LA Times Crossword 15 Jan 22, Saturday

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Constructed by: C.C. Burnikel
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 9m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

16 Fair : EXPO

The first “World’s Fair” was held in 1851, known back then as the “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations”. The fair was the idea of Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria. It was held in a magnificent glass and cast-iron structure called the Crystal Palace that was purpose-built for the occasion. The “Great Exhibition” spawned a tradition of what became known as World’s Fairs, expositions that feature national pavilions created by participating countries. The term “Expo” was coined for Expo 67, a 1967 World’s Fair held in Montreal. Since then, we’ve been using “expo” to describe any large exposition or trade show.

18 Banh mi spread : MAYO

Mayonnaise originated in the town of Mahon in Menorca, a Mediterranean island belonging to Spain. The Spanish called the sauce “salsa mahonesa” after the town, and this morphed into the French word “mayonnaise” that we use in English today.

The French introduced the baguette into Vietnam in the days the country was a French colony. Today, a single-serving baguette is known in Vietnam as “bánh mì” (meaning “wheat bread”). The term has been extended, particularly here in the US, to describe a Vietnamese sandwich.

22 Pasture mom : MARE

There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:

  • Foal: horse of either sex that is less than one year old
  • Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
  • Filly: female horse under the age of four
  • Colt: male horse under the age of four
  • Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
  • Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
  • Mare: female horse four years or older

25 Trumpet : EXTOL

To extol something is to praise it loudly. The term “to extol” comes from the Latin “extollere” meaning “to raise up, elevate”.

26 Guiding lights? : STARS

Because the orientation of the Earth’s axis shifts, albeit very slowly, the position of north relative to the stars changes over time. The bright star that is closest to true north is Polaris, and so we call Polaris the “North Star” or “Pole Star”. 14,000 years ago, the nearest bright star to true north was Vega, and it will be so again in about 12,000 years time.

31 Architectural deets : SPECS

“Deets” is slang for “details”.

33 Omission indications : ELLIPSES

An ellipsis (plural “ellipses”) is a series of dots (usually three) used to indicate an omission in some text. The term comes from the Greek word “élleipsis”, which means “omission”.

35 In : CHIC

“Chic” is a French word meaning “stylish”.

37 Instrument akin to an oud : LUTE

The lute is a stringed instrument with a long neck and usually a pear-shaped body. It is held and played like a guitar, and was popular from the Middle Ages right through to the late Baroque era. A person who plays the lute can be referred to as a “lutenist”.

The oud is a stringed instrument that resembles a lute, but with a much shorter neck and no frets.

38 Bucolic : PASTORAL

The term “pastoral” means “relating to the countryside”, or more specifically “relating to shepherds”. “Pastor” is Latin for “shepherd”.

The word “bucolic”, meaning “rustic, rural”, comes to us from the Greek word “boukolos” meaning “cowherd”.

45 Tony-winning playwright Ensler : EVE

Eve Ensler is a playwright whose most famous work is “The Vagina Monologues”. When Ensler was only 23 years of age, she adopted a 15 year old boy. We are familiar with that boy on the big screen these days; actor Dylan McDermott.

54 Reason to go green? : ENVY

William Shakespeare was one of the first to associate the color green with envy. He called jealousy the “green-eyed monster” in his play “Othello”.

56 Software to debug : BETAS

In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the alpha version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a beta and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as “beta”. The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, hopefully bug-free.

Back in 1947, famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing the term “bug” in the context of computing.

Down

3 Dilapidated digs : RATTRAP

To dilapidate is to bring into ruin. The verb originally applied to just buildings, and came from the Latin “dis-” (meaning “asunder”) and “lapidare” (meaning “throw stones at”). I guess that’s one way to ruin a building …

4 Space-saving abbr. : ETC

The Latin phrase “et cetera” translates as “and other things”. The term is usually abbreviated to “etc.”

5 La Jolla scientific research institute namesake : SALK

Jonas Salk was an American medical researcher who developed the first safe polio vaccine. In the fifties, especially after the 1952 epidemic, polio was the biggest health fear in the US. It killed thousands and left even more with disabilities, and most of the victims were children. The situation was dire and the authorities immediately quarantined the family of any polio victim. That quarantine was so strict that in many cases the families were not even permitted to attend the funeral of a family member who died from the disease.

