LA Times Crossword 7 Jan 22, Friday

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Constructed by: Christina Iverson & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Skip Stones

Themed answers each SKIP over circled letters that spell out a particular person named STONE:

  • 38A *Makes splashes at the shore … and what each answer to a starred clue does : SKIPS STONES
  • 19A *Works with needles : KNITS
  • 22A *Binge-watch on Netflix, say : VEG OUT
  • 24A *Hero’s place : DELI
  • 28A *Work position with little mobility? : DESK JOB
  • 34A *Italian sparkling wine region : ASTI
  • 37A *Tweetstorm, e.g. : TIRADE
  • 40A *Sandie ingredients : PECANS
  • 41A *Existential funk : ANGST
  • 42A *Crisis specialists : SWAT TEAM
  • 3D Stuck : IN A DILEMMA (hiding “EMMA Stone”)
  • 8D 1979 #1 hit by The Knack : MY SHARONA (hiding “SHARON Stone”)
  • 31D Swiss peak : MATTERHORN (hiding “MATT Stone”)
  • 36D Severus Snape’s house : SLYTHERIN (hiding “SLY Stone”)

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

Bill’s time: 14m 12s

Bill’s errors: 6 (opted for OLIVER instead of SHARON Stone)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 TV show featuring both blood cells and jail cells : CSI

The “CSI” franchise of TV shows has been tremendously successful, and seems to really have legs. “CSI: Miami” (the “worst” of the franchise, I think) was cancelled in 2012 after ten seasons. “CSI: NY” (the “best” of the franchise) was cancelled in 2013 after nine seasons. The original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” was set in Las Vegas, and hung in there until 2015 when it ended with a two-hour TV movie. Then there was “CSI: Cyber”. It lasted for two seasons, before being canceled in 2016. “CSI: Vegas”, a sequel to the original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, launched in 2021.

15 Club in a Manilow hit : COPA

The Copacabana of the 1978 Barry Manilow song is the Copacabana nightclub in New York City (which is also the subject of the Frank Sinatra song “Meet Me at the Copa”). The Copa opened in 1940 and is still going today, although it is struggling. The club had to move due to impending construction and is now “sharing” a location with the Columbus 72 nightclub.

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there
She would merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star
Tony always tended bar
Across the crowded floor, they worked from 8 ’til 4
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?

Barry Manilow’s real name is Barry Alan Pincus. Barry took his mother’s family name, Manilow, at his Bar Mitzvah. When he was young, Manilow attended the Juilliard performing arts school, and then practiced his craft on the New York City music circuit. He worked in the sixties and seventies writing jingles for advertisements. “Like a good neighbor, Statefarm is there …”, that’s the work of Mr. Manilow!

17 Chef and author Garten : INA

Ina Garten is an author as well as the host of a cooking show on the Food Network called “Barefoot Contessa”. She is a mentee of Martha Stewart, and indeed was touted as a potential “successor” to the TV celebrity when Stewart was incarcerated in 2004 after an insider trading scandal. Garten has no formal training as a chef, and indeed used to work as a nuclear policy analyst at the White House!

18 Green card offerer : AMEX

“Amex” is short for “American Express”, the name of the financial services company that is best known for its credit card, charge card and traveler’s check businesses. The company name is indicative of its original business. American Express was founded in 1850 in Buffalo, New York as an express mail service.

20 Mob inductee : MADE MAN

In the Mafia, a made man is a fully initiated member. A made man might also be called a goodfella or a wiseguy.

22 *Binge-watch on Netflix, say : VEG OUT

I’m a big fan of binge-watching, the practice of watching perhaps two or three (even four!) episodes of a show in a row. My wife and I will often deliberately avoid watching a recommended show live, and instead wait until the whole series has been released online. I’m not a big fan of “tune in next week …”

23 Grand __ : PRIX

Even though the term is used in many competitions, I think that we most associate “Grand Prix” with the series of Formula One motor races. These Formula One Grand Prix races trace their roots back to organized automobile road races from one French town to the next that date back to 1894. “Grand Prix” translates from French as “grand, big prize.”

