LA Times Crossword 4 Sep 21, Saturday

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Constructed by: Kyle Dolan
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 8m 37s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Impulsively : HALF-COCKED

To go off half-cocked is to act impetuously. The phrase “half-cocked” comes from the use of firearms, in which a gun might go off half-cocked, prematurely.

16 It’s 60 in the current Congress : AVERAGE AGE

Even though the average age of members of Congress is going up, so is the average age of the population at large. In fact, Congress members are getting younger relative to the population. At the beginning of the 20th century, the average member of congress was about 2.3 times as old as the average American. By the beginning of the 21st century, the average member of congress was relatively young, about 1.6 times as old as the average American. Quite interesting …

17 What Sicilians call “Muncibeddu” : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcanoes in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” (sometimes “Muncibeddu”) in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

19 __ Angelico: Renaissance artist : FRA

Fra Angelico was an Italian Renaissance artist. The name we use for him in English translates as “Angelic friar”. His birth name was Guido di Pietro.

The Renaissance is the period in European history that bridges the Dark Ages and the Modern Era. “Renaissance” is French for “rebirth”, and is a term reflecting the rebirth of interest in the learnings from ancient Greece and ancient Rome.

20 Karaoke selection : OLDIE

“Karate” is a Japanese word meaning “empty hand”, and the related word “karaoke” translates as “empty orchestra”.

21 Tango composer __ Piazzolla : ASTOR

Astor Piazzolla was a composer from Argentina who is most associated with the tango. Active in the second half of the 20th century, he pioneered the new style of tango known as “nuevo tango”.

22 The Ig Nobel Prize, e.g. : SATIRE

The Ig Nobel Prize is a series of ten satirical awards presented annually since 1991. Despite their humorous nature, the awards do have some gravitas and are presented by actual Nobel laureates. The main thrust of the award is veiled criticism of trivial scientific research.

26 NBA’s Nikola Jokic, e.g. : SERB

Nikola Jokić is a professional basketball player who was born in former-Yugoslavia. He was playing in the Serbian League before being drafted in 2014 by the Denver Nuggets of the NBA. Jokić won a silver medal with the Serbian national team when they lost to the USA in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

27 Parting of the Pacific : ALOHA

The Hawaiian word “aloha” has many meanings in English: affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. More recently, “aloha” has come to mean “hello” and “goodbye”, but only since the mid-1800s.

29 Spitz toy, briefly : POM

The Pomeranian is a small breed of dog named for the Pomerania region of Europe (part of eastern Germany and northern Poland). The breed was much loved by the royalty of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 19th century, Queen Victoria owned a particularly small Pomeranian. Due to the notoriety of the monarch’s pet, the Pomeranian was bred for small size, so that during the Queen’s admittedly long reign, the size of the average “pom” was reduced by 50% …

Spitz-type dogs are those with long thick fur that is usually white. Most spitz-type dogs seem to have originated in the Arctic and/or East Asia. Examples of breeds described as spitz-type are the Alaskan Malamute and the Canadian Eskimo Dog.

33 Lovett with Grammys : LYLE

As well as being famous in his own right, country singer Lyle Lovett is known for his 1993 marriage to actress Julia Roberts. The pair had a whirlwind romance lasting just three weeks before they eloped and were wed. The marriage itself was also relatively whirlwind, lasting less than two years.

34 One-liner : JAPE

“To jape” means “to joke or quip”. The exact origins of “jape” are unclear, but it does seem to come from Old French. In the mid-1600s, “to jape” was a slang term meaning “to have sex with”. No joke …!

35 It calculates using qubits : QUANTUM COMPUTER

I don’t understand quantum computing at all. What I do know is that semiconductor computing operates at the atomic level, and quantum computing at the subatomic level. That means faster computers occupying even smaller spaces.

The Holy Grail is a theme found throughout Arthurian legend. The grail itself is some vessel, with the term “grail” coming from the Old French “graal” meaning “cup or bowl made of earth, wood or metal”. Over time, the legend of the Holy Grail became mingled with stories of the Holy Chalice of the Christian tradition, the cup used to serve wine at the Last Supper. Over time, the term “grail” came to be used for any desired or sought-after object.