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California was founded in 1960 by Jonas Salk himself. Initial funding for the institute was provided by the March of Dimes foundation that was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. One of the leading professors at the Salk Institute was Francis Crick, one of the molecular biologists who discovered the structure of DNA.

9 MRI technician’s request : LIE STILL

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate images that can be used by medical professionals to diagnose injury and disease.

10 “__ Djinns”: Franck symphonic poem : LES

“Les Djinns” is a symphonic poem by César Franck that premiered in 1885. The inspiration for the piece is a poem of the same name by Victor Hugo.

11 Century 21 rival : RE/MAX

RE/MAX is an international real estate company headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The name “RE/MAX” stands for “real estate maximum”, and the company’s logo is a hot-air balloon with RE/MAX emblazoned on it.

12 Ambitious track wagers : EXACTAS

To win a bet called an exacta (also “perfecta”), the person betting must name the horses that finish first and second, and in the exact order. The related bet called the trifecta requires naming of the first, second and third-place finishers in the right order.

14 Piccolo sounds : TOOTLES

To tootle is to toot, to blow a horn.

The piccolo is a woodwind instrument that looks like a small flute. Piccolos play one octave higher than flutes, and so the instrument is known by Italian musicians as an “ottavino”, Italian for “little octave”. “Piccolo” is Italian for “small”.

32 HomePod Mini voice : SIRI

The HomePod Mini is Apple’s smart speaker, which competes with similar products from Google and Amazon in particular. Apple introduced the larger HomePod in 2017, but discontinued it in favor of its smaller cousin in 2021.

34 Diagonally cut pasta : PENNE

The pasta known as penne comes in two main types, i.e. penne lisce (which is smooth) and penne rigate (which is furrowed).

36 Vine fruit that can be dried and used as a container : CALABASH

The calabash is a vine that bears fruit that is often harvested for food, but also for use as a container. The fruit comes in a variety of shapes and can be quite large, perhaps over a meter in length. Alternative names for the calabash are bottle gourd, long melon and birdhouse gourd.

38 Smoothie King Center NBAer : PELICAN

The New Orleans Hornets joined the NBA in 1988 as an expansion team, originally based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The team was going to be called the Charlotte Spirit, but the name was changed following a “name the team” contest run in the local area. During the Revolutionary War, Lord General Cornwallis had referred to Charlotte as a “veritable nest of hornets” due the city’s resistance to British occupation, which explains the local fans’ fondness for the name “Hornets”. The franchise was moved to New Orleans for the 2002 season, as attendance wasn’t big enough to sustain the team in Charlotte. The team had to play two seasons in Oklahoma City due to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, and played as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. After several years back in New Orleans, the franchise was renamed to the Pelicans, a nod to the Brown Pelican that is the Louisiana state bird.

The Smoothie King Center in New Orleans has been home to the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans since 2002. The facility opened in 1999 as the New Orleans Arena, and Smoothie King bought the naming rights in 2014.

39 California state fruit : AVOCADO

The wonderful avocado comes from a tree that is native to Mexico and Central America. The avocado fruit is sometimes called an avocado pear, because of its shape, even though it is not related to the pear at all. The fruit might also be referred to as an alligator pear, due to the roughness of the green skin of some avocado cultivars.

40 Duel personalities : SECONDS

In a duel, the seconds are usually friends of the competing parties. The duties of the seconds were twofold. They would first attempt to resolve the dispute in a manner acceptable to all. If peaceful resolution was not possible, then the seconds were tasked with overseeing the mechanics of the duel.

41 Some sleep on it : LUNESTA

Lunesta is a Sunovion-owned brand name for the hypnotic drug eszopiclone that can be prescribed for insomnia.

43 Mall features : CINEMAS

Surprisingly (to me!), our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk” or “enclosed shopping space”, comes from the Italian for “mallet”. All of our shopping-style malls are named for “The Mall” in St. James’s Park in London. This tree-lined promenade was so called as it used to be a famous spot to play the croquet-like game called “pall-mall”. The game derived its name from the Italian for ball (palla) and mallet “maglio”. The London thoroughfare called the Mall still exists, at one end of which is Buckingham Palace. Indeed, parallel to the Mall is a street called Pall Mall.