24 *Hero’s place : DELI

A hero is a submarine sandwich. The hero originated in New York City in the 1800s among Italian immigrants who wanted an Italian sandwich that reminded them of home. The name “hero” was coined in the 1930s, supposedly by a food critic in the “New York Herald Tribune” when he wrote that “one had to be a hero” to finish the gigantic sandwich. Hero is a prevalent term to this day in New York City, reserved for a submarine sandwich with an Italian flavor.

26 Chaney of the screen : LON

Lon Chaney, Sr. played a lot of crazed-looking characters in the days of silent movies. He did much of his own make-up work, developing the grotesque appearances that became his trademark, and earning himself the nickname “the man of a thousand faces”. Most famous were his portrayals of the title characters in the films “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) and “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925).

34 *Italian sparkling wine region : ASTI

Asti is a city in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The region is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine.

37 *Tweetstorm, e.g. : TIRADE

The term “tirade” describes a long and vehement speech, and is a word that came into English from French. “Tirade” can have the same meaning in French, but is also the word for “volley”. So, a tirade is a “volley” of words.

In the wonderful world of Twitter (said he, sarcastically), a tweetstorm is a series of related tweets by a single user on a related subject.

40 *Sandie ingredients : PECANS

A sandie is a type of sugar or shortbread cookie. Because pecans are a main ingredient, it is often referred to as a pecan sandie. There is a similar cookie in French cuisine known as a “sablé”. “Sablé” is French for “sandy”, and is a reference to the crumbly and fine texture of the cookie.

41 *Existential funk : ANGST

Funk is ill humor. The term “funk” dates back to the mid-1700s, and probably came from Scottish and northern English.

42 *Crisis specialists : SWAT TEAM

“SWAT” is an acronym standing for Special Weapons and Tactics. The first SWAT team was pulled together in the Los Angeles Police Department in 1968.

44 Hopped-up refreshment? : ALE

The foodstuff that we call “hops” are actually the female flowers of the hop plant. The main use of hops is to add flavor to beer. The town in which I used to live here in California was once home to the largest hop farm in the world. Most of the harvested hops were exported all the way to the breweries of London, where they could fetch the best price.

45 OutKast chart topper with the lyric “My baby don’t mess around” : HEY YA!

“Hey Ya!” is a 2003 song by hip hop duo Outkast. I took a look at the song’s official music video, as I read that it was inspired by the 1964 appearance of the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. Fun …

47 Humorist Bombeck : ERMA

Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years. She produced more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns under the title “At Wit’s End”, with all describing her home life in suburbia.

50 Bebop lover : HIPSTER

The jazz term “bebop” probably came from “Arriba! Arriba!”, which were words of encouragement uttered by Latin-American bandleaders to their musicians.

59 Fertility clinic collections : OVA

“Ovum” (plural “ova”) is Latin for “egg”.

60 Ones taking advantage of suckers to get by? : OCTOPI

The name “octopus” comes from the Greek for “eight-footed”. The most common plural used is “octopuses”, although the Greek plural form “octopodes” is also quite correct. The plural “octopi” isn’t really correct as the inference is that “octopus” is like a second-declension Latin noun, which it isn’t. That said, dictionaries are now citing “octopi” as an acceptable plural. Language does evolve, even though it drives me crazy …

61 __ alphabet : NATO

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

64 Early creation : ADAM

According to the Bible, God created Adam from “the dust of the ground”. Eve was created as Adam’s companion, from Adam’s rib.

65 Word in wedding announcements : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”. The term “née” is mainly used in English when referring to a married woman’s birth name, assuming that she has adopted her husband’s name, e.g. Michelle Obama née Robinson, Melania Trump née Knavs, and Jill Biden née Jacobs.

