports : TRADE TO
8 Changing environment : CABANA
14 “Hang on!” : WAIT A SEC
15 Conceived : IMAGED
16 Sent abroad : EXPORTED
17 Source of biblical medicine : GILEAD
18 Inadvertently test an audience’s tolerance levels : DRONE ON
19 Color in four-color printing : MAGENTA
20 What suspects may be charged with : TASERS
21 Mysterious glow : AURA
22 What blue may mean, briefly : DEM
23 Giant Mel et al. : OTTS
24 Stained glass setting : APSE
25 Excoriates : TARS
26 High-arcing toss first attributed to Rip Sewell : EEPHUS PITCH
30 Water music? : SEA SHANTIES
32 “… like you wouldn’t believe!” : … AS ALL GET OUT!
34 Shelter sound : BARK
37 Liq. measures : GALS
38 Foam footwear : CROC
40 Former Bolivian president Morales : EVO
41 Towel designation : HERS
42 Horn home : AFRICA
44 Ones moving to the right : NEOCONS
46 Figured out : GLEANED
47 Completely : IN TOTO
48 Elaborate story, perhaps : TALL TALE
49 Esophagus : GULLET
50 Bar barrier : AGE LIMIT
51 Ride : NEEDLE
52 Cure-all : PANACEA

Down

1 Amount often tied to income : TAX RATE
2 Some wisecracks : RIPOSTES
3 Enjoying prime time : AT ONE’S PEAK
4 Bold type : DARER
5 These, in Cádiz : ESTOS
6 MTV’s “__ Wolf” : TEEN
7 Monk’s condition, on the TV show : OCD
8 Smoke : CIGARETTE
9 Friendly-sounding old Commodore computer : AMIGA
10 Christian in films : BALE
11 It may be hidden : AGENDA
12 More pinlike? : NEATER
13 Iconic New Yorker cartoonist Charles : ADDAMS
14 Linked by custom with : WED TO
19 Ruminations : MUSINGS
21 Floors : APPALLS
24 Squared stones : ASHLARS
25 Divine type of rule : THEOCRATIC
27 Enjoys : HAS
28 Dictionary detail : USAGE NOTE
29 Op. __ : CIT
31 Country whose official language is Dutch : SURINAME
33 Song whose second line is “And I will pledge with mine” : TO CELIA
34 Favorable : BENIGN
35 One way to go : AVENUE
36 Dig with a snout : ROOTLE
39 Space __ : CADET
41 Flamingo, for one : HOTEL
42 Three-time Emmy-winning choreographer Debbie : ALLEN
43 Guy : FELLA
45 Not making any baskets, say : COLD
46 Lady of song : GAGA
48 When repeated, sound of impatience : TAP

20 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 15 May 21, Saturday”

  1. 25:05, no errors. Not too much I can really complain about other than making too many missteps on this one. Actually remembered 26A from the big NYT puzzle from last year. Mostly.

    Got several other more personal-curious questions, but those remain unanswered as always. Guessing it’ll probably be over the heads of most of the LAT audience though as this would fit right in as a NYT Saturday as things stand over there…

    Croce was what it was and Newsday was another Stumper, so things are kind of getting back to balance, in a way.

    1. Sorry, couldn’t keep up with the nemesis. NEWSDAY. lots of lookups. I haven’t quite figured him out yet. I do enjoy doing them. It’s just that first long entry is my nemisis.

  2. No errors, but can’t take too much credit because there were just
    some answers I had to look up; i.e. “eephus pitch”. I had the “pitch”
    but never heard of eephus.

    And I had sea chanties and had to change it to sea shanties to
    accomodate usage note.

    Not my favorite Saturday puzzle, but sort of enjoyed the challenge.

  3. 18:04, no errors. Tough puzzle.

    The Croce and the Newsday took me almost exactly an hour apiece (not counting some necessary walk-away time on the Croce), with no errors. I’d call them “brutally difficult”, but that’s probably over-stating the matter: I may just have been having a bad day … 😜.

  4. This was one of the worst puzzles they’ve run in a long time. As a baseball guy, I actually knew eephus pitch, but some of theses other clues were awful. Benign for 34D. Give me a break. Imaged for 15A. Dumb clues.

  5. Impressive debut by David P. Williams — but, as someone commented on another blog, “a real fun sponge.” Does anyone know whether he’s a Brit? I looked for a bio but couldn’t, um, ROOTLE one up.

  6. Somehow I recalled “eephus” pitch, but the spelling eluded me for awhile and I worked on the downs. And of course (just as Mr. Williams our puzzle constructor/torturer intended) I had filled in “Crane” for 41 Down “Flamingo for one” and that took a good long while to get straightened out. No final errors and a very fair, stiff challenge for a LAT’s Saturday grid.

  7. Knowing nothing about sport ball, I thought “EEL HUG PITCH” was a good guess for a high-arc toss resembling an eel trying to give a hug.

  8. DNF…this could be the worst LAT puzzle ever…if not it’s close👎👎👎👎👎
    Stay safe😀

  9. 36:46 3 lookups

    Stumbled my way through most of the puzzle, guessing and changing and guessing and changing, but that southwest corner got me. I don’t feel obliged to know my Bolivian presidents, so I looked up EVO Morales. My mind refused to dredge up the word for how pigs dig, so I went with ROOTUP. Okay, so the word I wanted was ROOTLE. My third lookup was 34D, and — no way! BENIGN means “not unfavorable” or “neutral”.

    Boo, hiss.

  10. I didn’t even get started when I knew it was time to quit. Agree with everyone else that thought this was the worst puzzle.

  11. 19 mins 4 sec before I gave up with only about 60% filled. No chance, with these bullsh*t fills. Come on …

  12. I did not enjoy this puzzle. Even though I only had an error on INTOTE instead of INTOTA, I took long stares and guesses of the bizarre words with semi-educted guesses of the crosses. I guessed right but I don’t know what they mean.

  13. Tough Saturday for me; took 1:09:15, although really a DNF. I managed to get about 30% filled in and then started guessing/checking, and surprisingly most – 80% – of my guesses were correct. ATONESPEAK, ASHLARS were too tough for me to get. Never heard of most of the singers/shows/actors, although I was able to get some via crosses.

    Really liked NEEDLE, HOTEL clues, although I didn’t get them and the pitch was a new one for me as well. At least EVO was a gimme. NEOCON was good and I managed that one.

    So, pretty tough but at least somewhat enjoyable.

  14. Every puzzlemaker has a goal. Understanding it is important.

    Here’s the point of this one: Why, Mr. David P. Williams, how clever and devious you are!

    You foolish people–why are you complaining? This puzzle was never intended for your enjoyment.

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