40 Array with two guards, in football lingo : O-LINE

Offensive line (O-line)

41 Dead end? : DEE

There is a letter D (dee) at either end of the word “dead”.

45 Coming attraction, say : TEASER

The term “trailer” was originally used in the film industry to describe advertisements for upcoming features. These trailers were originally shown at the end of a movie being screened, hence the name. This practice quickly fell out of favor as theater patrons usually left at the end of the movie without paying much attention to the trailers. So, the trailers were moved to the beginning of the show, but the term “trailer” persisted.

53 L.A. to Palm Springs dir. : ESE

The desert resort city of Palm Springs is located about 100 miles east of Los Angeles. The name “Palm Springs” dates back at least to 1853, and probably is a reference to the abundant California fan palms that are native to the area. However, earlier Spanish explorers used the place name “La Palma de la Mano de Dios” (The Palm of God’s Hand), giving an alternative derivation for the “Palm Springs” moniker.

58 Freezing fog consequence : RIME

Rime is the beautiful coating of ice that forms on surfaces like roofs, trees and grass, when cold water freezes instantly under the right conditions.

Down

1 Grievances : BEEFS

A beef is a complaint or a grievance. It’s not quite clear how “beef” came to have this meaning, but one suggestion is that it derives from the habit of soldiers at the end of the 1800s complaining about the quality or availability of beef in their rations.

3 Biannual political event : SENATE RACE

The six-year terms enjoyed by US senators are staggered, so that every two years about one third of the 100 US Senate seats come up for reelection.

4 Agts. outside gates : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

5 Berry with awards : HALLE

Actress Halle Berry was the first African-American woman to win a Best Actress Oscar, which she received for her performance in the 2001 movie “Monster’s Ball”. Berry also won a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress in 2005 for playing the title role in “Catwoman”, and she very graciously accepted that award in person. Good for her!

7 “The Periodic Table” author Primo __ : LEVI

Primo Levi was an Italian chemist and writer. His best known written work is “If This Is a Man”, a 1947 biographical account of the year he spent in Auschwitz. He was one of 650 Jews transported to the camp in 1944, and one of only 20 who survived imprisonment.

“The Periodic Table” is a collection of 21 short stories by Primo Levi. The stories are mainly autobiographical, and each is named for an element in the Periodic Table. Each story is connected to the title element in some way.

8 Climbed without ropes or harness : FREE SOLOED

When free solo climbing, a climber ascends the rock face without the use of protective equipment such as ropes or harnesses. If you’d like to spend a couple of terrifying hours in the comfort of your family room, I recommend viewing the 2018 Oscar-winning documentary film “Free Solo”.

9 Despicable one : CAD

Our word “cad”, meaning “person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.

10 Lakota tribe : OGLALA

The Oglala are a subtribe of the Lakota Native American people. The name “Oglala” translates from the Lakota language as “to scatter one’s own”.

13 Kellogg’s brand that can be spelled from “Kellogg’s” : EGGO

Eggo is a line of frozen waffles and related products made by Kellogg’s. When they were introduced in the 1930s, the name “Eggo” was chosen to promote the “egginess” of the batter. “Eggo” replaced “Froffles”, the original name chosen by melding “frozen” and “waffles”.

The Kellogg Company was founded in 1906 by Will Keith Kellogg as the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company. Will established the enterprise while working with his brother John Harvey Kellogg at his Battle Creek Sanitarium. The brothers created corn flakes as a health food for patients at the sanitarium.

14 Fawning parents? : DEER

A fawn is a young deer, usually one less than a year old.

23 She outwitted Sherlock : IRENE

The character Irene Adler only appears in one of the many Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the story “A Scandal in Bohemia”, Holmes expresses remarkable admiration for Adler as a woman and as a foe. As a result, derivative works in the Holmes genre often feature Adler as something of a romantic interest for Sherlock.

28 Material for Katie Ledecky : LYCRA

What we call spandex in the US is known as lycra in Britain and Ireland. “Spandex” was chosen as the name for the elastic fiber as it is an anagram of “expands”.

Katie Ledecky is a swimmer who won her first Olympic gold medal at just 15 years of age, in the 800-meter freestyle. In 2016, Ledecky also became the youngest person to make “Time” magazine’s “Time 100” annual list of most influential people in the American world. Katie’s uncle is Jon Ledecky, an owner of the New York Islanders hockey team.