Down

1 First hominid in space : CHIMP

Enos was a chimpanzee that was launched into Earth orbit in 1961 by NASA on a Mercury Atlas 4 rocket. Enos’s flight was a rehearsal for the first orbital flight made by an American, astronaut John Glenn. Enos returned from his mission safely, but died the following year from dysentery.

The tailless primates known as apes (also “hominoids”) are divided into two main branches: gibbons (lesser apes) and hominids (great apes). The hominids are the great apes, and belong to the family of primates called Hominidae. Extant genera that make up the family Hominidae are:

  • chimpanzees
  • gorillas
  • humans
  • orangutans

2 Bat signal? : SONAR

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.

3 Stuck : IN A DILEMMA (hiding “EMMA Stone”)

A lemma is a helping theorem, a subsidiary proposition that helps prove some other proposition. A problem offering two equally acceptable (or unacceptable) possibilities might be described as a “double lemma”, and hence our term “dilemma”.

Actress Emma Stone is from Scottsdale, Arizona. Stone really came to prominence with her performance in the 2010 high school movie called “Easy A”. She won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the 2016 movie “La La Land”. Now one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, Stone values her privacy and works hard to maintain a low profile. Good for her, I say …

7 Need on the slopes or the waves : WAX

That would be wax applied to the bottom of skis or the bottom of surfboards.

8 1979 #1 hit by The Knack : MY SHARONA (hiding “SHARON Stone”)

“My Sharona” is a hit single from 1979 released by a band called the Knack. The group’s guitarist wrote the song after meeting a 17-year-old girl named Sharona, who later became his girlfriend. Young Sharona appears on the cover sleeve for the record. Three decades later, Sharona was a real estate agent in LA.

9 Draft choice? : YOKE

Draft animals are working animals that are used to pull things like sleds, ploughs and wheeled vehicles.

A yoke is a wooden beam used between a pair of animals so that they are forced to work together.

11 Home to Athens and Dublin : OHIO

The city of Athens in the southeastern part of the state is home to Ohio University. The university was chartered in 1804, and the future city named for Athens, the ancient center of learning in Greece.

The Ohio city of Dublin is a suburb of Columbus. The future city was named by Irishman John Shields around 1810:

If I have the honor conferred upon me to name your village, with the brightness of the morn, and the beaming of the sun on the hills and dales surrounding this beautiful valley, it would give me great pleasure to name your new town after my birthplace, Dublin, Ireland.

I’m thinking that Shields might have kissed the Blarney Stone.

12 Yearly address, initially : SOTU

The US President’s State of the Union (SOTU) address is a requirement called out in Article II of the Constitution. George Washington gave the first address before a joint session of Congress in 1790. Thomas Jefferson discontinued the practice of making a personal address by sending Congress a written document that was then read out by a clerk. In 1913, Woodrow Wilson re-established the custom of delivering the message personally, there have been occasions since then when a written address has had to suffice, the last occasion being in 1981 when Jimmy Carter was in office.

13 One sending a Zoom link : HOST

Zoom is a videoconferencing app that became remarkably popular in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The market deemed Zoom to be the easiest to use of the free videoconferencing apps. I’ve been using it, but really prefer Google’s Meet offering …

21 Stranger things : EXOTICA

The word “exotic” means “belonging to another country”, and is derived from the Greek “exo-” meaning “outside”. Exotica are things that are excitingly strange, often from foreign parts.

29 Swedish coin : KRONA

“Krona” (plural “kronor”) translates in English as “crown”, and is the currency of Sweden. As a member of the European Union, Sweden is required to adopt the euro as its official currency. Such a move isn’t really popular in Sweden and so the Swedish government has been using a legal loophole to allow the country to retain the krona.

