LA Times Crossword 18 Sep 21, Saturday

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Constructed by: Matthew Sewell
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 15m 23s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14 Consort of Hephaestus : APHRODITE

As always seems to be the case with Greek gods, Eros and Aphrodite have overlapping spheres of influence. Aphrodite was the goddess of love between a man and a woman, and Eros was the god who stirred the passions of the male. The Roman equivalent of Aphrodite was Venus, and the equivalent of Eros was Cupid.

In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was the god of blacksmiths, sculptors, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes. The Roman equivalent of Hephaestus was Vulcan. Given his spheres of influence, it is perhaps not surprising that Hephaestus made all of the weapons for the gods of Olympus.

17 “__ is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom”: Dylan : A HERO

The birth name of singer Bob Dylan was Robert Zimmerman. Zimmerman changed his name to “Dylan” partly because he was influenced by the poetry of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Famously, in 2016 Dylan became the first musician to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. In presenting the award, the Nobel Prize committee said that Dylan “created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

18 Drilling gp. : ROTC

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be part of a new school’s curriculum.

24 “Interview With the Vampire” actor : REA

Stephen Rea is an Irish actor from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Rea’s most successful role was Fergus in 1992’s “The Crying Game”, for which performance he was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. In “The Crying Game”, Fergus was a member of the IRA. In real life, Rea was married to IRA bomber and hunger striker Dolours Price at the time he made the movie.

“Interview with the Vampire” is a 1994 horror movie based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Anne Rice. Heading the film’s cast are Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. I don’t do vampires, and so haven’t seen this one …

25 Metz pronoun : TOI

In French, the pronouns “toi” and “vous” both mean “you”, with the former being used with family and friends, and children. “Vous” is more formal, and is also the plural form of “toi”.

The city of Metz is in the northeast of France, and close to the German border. Given the proximity to Germany, Metz has both a strong German tradition and a strong French tradition. Metz was handed over to the French following WWI, after nearly 50 years of German rule. It quickly fell back into German hands in 1940 during WWII, with many German officers delighted to have back the city of their birth. Perhaps because of this long association with Germany, the US Army under General Patton encountered stiff resistance when liberating Metz in 1944. The cathedral in Metz is home to the largest expanse of stained glass in the world, almost 70,000 square feet in all.

26 Wood used for electric guitar bodies : ASH

Red ash is also known as green ash, and is a deciduous tree. The wood is used to make guitars as a replacement for the more traditional white ash as it has similar tonal characteristics and is lighter in weight.

32 Singer India.__ : ARIE

India.Arie is an American soul and R&B singer who was born India Arie Simpson in Denver, Colorado.

33 Snacks with a pinwheel design : HO HOS

Ho Hos snack cakes were first produced in San Francisco in 1967. The “Happy Ho Ho” mascot was created for the brand in the 1970s, and was a cartoon character in a Robin Hood outfit. Ho Hos weren’t the best thing to come out of the sixties I’d say …

The firework known as a pinwheel consists of an angled tube(s) attached to a wheel that rotates around a pin when lit. The pinwheel is also known as a Catherine wheel, a reference to Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Christian tradition dictates that Catherine was condemned to death on a spiked breaking wheel, but the wheel shattered when she touched it.

36 Org. for those putting it nicely? : PGA

The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) was founded in 1916 and today has its headquarters (unsurprisingly) in Florida, where so many golfers live. Back in 1916, the PGA was based in New York City.

37 Golfer’s alternative to balls : DISCS

Disc golf is also known as Frisbee golf, and sometimes even Frolf. Believe it or not, disc golf predates the introduction of the Frisbee. The first game was played at a school in Bladworth, Saskatchewan in 1926. The participating schoolkids threw tin lids into circles drawn on a course they created in the school grounds. They named the game “Tin Lid Golf”.

38 Largely dried-up sea : ARAL

The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

39 Active by day : DIURNAL

A diurnal animal is active during the day, whereas a nocturnal animal is active at night.

41 Slant given to a reality TV antagonist : VILLAIN EDIT

On reality shows, participants often claim to be victims of the infamous “villain edit”. This is where clips are chosen selectively to portray a particular person as the “villain of the piece”, possibly unfairly.