44 “Ta-da!” : ET VOILA!

“Et voilà” is French for, “and there it is!”

47 Watched a boxer, say : PET-SAT

The boxer breed of dog (one of my favorites) originated in Germany. My first dog was a boxer/Labrador mix, a beautiful combination. Our current family dog is a boxer/pug mix, and is another gorgeous animal.

51 Star __: five-spice ingredient : ANISE

Five-spice powder is a mixture of five spices that is used in some Asian and Arabic cuisines. The five ingredients can vary, but a common formulation is:

  • Star anise
  • Cloves
  • Chinese cinnamon
  • Sichuan pepper
  • Fennel seeds

53 Juice amounts? : WATTS

“Wattage” is a colloquial term meaning “electric power in watts”. Electric power is the rate at which electrical energy is transferred by a circuit. In the SI system, electric power is measured in joules per second, i.e. watts.

57 Word before “A Lady” or “A Woman,” in two old Top 10 songs : SHE’S …

“She’s a Lady” is a 1971 song composed by Paul Anka and released by Tom Jones that same year. It was destined to become the highest-charting single for Jones in the US.

“She’s a Woman” is a 1964 song recorded by the Beatles. It was released as a B-side to the hit “I Feel Fine”.

60 Bench for a flock : PEW

A pew is a church bench, usually one with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Handy tension reliever : STRESS BALL
11 Kick back : REST
15 “Aww!” : WHAT A CUTIE!
16 Fair : EXPO
17 Places for posers : ART CLASSES
18 Banh mi spread : MAYO
19 Nonsense : ROT
20 Fabric types : KNITS
21 Racer with a crew : YACHT
22 Pasture mom : MARE
24 Exchange membership : SEAT
25 Trumpet : EXTOL
26 Guiding lights? : STARS
28 Leaves on the sly : SKIPS
30 Pub order : ALE
31 Architectural deets : SPECS
33 Omission indications : ELLIPSES
35 In : CHIC
37 Instrument akin to an oud : LUTE
38 Bucolic : PASTORAL
42 From then on : SINCE
45 Tony-winning playwright Ensler : EVE
46 Prepare to show some muscle : OIL UP
48 Pets : SNITS
50 From around here : LOCAL
52 One way to start : ANEW
54 Reason to go green? : ENVY
55 Desktop assortment : ICONS
56 Software to debug : BETAS
58 Very long time : EON
59 “Pretty please?” : CAN I?
60 Let others talk : PASS THE MIC
62 Inserts, say : ADDS
63 Event necessitated by a move, perhaps : ESTATE SALE
64 Bridge site : NOSE
65 “Why the tears?” : WHAT’S SO SAD?

Down

1 Moving multitudes : SWARMS
2 Speakers often clear them : THROATS
3 Dilapidated digs : RATTRAP
4 Space-saving abbr. : ETC
5 La Jolla scientific research institute namesake : SALK
6 Medical procedures : SCANS
7 Keeps occupied : BUSIES
8 On the line : AT STAKE
9 MRI technician’s request : LIE STILL
10 “__ Djinns”: Franck symphonic poem : LES
11 Century 21 rival : RE/MAX
12 Ambitious track wagers : EXACTAS
13 See-through device : SPYHOLE
14 Piccolo sounds : TOOTLES
21 Confident response after being doubted : YES, IT IS
23 Straight up : ERECT
27 Underwater groups : SCHOOLS
29 __-size : PLUS
32 HomePod Mini voice : SIRI
34 Diagonally cut pasta : PENNE
36 Vine fruit that can be dried and used as a container : CALABASH
38 Smoothie King Center NBAer : PELICAN
39 California state fruit : AVOCADO
40 Duel personalities : SECONDS
41 Some sleep on it : LUNESTA
43 Mall features : CINEMAS
44 “Ta-da!” : ET VOILA!
47 Watched a boxer, say : PET-SAT
49 Matched, as movie sound and action : SYNCED
51 Star __: five-spice ingredient : ANISE
53 Juice amounts? : WATTS
57 Word before “A Lady” or “A Woman,” in two old Top 10 songs : SHE’S …
60 Bench for a flock : PEW
61 Spanish pronoun : ESO

27 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 15 Jan 22, Saturday”

  1. Difficult for me, as Saturdays should be, I guess. Never heard of calabash as a gourd (but I did think of Jimmy Durante). Really had to reach deep to finally get pet as a snit. I sometimes get hung up on things I shouldn’t, like banh mi spread. I immediately think it’s a foreign term or something far more exotic that just mayo.
    But it snowed here in the Twin Cities last night and so I’ll finally get to try out my new snowshoes, something I’ve never done before.