29 45-Down seller : PATISSERIE
45D Fancy cake : TORTE

A patisserie is a French bakery that sells pastries, or “tartes”.

30 Kool & the Gang hit with the repeated line, “Get down with the genie” : OPEN SESAME

The band called Kool & the Gang have been around since the mid-sixties, and is most famous for the hit “Celebration”. The band was co-founded by Robert “Kool” Bell, hence the name.

32 Barred from further rounds, briefly : DQ’ED

Disqualified (DQ’ed)

34 Child cooking : JULIA

Julia Child was an American chef who is recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public. During WWII, Julia Child joined the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), the predecessor to the CIA. She worked for the OSS in Washington, Ceylon and China. While in the OSS, she met her husband Paul Child who was also an OSS employee. Paul joined the Foreign Service after the war, and it was his posting to France that created the opportunity for Julie to learn about French cuisine. If you haven’t seen it, I highly, highly recommend the movie “Julie & Julia”, one of the best films of 2009. Meryl Streep does a fabulous job playing the larger-than-life Julia Child.

36 Part of some riverside toponyms : UPON

A toponym is a name that comes from a place or region. For example, New Jersey is named for the island of Jersey in the English Channel, and Indianapolis is named for the state of Indiana.

44 Brit’s greeting : HULLO

Before the 1880s, the most popular greeting in English was “hallo” or “hullo”. The use of “hello” became popular along with the proliferation of telephones. When the telephone was invented, Alexander Graham Bell suggested that the greeting “Ahoy” be used when answering. Thomas Edison preferred “Hello”, which won out. By the end of the 1880s, telephone operators were being referred to as “hello-girls”.

45 Fancy cake : TORTE

A torte is a type of cake made primarily with eggs, sugar and ground nuts (but no flour).

47 1974 Eurovision champion : ABBA

“Waterloo” is the song that effectively launched the astounding career of Swedish band ABBA. They performed “Waterloo” in 1974 as the Swedish entry in the annual Eurovision Song Contest, and walked away with the competition (I remember it well!). The contest has been running since 1956, and “Waterloo” was chosen (in 2005) as the best song in the competition’s history.

Eurovision is a TV network that was founded in 1954 in Geneva. The network encompasses dozens of broadcasting organizations, not only in Europe, but around the world. Eurovision was set up initially to facilitate the exchange of TV programming. Today, the Eurovision brand is mainly associated (to the public) with multinational competitions that are arranged with a host broadcaster. The best example of such an event is the Eurovision Song Contest that is held annually. Another Eurovision event that was huge in Europe from the sixties through the nineties was “Jeux Sans Frontières”, a multinational TV game show.

48 Library offering : LOAN

Our word “library” ultimately derives from the Latin “liber” meaning “book”.

49 Full of smarm : OILY

The word “smarm” describes insincere flattery. The term comes from a colloquial word “smalm” that was used in the mid-19th century to mean “smear the hair with some sort of styling product”.

52 Private dining room : MESS

“Mess” first came into English about 1300, when it described the list of food needed for a meal. The term comes from the Old French word “mes” meaning a portion of food or a course at a meal. This usage in English evolved into “mess” meaning a jumbled mass of anything, from the concept of “mixed food”. The original usage, in the sense of a food for a meal, surfaced again in the military in the 1500s when a “mess” was a communal eating place.