43 Some NFL linemen : RGS

Right guard (RG)

46 Brass source : EGO

Someone described as brazen might also be described as shameless. The term “brazen” comes from the Middle English “brasen” meaning “made of brass”. The suggestion is that a shameless person has a hardened, brass-like face. And so, the similar-meaning word “brassy” has the same etymology.

50 Winning four consecutive majors over a two-year span, as named for the first to do it : TIGER SLAM

In golf, a Grand Slam is winning all of the sport’s majors in the same year. A Tiger Slam (first achieved by Tiger Woods) is the winning of four consecutive majors across two calendar years. A Career Grand Slam is the winning of all four majors over a player’s career.

54 Union underminer : SCAB

We first started calling strikebreakers scabs in the early 1800s, and before that a scab was a person who refused to join a trade union (back as early 1777). The word “scab” probably comes from the use of “scab” as a symptom of a skin disease, and so is a term that is meant to insult.

62 “A snap!” : EASY AS PIE!

The idiom “as easy as pie” is used to describe something that is simple to do. It appears that the reference here is to the simplicity of eating pie, rather than making a pie.

Down

1 Nero’s country : PATRIA

“Patria” is Latin for “native country, homeland”.

Nero was Emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 CE, and he had quite the family life. When he was just 16-years-old Nero married his step-sister Claudia Octavia. He also had his mother and step-brother executed.

2 Spatter collectors : APRONS

In Old French, a “naperon” was “small table-cloth”. The term was absorbed into English as “napron”, describing a cloth used to cover the front of a person at work. Over time, “a napron” was heard as “an apron”, giving us our contemporary noun “apron”.

3 Organic roof choice : THATCH

Thatch is a dried vegetation used as a roofing material. The choice of vegetation depends on what is growing locally. Common thatching materials are straw, rushes, heather and palm branches.

4 Durance of “Smallville” : ERICA

Erica Durance is an actress from Calgary, Alberta. Durance played Lois Lane in the TV show “Smallville” and moved on to play the lead in the medical drama “Saving Hope”.

“Smallville” is a superhero TV show set in the fictional Kansas town of Smallville, where Clark Kent grew up before becoming Superman. The show originally ran from 2001 to 2011, and starred Tom Welling as Clark Kent, and Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang.

5 The “N” in NDA : NON-

Non-disclosure agreement (NDA)

6 Jerry Rice’s record 208, briefly : TDS

Retired footballer Jerry Rice scored a record 208 touchdowns in his career. Rice also won three Super Bowl rings with the San Francisco 49ers; in Super Bowl XXIII vs the Bengals, Super Bowl XXIV vs the Broncos and Super Bowl XXIX vs the Chargers.

10 Connors rival : ASHE

Arthur Ashe was a professional tennis player from Richmond, Virginia. In his youth, Ashe found himself having to travel great distances to play against Caucasian opponents due to the segregation that still existed in his home state. He was rewarded for his dedication by being selected for the 1963 US Davis Cup team, the first African-American player to be so honored. Ashe continued to run into trouble because of his ethnicity though, and in 1968 was denied entry into South Africa to play in the South African Open. In 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack and had bypass surgery, with follow-up surgery four years later during which he contracted HIV from blood transfusions. Ashe passed away in 1993 due to complications from AIDS. Shortly afterwards, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.

Jimmy Connors is a former number-one ranked professional tennis player. In fact, he was the first male player to hold that number-one ranking for over 200 weeks. Famously, Connors was engaged to fellow champion Chris Evert in the mid-seventies.

11 Tax pro’s suggestions : SHELTERS

Tax shelters are methods used to reduce taxable income, hence reducing tax liability. Tax shelters can be legal or illegal. The most common example of a legal tax shelter is a sanctioned retirement plan, such as an individual retirement account (IRA).