  2. Not bad for a Saturday puzzle. I used my handy dictionary to find out
    what an oud was and looked up the Smoothie King Center NBAer online.
    Quite a few good guesses did the rest.

  3. No errors but took way too long.
    Is TADA french? ETVOILA took me a while until I put a French spin on it.

    The phrase WHATS SO SAD seemed odd.

    Then the SEAT for Exchange Membership.

    And the duel personalities with SECONDS.

  4. LAT: A little over an hour with no errors. Major struggle at first but kept at it until I got a foothold. A fair but very hard puzzle. Didn’t particularly like the Lunesta answer–a bit too remote for me.

  5. For what, at first glance, appeared to be large swaths of blank spaces I actually got this grid filled in without too much angst. There was definitely some moderately tricky cluing, (I’m looking at you 48 Across clue of “snits”), but overall things came together much more smoothly than I first anticipated.

  6. Never knew lunestra was a drug.I guess you need sleeping problems to know that.Fun say puzzle I think Bill is slipping way to long on this one!

  7. 20:58 1 lookup, because I just couldn’t think of REMAX, even though the balloon logo came to mind.

    That lookup finally unstuck my logjam in the NE corner because
    I like my Banh mi with PATE, not MAYO, SCULL slipped in ahead of YACHT.

  8. 18:26 and 5 errors, stemming from PLUS (Size), which I saw as PINT, and from there the comedy ensued, exacerbated no doubt by the nonsensiscal SNITS fill. Not happy with C.C. today.

    1. 19:42 with no errors or lookups. Revisions were: SCULL>YACHT, SOSUEME>YESITIS, PINT>PLUS, MAYI>CANI, GARAGESALE>ESTATESALE. NE corner resolved by guessing REMAX and then trying an intersection or two.

      “May I” is probably better than “Can I”, grammatically speaking. I associate ESTATE sales with deaths as opposed to moves, but I guess someone who is downsizing could also have an estate sale, and so the inclusion of “perhaps” in the clue makes it okay. I also never heard of PET as a SNIT (semantically related); while legit, it must be some kind of obsolete or archaic usage.

  9. So an Oud is an odd looking Lute? 😂

    Thought I wasn’t going to be able to finish
    but I changed Pint-size to Plus-size and
    everything came together. No look ups,
    No errors…

  10. It was the easiest Saturday puzzle until I got to 49a. Couldn’t see what pets/snits had in common until I thought of ‘pet peeve’.

  11. 33:58 no errors…I always thought that to be in a snit can be to be in a PET
    For some reason the puzzles you guys fly through I have trouble and the ones I finish faster (for me) you guys say are hard.WEIRD
    STAY SAFE😀

  12. 30:05 – 6 cheats, didn’t know CALABASH, SALK among others.

    Got SCHOOLS, NOSE, CINEMAS, PETSAT, SPECS, ETC, etc. Thought they were fun.

    Wish, as others, someone would explain SNITS for pets. I got it with the crosses, but I still don’t get it. Guess it doesn’t matter if you get the crosses …

    Be Well.

  13. Enjoyed figuring out “duel personalities”…finally noticed the spelling…don’t know who I’d bring as my second if I had to fight one though.

  14. The dictionary actually explains the snit/pet thing. They’re synonyms. The operative definition according to Webster is “a fit of peevishness, sulkiness, or anger —usually used in the phrase in a pet” (entry #4).

  15. Tough Saturday for me; got all the bottom half and parts of the NW and a little of the NE in 34:07. Took 5 “check-grids” to get to the finish.

    Had scull before YACHT and actually had BUSIES, but took it out, before having to put it back.

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