31 Swiss peak : MATTERHORN (hiding “MATT Stone”)

“Matterhorn” is the German name for the famous Alpine peak that lies on the border between Switzerland and Italy. The Italian name for the same mountain is “Monte Cervino”, and the French call it “Mont Cervin”. “Matterhorn” comes from the German words Matte and Horn meaning “meadow” and “peak”. “Cervino” and “Cervin” come from the Latin name for the mountain, i.e. “Mons Silvius”, meaning “Forest Mountain”.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker are the co-creators of “South Park”, an animated television sitcom that I really can’t bear to watch. Before “South Park”, Stone and Parker came up with some well-received holiday short subject films called “Jesus vs. Frosty” and “Jesus vs. Santa”. Stone and Parker also wrote the hit musical “The Book of Mormon” with Robert Lopez.

34 Serpents in some hieroglyphics : ASPS

The prefix “hiero-” comes from the Greek word “hieros” meaning sacred or holy. The classic use of the prefix is in the term “hieroglyph” (meaning “sacred carving”), the writing system that uses symbols and pictures.

36 Severus Snape’s house : SLYTHERIN (hiding “SLY Stone”)

In J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” universe, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was founded by the four most brilliant witches and wizards of their time: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin. Each of the founders lent their name to a House in the school, i.e. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.

Severus Snape is a character in the “Harry Potter” novels by J. K. Rowling. He is the Potions Professor at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Snape was played by the wonderful Alan Rickman on the big screen.

Sly and the Family Stone are a rock, funk and soul band from San Francisco that’s still performing today, although their heyday was from 1966 to 1983. They were one of the first rock bands to have a racially-integrated lineup, as well as representatives of both sexes.

43 Large number : MYRIAD

The term “myriad”, meaning “innumerable”, comes from the Greek “muraid”, meaning “ten thousand”. “Myriad” is one of those words that sparks heated debate about the correct usage in English. “Myriad” can be used both as an adjective and a noun. One can have “a myriad of” engagements around the holidays, for example, or “myriad” engagements around those same holidays.

46 Major artery : AORTA

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

48 Flick : MOVIE

The slang term “flick” meaning “movie” came into use in the mid-1920s. It comes from the “flickering” appearance of films back then.

50 One of a buck’s four : HOOF

A male deer is usually called a buck, and a female is a doe. However, the male red deer is usually referred to as a stag. The males of even larger species of deer are often called bulls, and the females called cows. In older English, male deer of over 5 years were called harts, and females of over 3 years were called hinds. The young of small species are known as fawns, and of larger species are called calves. All very confusing …

51 Quechua speaker : INCA

Quechua was the Native-American language adopted by the Incan Empire and favored over other dialects. Today, Quechua is one of the official languages in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, alongside Spanish.

53 Paisley native : SCOT

The town of Paisley is located in the western Lowlands of Scotland. During the Industrial Revolution, Paisley was an important center of the weaving industry. As a result, the familiar Paisley pattern is named for the Scottish town.

56 Tiny bit : ATOM

Our word “atom” comes from the Latin “atomus” meaning “indivisible particle”. In turn, the Latin term comes from the Greek “a-tomos” meaning “not-cut”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 TV show featuring both blood cells and jail cells : CSI
4 Not exactly a warm blanket : SNOW
8 “Heavens!” : MY GOSH!
14 Boo : HON
15 Club in a Manilow hit : COPA
16 Waver’s cry : YOO-HOO!
17 Chef and author Garten : INA
18 Green card offerer : AMEX
19 *Works with needles : KNITS
20 Mob inductee : MADE MAN
22 *Binge-watch on Netflix, say : VEG OUT
23 Grand __ : PRIX
24 *Hero’s place : DELI
26 Chaney of the screen : LON
28 *Work position with little mobility? : DESK JOB
34 *Italian sparkling wine region : ASTI
37 *Tweetstorm, e.g. : TIRADE
38 *Makes splashes at the shore … and what each answer to a starred clue does : SKIPS STONES
40 *Sandie ingredients : PECANS
41 *Existential funk : ANGST
42 *Crisis specialists : SWAT TEAM
44 Hopped-up refreshment? : ALE
45 OutKast chart topper with the lyric “My baby don’t mess around” : HEY YA!
47 Humorist Bombeck : ERMA
50 Bebop lover : HIPSTER
55 One crossing the line? : ROAD HOG
57 Like some garages : ONE-CAR
58 Word with bike or bag : DIRT-
59 Fertility clinic collections : OVA
60 Ones taking advantage of suckers to get by? : OCTOPI
61 __ alphabet : NATO
62 Lip : RIM
63 Secure : FASTEN
64 Early creation : ADAM
65 Word in wedding announcements : NEE