12 Biting : SARDONIC

Something described as sardonic is skeptically humorous. Believe it or not, there is a link between the term “sardonic” and the island of “Sardinia”. Apparently, Greeks believed that eating the “sardonion” (literally “plant from Sardinia”) resulted in facial convulsions resembling sardonic laughter, and then death. Quite interesting …

20 Deck wood : TEAK

Teak is a hardwood tree in the mint family that is commonly found in monsoon forests of Asia. Teak’s tight grain and high oil content make it very suitable for constructing outdoor furniture, where weather resistance is valued. For the same reason, teak is the wood of choice for wooden decks on boats.

22 Free TV spots : PSAS

Public service announcement (PSA)

23 Convention: Abbr. : STD

Standard (std.)

28 Body of water usually defined as being above the tree line : ALPINE LAKE

Lakes found above an elevation of 10,000 feet above sea level are classified as alpine lakes. Because such a lake usually has colder water, they are often clearer than lakes at lower altitudes, having less growth of moss and algae.

35 Chlorine and iodine : HALOGENS

The halogens are a group of elements in the periodic table consisting of fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine and astatine. The term “halogen” was the name that was originally proposed for chlorine when it was first discovered.

Chlorine is a yellow-green gas that is very poisonous at high concentrations. As such, chlorine gas was used in WWI, earning the shameful title of the world’s first gaseous chemical weapon. Chlorine was mistakenly believed to be an oxide for many years, until English chemist Sir Humphry Davy correctly concluded that the gas was an element. Davy coined the name “chlorine”, from the Greek “chloros” meaning “”green-yellow”.

The chemical element iodine is a halogen (as are fluorine, chlorine and bromine) and has the symbol “I”. At room temperature, iodine is a purple-black solid. With heat, it melts into violet liquid, and at high temperatures a violet gas. The name “iodine” comes from the Greek “ioeides” meaning “violet-colored”.

37 Big __ : DATA

Really large and complex sets of data that require special handling and processing are referred to as “big data”.

40 “Fire” author Anaïs : NIN

Anaïs Nin was a French author who was famous for the journals that she wrote for over sixty years from the age of 11 right up to her death. Nin also wrote highly regarded erotica and cited D. H. Lawrence as someone from whom she drew inspiration. Nin was married to banker and artist Hugh Parker Guiler in 1923. Decades later in 1955, Nin married former actor Rupert Pole, even though she was still married to Guiler. Nin and Pole had their marriage annulled in 1966, but just for legal reasons, and they continued to live together as husband and wife until Nin passed away in 1977.

“Fire: From A Journal of Love: the Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin (1934–1937)” is a 1995 publication of material from Nin’s diaries. The excerpts were released after her death, and deal with matters considered too sensitive to have been published during her lifetime, or the lifetimes of others mentioned.

42 Circulatory passage : AORTA

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

43 Make back, as initial costs : RECOUP

To recoup is to make up for a loss. The term “recoup” comes from the Old French “re-” meaning “back” and “couper” meaning “to cut”.

44 Donatella’s designer brother : GIANNI

Gianni Versace was an Italian fashion designer. Versace’s death was perhaps as famous as his life. He was murdered in 1997 outside his mansion in Miami Beach by one Andrew Cunanan. It is not certain that Cunanan knew who his victim was, as this was the last in a spree of five murders committed by him over a four month period. A few days after killing Versace, Cunanan used the same gun to commit suicide.

Donatella Versace is a fashion designer, and the younger sister of Gianni Versace. After Gianni was murdered in 1997, Donatella inherited a portion of her brother’s fashion company and took over as Versace’s creative director.

45 “Venerable” Eng. monk : ST BEDE

The Venerable Bede was a monk in the north of England in the eighth century AD. Saint Bede is mainly known as an author and scholar, publisher of “The Ecclesiastical History of the English People”. In his writings, Bede struggled with the two common ways of referring to dates at that time. Bede turned to the anno domini dating method that had been devised by Dionysius Exiguus in 525. Bede’s writings of circa 730 were extremely influential and helped popularize the “anno domini” method. He is sometimes referred to as “The Father of English History”.

49 Original platform for Doom : MS-DOS

MS-DOS (short for “Microsoft Disk Operating System”) was the main operating system used by IBM-compatible PCs in the eighties and for much of the nineties.