55 Female rabbit : DOE

An adult male rabbit is called a “buck”, and an adult female is a “doe”. A young rabbit is a “kitten” or “kit”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Yours truly” alternative : BEST
5 Impulsively : HALF-COCKED
15 They may not want to run into each other : EXES
16 It’s 60 in the current Congress : AVERAGE AGE
17 What Sicilians call “Muncibeddu” : ETNA
18 Flaunted one’s wealth, perhaps : LIVED LARGE
19 __ Angelico: Renaissance artist : FRA
20 Karaoke selection : OLDIE
21 Tango composer __ Piazzolla : ASTOR
22 The Ig Nobel Prize, e.g. : SATIRE
24 Time for cuts : SALE
26 NBA’s Nikola Jokic, e.g. : SERB
27 Parting of the Pacific : ALOHA
29 Spitz toy, briefly : POM
32 “__ say …” : DARE I
33 Lovett with Grammys : LYLE
34 One-liner : JAPE
35 It calculates using qubits : QUANTUM COMPUTER
38 Latin “behold” : ECCE
39 Sweat spot : PORE
40 Array with two guards, in football lingo : O-LINE
41 Dead end? : DEE
42 “Oh, no!” : SO SAD!
43 Loving touch : KISS
44 Suggestion : HINT
45 Coming attraction, say : TEASER
47 Voiced : ALOUD
50 Tries out : DEMOS
53 L.A. to Palm Springs dir. : ESE
54 Resulted in fighting : BOILED OVER
56 Have on the run : GRAB
57 One using a lot of hot air : BALLOONIST
58 Freezing fog consequence : RIME
59 Request for more input : ANYONE ELSE?
60 Stagger : REEL

Down

1 Grievances : BEEFS
2 Pizzeria request : EXTRA SAUCE
3 Biannual political event : SENATE RACE
4 Agts. outside gates : TSA
5 Berry with awards : HALLE
6 Way more than casual : AVID
7 “The Periodic Table” author Primo __ : LEVI
8 Climbed without ropes or harness : FREE SOLOED
9 Despicable one : CAD
10 Lakota tribe : OGLALA
11 Stop : CEASE
12 Small racer : KART
13 Kellogg’s brand that can be spelled from “Kellogg’s” : EGGO
14 Fawning parents? : DEER
20 Realm of influence : ORBIT
23 She outwitted Sherlock : IRENE
25 “I’m standing right here” : AHEM
27 Close to getting through : ALMOST DONE
28 Material for Katie Ledecky : LYCRA
29 45-Down seller : PATISSERIE
30 Kool & the Gang hit with the repeated line, “Get down with the genie” : OPEN SESAME
31 Trifling : MERE
32 Barred from further rounds, briefly : DQ’ED
34 Child cooking : JULIA
36 Part of some riverside toponyms : UPON
37 Facebook attention-getters : POKES
42 Not face-to-face, in a way : SIDE-ON
44 Brit’s greeting : HULLO
45 Fancy cake : TORTE
46 Defy authority : REBEL
47 1974 Eurovision champion : ABBA
48 Library offering : LOAN
49 Full of smarm : OILY
51 No good : EVIL
52 Private dining room : MESS
55 Female rabbit : DOE
56 “I’m losing it!” : GRR!

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 4 Sep 21, Saturday”

  1. LAT: Well more than an hour with no mistakes and several guesses. (I can’t grasp how Bill finished it in less than 9 minutes–totally beyond me.) it was a struggle, but persistence paid off.

    1. @Corky
      Bill’s description wasn’t that good in this regard. Such a designation is very common in Britain. For example, Shakespeare’s birthplace is known as Stratford-upon-Avon, as the town is on the Avon river, though a lot will just call the town Stratford.

  2. 7:37

    Interesting to see QUANTUMCOMPUTER. I remain skeptical about the reality. Or not.

    I got ALMOSTDONE at about the right point.

  3. 23:53 and no errors. But LOTS of issues. The clues in this one were particularly cynical and, to borrow from 49 Down’s answer, “oily”.

    This is one of those grids where you actively feel you’re being lied to and tricked the whole way. Not very enjoyable.

  4. A long struggle and quite a few lookups. Ended with no errors
    but can’t really take credit for it. Unlike Corky, “ecce” was my
    first correct entry, having been a Latin student in high school.

  5. 21:55 with extra time pondering OiLY/BOiLEDOVER. Initially had a W for the I, but suspected “owly” didn’t fit for “Full of smarm.” Had to change JOKE>JAPE, DARES>DAREI. I had not thought of a mess as being a private dining room.

  6. Tricky but eventually doable Saturday; took 35:05 with no errors or peeks. Lots of poking around and getting a fill here and there until just the NE remained which finally came together in about 10 minutes of my 35 total.

    Learned a lot today and I always ask for extra sauce when I order a pizza.

    And, your Sports Update: After yesterday’s bull pen game by the Dodgers, today the Giants lost their bull pen game today…So, it’s all tied again and the series is up for grabs later today…never a dull moment in the NL West.

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