Down

1 First hominid in space : CHIMP
2 Bat signal? : SONAR
3 Stuck : IN A DILEMMA (hiding “EMMA Stone”)
4 Email to watch out for : SCAM
5 One lacking roots : NOMAD
6 Made the first bet : OPENED
7 Need on the slopes or the waves : WAX
8 1979 #1 hit by The Knack : MY SHARONA (hiding “SHARON Stone”)
9 Draft choice? : YOKE
10 It has a nice ring to it : GONG
11 Home to Athens and Dublin : OHIO
12 Yearly address, initially : SOTU
13 One sending a Zoom link : HOST
21 Stranger things : EXOTICA
22 Friends often pay one : VISIT
25 “Supposing … ” : LET’S SAY …
27 Playfully bite : NIP AT
29 Swedish coin : KRONA
30 Clanked around, like keys in one’s pocket : JANGLED
31 Swiss peak : MATTERHORN (hiding “MATT Stone”)
32 Oft-spoken tributes : ODES
33 Outdo : BEST
34 Serpents in some hieroglyphics : ASPS
35 Bias : SKEW
36 Severus Snape’s house : SLYTHERIN (hiding “SLY Stone”)
39 Look on Snape’s face, often : SNEER
43 Large number : MYRIAD
46 Major artery : AORTA
48 Flick : MOVIE
49 Top performance level : A-GAME
50 One of a buck’s four : HOOF
51 Quechua speaker : INCA
52 Many adoptees : PETS
53 Paisley native : SCOT
54 It’s on a roll : TAPE
56 Tiny bit : ATOM
58 1-Across evidence : DNA

44 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 7 Jan 22, Friday”

  1. Managed to escape error-free despite trouble in the southeast and NNW of the grid. Had “hero” before TAPE, had fOOt before HOOF (though somehow typed it as “foor”), thought “dogs” or “cats” instead of PETS. Also couldn’t shake the idea of physical roots or a physical blanket for 5D and 4A respectively. For some reason I immediately thought “Sly and the Family Stone” on seeing SLY circled but the general stone theme eluded me until I’d gotten the theme hint. Once I figured it out, the theme was smooth sailing.

    1. Kudos to you! I thought the puzzle was ridiculous…or should I say risdticoulneus.. . I did not have the time, or the inclination..,

    2. I was stumped. After discussing with a friend and looking at solved puzzle it finally made sense.
      This was brilliant.
      Creators are from another planet.
      Coolest puzzle I have seen in quite some time.

  2. Did not care for this silly puzzle. The only good thing was “My Sharona” popped up (which is now stuck in my head), but not Sharona Fleming!
    Stay safe 😊

  3. 24:41 active time, took roughly 40 minute break at about the 20 minute mark.
    By that point I noticed that most of the circles were filled with names, but I was stumped by the theme.

    When I came back, the penny dropped. But I still had no idea who the three-letter Stone was, and couldn’t remember any HP houses, AND — due to the theme — no crosses were available. I looked it up.

    It’s a long, long time since I tried to skip stones. It was at a lake at summer camp. Supposedly there were long horn cattle in the area, but I never saw one. I have a memory of getting one to skip three times, but that could be what I imagined happening the few times I got a single skip to happen.