“Doom” is a series of video games with a long history. The original version was released for MS-DOS in 1993. “Doom Eternal” was released in 2020.

51 City at the intersection of I-90 and I-79 : ERIE

Interstate 79 runs from Charleston, West Virginia in the south to Erie, Pennsylvania in the north.

I-90 runs in an east-west direction from Seattle to Boston, and is the longest interstate in the US. When I-90 was built, it made use of several existing roads, including the Massachusetts Turnpike, New York State Thruway, Ohio Turnpike, Indiana Toll Road, Chicago Skyway, and the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway.

58 Detergent brand : ERA

Era was the first liquid laundry detergent produced by Procter & Gamble.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Dispute over intellectual property : PATENT WAR
10 Little help? : ASST
14 Consort of Hephaestus : APHRODITE
15 “Don’t give me that!” : PSHAW!
16 Boarding site : TRAIN STOP
17 “__ is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom”: Dylan : A HERO
18 Drilling gp. : ROTC
19 Metalworker’s joints : SPOT WELDS
21 Like shouts in texts : IN CAPS
24 “Interview With the Vampire” actor : REA
25 Metz pronoun : TOI
26 Wood used for electric guitar bodies : ASH
27 Catch on : START A TREND
31 Storage shed securer : PADLOCK
32 Singer India.__ : ARIE
33 Snacks with a pinwheel design : HO HOS
36 Org. for those putting it nicely? : PGA
37 Golfer’s alternative to balls : DISCS
38 Largely dried-up sea : ARAL
39 Active by day : DIURNAL
41 Slant given to a reality TV antagonist : VILLAIN EDIT
43 Some NFL linemen : RGS
46 Brass source : EGO
47 “Take __” : ONE
48 “Just say the word” : NAME IT
50 Winning four consecutive majors over a two-year span, as named for the first to do it : TIGER SLAM
54 Union underminer : SCAB
55 Sluggish : INERT
56 “Is that all?” : ARE WE DONE?
59 More than passion : MANIA
60 Crack wise : KID AROUND
61 “What __?” : ELSE
62 “A snap!” : EASY AS PIE!

Down

1 Nero’s country : PATRIA
2 Spatter collectors : APRONS
3 Organic roof choice : THATCH
4 Durance of “Smallville” : ERICA
5 The “N” in NDA : NON-
6 Jerry Rice’s record 208, briefly : TDS
7 Roasters, say : WITS
8 Crowning : ATOP
9 Place for marks : REPORT CARD
10 Connors rival : ASHE
11 Tax pro’s suggestions : SHELTERS
12 Biting : SARDONIC
13 Feature of every story, it’s said : TWO SIDES
15 Grab for clumsily : PAW AT
20 Deck wood : TEAK
22 Free TV spots : PSAS
23 Convention: Abbr. : STD
28 Body of water usually defined as being above the tree line : ALPINE LAKE
29 Aberrant way to go : ROGUE
30 Bit of fencing : RAIL
31 Request votes from : POLL
33 Be available : HAVE TIME
34 Not seen before : ORIGINAL
35 Chlorine and iodine : HALOGENS
37 Big __ : DATA
39 Rackets : DINS
40 “Fire” author Anaïs : NIN
42 Circulatory passage : AORTA
43 Make back, as initial costs : RECOUP
44 Donatella’s designer brother : GIANNI
45 “Venerable” Eng. monk : ST BEDE
49 Original platform for Doom : MS-DOS
51 City at the intersection of I-90 and I-79 : ERIE
52 Stage solo, perhaps : ARIA
53 Scrips : MEDS
57 “__ cool!” : WAY
58 Detergent brand : ERA

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 18 Sep 21, Saturday”

  1. LAT: About 30 minutes with no errors. Fairly easy for Saturday. Never heard of “big data” and think the 60 across clue would have been better phrased as” Crack wisely.”

  2. Had trouble with VILLAIN EDIT.. Never heard of it and a couple of the crosses had me befuddled. Had AORTA for 42D but changed it to TORIC when I filled in MANIC at 59A and the trap closed on me. Couldn’t recover.
    My undergraduate degree is Computer Science and worked in that field for about 20 years. Never heard the phrase “BIG DATA”. maybe it’s more common in other sciences.. We referred to data that was complex data as “COMPLEX DATA”.

  3. 29:05

    Were the puzzle gods listening to me complaining about having to learn about even “reality” TV? Because the VILLAINEDIT is downright evil.

    And kind of interesting.

  4. No errors at the end. The northeast corner gave me fits. I had
    “spotwelds ” written in and then thought it was wrong and erased
    it. I should have stuck with my guns; and after figuring out
    15a was “pshaw” instead of “no way” I went back to spot welds
    and it all came together because that gave me “paw at”. Voila!

    Spent a lot of time on this one.

  5. Very hard, but no errors. I did have a bunch of lookups- 1st time in a long time. Didn’t know VILLAIN EDIT. I do know the term BIG DATA, but only got it once I had DA_A by going thru the letters. Never head of PATRIA.

  6. Initially thought it was impossible but stuck with it and finished with no errors, no lookups . . . After 90 minutes. Enjoyed the challenge.

  7. @Anon Mike
    You pretty much catch onto the general idea and distinction. (CIS Degree here)
    “Complex data” is more relating to the type of data – if it consists of something that’s not a traditional data set type (alpha, numeric, date), then it becomes “complex data”. If you have an image or a PDF as part of a data set, even if there’s only (say) 10 records, it’s still “complex data”.

    However, “Big Data” is a volume of data which CAN consist of only traditional data set types. Something that can process 10 or 100 records successfully is a lot easier to handle, test, and get done than something that will have to scale up to 10m or 100m records. Even in my hobbyist stuff (latest example, pulling words out of crossword PUZ files), I’ve had code break simply because I was throwing a lot of data at it and had to re-plan and think the code out to work a little better (which was a pure pain because it literally required minutes per test run to see what was going on).

    Though, given the context as it exists within this puzzle, I wouldn’t have used the clue simply because it’s too niche to what most solvers will know (and I’m sure most could post here to attest the same). The distinctions are quite obviously confusing. From a crossword solving standpoint, it’s a good example of inference and just having to fill in the blanks on something that (odds on – I didn’t) you’re never going to have a shot of knowing right out of the gate.

  8. If someone is sluggish he or she is certainly not inert. Brass is ego? C’mon!! And “catch on” means later not “start on.” Sewell’s sense doesn’t seem very sensible to me.

    1. The logical answer to “catch on” would be “trend” alone without “start a”…I’ll give you that one. But sluggish and inert are most definitely synonyms. Every site I checked confirmed it…stopped at 5. And the clue was “brass source”, not brass. Ego fits imo.

  9. 21:44 with no errors or lookups. However, it was a head-scratcher, esp. at the top.

    I spent time working through the top half with little success, then went down and filled in the SE corner. The SW corner resolved when I changed URAL to ARAL (regularly confuse the sea with the mountains), and after guessing HOHOS and getting 33D and 34D, realized it was TIGERslam and not NOVAKslam. The top section came together when I gave up on ITALIA for (which became PATRIA), filled in APRONS, changed HENS>WITS, and BORG>ASHE.

    I also never heard of a villain edit. The term Big Data has been around the IT world for about 15 years. It came about as a way to categorize, sort, parse, and analyze the HUGE amount of data being rapidly generated by the proliferation of computing power.

  10. Fun tricky Saturday; took a respectable 39:56 with no errors or peeks. Mostly solved the sections like Ray C, but I had different problems. Lots of changes and waiting for crosses and wags. I had grandSLAM until that became untenable. Didn’t know ERICA or PATRIA (nice to know), but I had THATCH and APRONS and most of the rest in the NW.

    Never had too many HOHOs back in the day…I was mostly a Hostess pie person 🙂
    After I got out of the service I got into tennis back in ’78. By then Connor’s rival was Borg and Nastase. We used to get together to watch those epic matches. I don’t remember ever seeing Ashe; I guess he had retired by that point.

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