    1. In other words, you weren’t brite enough to do well on this challenging puzzle like other solvers here who have the gall to blame the crossword instead of their own intellectual shortcomings.

  4. caught the theme early but i thought it was all the members of the Rolling Stones.
    had MICK in 3D so my 3D was IN A LIL MICK ???? because i had MALEMAN for 20A… Then when SLYTHERIN fell in 36D i thought “Oh, it’s not the Rolling Stones,.. it’s the name STONE”.! when MATT fell in 31D i thought who is that?

    then came disaster. had OHGOSH for 8A and that left HOKE for 9D. did not remember the MYSHARONA thing and i was stuck.. couldn’t think of another stone. YOKE did not cross my mind for “Draft Choice”…

    it was all fun though..

  5. Sorry, but this one is senseless. Composers could have stuck anything in to complete the grid. Reminds me of a Navy joke: “What’s 17 across?”, “GROMPFT”

  6. I apparently arrived at the same point as Bill, except that “Oliver” didn’t come to mind and it was late and I was unwilling to invest more time, so I “finished” it by Googling “The Knack 1979” to find “My Sharona” (a group and a hit that somehow never managed to come to my attention). At that point, I realized that I’ve seen the name “Sharon Stone” a time or two. So … my bad … but … I would observe that it was terribly impolite of the setters not to consult with me before putting something so completely obscure in their puzzle! … 😳😜🤪

    (I give them high marks for their theme, though … 😜.)

  7. Got the right corner with veg out.Then went to 38 figured out the theme then it went quickly.I guess fun but I agree a real……..re……a…..ch!!!!

  8. this one was beyond me! I did realize the “Stone” names but didn’t
    remember “Emma” so that section was bad! Better luck next time…
    I hope.

  9. 43:31 no errors.
    As far as binge watching goes my wife and I do it all the time simply because we can’t remember from week to week what happened🤪
    Is it just me or are the shows becoming more and more complicated. Some seem to have 2 or 3 plots going on at the same time.
    Stay safe😀

  10. Jeff Chen’s name on it promised me a clever and intelligent late-week puzzle with a challenging but fun theme — and he and Ms Iverson delivered. But I was taken aback by the repetitive clueing of 36D and 39D. The pros say that’s extremely poor form. I’m no pro, but in my many years of solving crosswords, I don’t recall seeing it done before, at least not so brazenly. Next time, why not punish us with a THIRD Snape’s clue for the Hogwart Hat Trick?

  11. It’s Friday, don’t expect it to be less challenging. Mondays and Tuesdays are no fun either. I’m always grateful to people with creative minds for providing us something to do with our free time.

  12. A nonsensical, horribly written, and frustrating waste of time. I like a crossword challenge, but this one is ridiculous and frustrating.

  13. 14:57, and *whew* NO ERRORS in this Chen outrage.

    Took a long, despairing time to figure out why so many fills weren’t working. Must admit, it’s satisfying to have come through, but my better judgment is that this kind of trickery just shouldn’t be encouraged.

  14. Nothing makes me more angry than this variety of stupid puzzle…no explanation at all for what you have to do.

  15. This puzzle took the PPP model one more step over the edge. Usually I can solve the pop culture answers from the crosses. Not so with this one. Many thanks to Wierd Al Yankovic for the help on 8 down. He made an otherwise forgettable song memorable with his parody MY BOLOGNA.

  16. I found this one to be easy. Only missed sly because don’t know Harry Potter.
    Lon Chaney jr was also a very successful horror film star. Most notable for wolfmsn, but also played the Frankenstein monster, Dracula, and the mummy. Only actor to play all four.
    Stuck in low grade movies he amazingly had a small but meaty role in the classic western ‘High Noon’. Then he returned to the horror genre.

  17. There’s so many things wrong with this puzzle that I will only say one thing about it: most of us do not have the spare time to spend scratching our heads and wearing out erasers trying to solve someone’s egotistical pot shot. Clever is fine with me. Obscurity is not.

    1. Yuck! 53:55 with 4 lookups! Could not get the theme to help with anything, and it was a dilemma before acceding to the lookups. Had several mis-starts with ROVER>NOMAD, PINT>YOKE, PEAL>BELL>GONG (that’s a nice ring?), VIEW>SKEW, LETSSEE>LETSSAY, SEEYA>HEYYA, IOTA>ATOM. Took a while to get past Europe and the state of Georgia for 11D. Not sure how HON is an answer for “Boo.”

      The bottom and NW sections filled in okay, but the ones with the circled squares were obtuse. I was confident with answers like DELI, DESKJOB, PECANS, and ANGST, but they did not “fit”. I could not make sense of the theme until I got SKEW, looked up the songs by OutKast and The Knack, and Snape’s house. THEN, once I decided 31D could only be MATTerhorn, the theme came into view. It didn’t help that the theme hint, 38A, was also a themed clue!

      A brain-stretcher for sure!

  18. I “skipped” a couple of days and this is what
    I return to?! DNF ☹️ Didn’t want to…

    True story my friend Page Porrazzo’s Punk
    band Needles and Pins was on the verge of
    signing with Capitol Records but they
    decided to go with The Knack. The right
    choice given the success of My Sharona!

  19. This is the worst crossword puzzle I ever worked on. I hope no more like this will be printed in the newspaper I get. I mean, really? (“skmiplsstnontes”) I get what your theme is. I still find the puzzle unwelcome and not fun.

  20. I agree with most of the comments above … this puzzle was absolutely ridiculous! The worst I’ve seen in my decades of doing the L.A. Times crosswords. Being smartass is one thing, being outright stupid is just that, stupid!

  21. I love the challenges of working on a good crossword puzzle. This one was dumb and a waste of time. Grrrr….

  22. Very tough -actually undoable – Friday for me; did a “check-grid” at about 33% filled and everything was still okay, but just could not make hardly any headway. Made a little progress and got most of the circled letters, but didn’t know MATT -Actually I know now, but didn’t know his first name. And, SLY would just not come to me, even though I really love Sly, especially his Woodstock performance. Still, had too many problems getting past the gimmick and only managed to finally figure out the trick after numerous “check-grids”, without being able to solve SLY.

    Got MY SHARONA on the first pass, which brought back memories of my UCSC roommate, whose girlfriend was Sharon…needless to say we heard the song a lot.

  23. 38:29, no errors. I’m a day behind this week & so am just now seeing the 38 comments most of which are super-critical of the puzzle. I thought it was great. Difficult but nobody should have any complaints about it not being “fair”.
    Had SLY quickly & then SHARON & finally convinced myself of MATT (I shrugged & thought there must be a position in the MOB going across). VSEGOUT revealed the trick & then clear sailing (although just now figured out why HON).

  24. Anyone can create a puzzle that is too “clever” to solve.

    Your puzzles are usually fun and thought provoking.

    This was neither.

    I agree with the comments above regarding having wasted my time on this.

    I wouldn’t do this again if you want puzzle fans to bother with the puzzles you create.

  25. I enjoyed it. I put it down after a while, and when I picked it back up again it was satisfying to figure out. I thought it was clever.

  26. There are criteria for crossWORD puzzles. Otherwise, why not just make a puzzle and leave out all the vowels, or one where all of the answers are misspelled, or one where all of the clues are failed garage band names, or one with no clues at all? Clever or stupid. I’d vote for stupid. If you disagree then pronounce SKMIPLSSTNONTES, find it in a dictionary, spell check it, or produce an affidavit that it was a failed garage band name. So a note to creators: it is a crossWORD puzzle. Now if you want to create a new genre, say a cross-anagram puzzle, go for it. But do be so kind as to label it as such.

  27. way too far out. if you have to drastically change the spelling to fit another word then you have failed as a constructor. forcing an M and a Y into pecan is stupid as was the rest.

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