LA Times Crossword 19 Feb 22, Saturday

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Constructed by: Evan Kalish
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 13m 18s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Ellen Morgan’s revelation in a 1997 episode of “Ellen,” e.g. : COMING OUT

Back in the 1950s, to come “out of the closet” was to admit to being an alcoholic. By the seventies, the phrase mainly referred to gay people shrugging off secrecy about their sexual orientation.

Ellen DeGeneres is a very, very successful TV personality, having parlayed her career in stand-up comedy into lucrative gigs as an actress and talk show host. Back in 1997 DeGeneres chose the “Oprah Winfrey Show” to announce that she was a lesbian. Her character on “The Ellen Show” also came out as a lesbian in a scene with her therapist, who was played by Oprah Winfrey. Nice twist!

17 The blue ribbon : TOP HONORS

A common award for winning first place in a competition, especially at a fair, is a blue ribbon. In Canada and the UK, first place is usually recognized with a red ribbon, and blue ribbon is given for second place.

19 Genre qualifier : ALT

Alternate (alt.)

20 New __: drink that made a comeback in 2019 : COKE

When “new Coke” was introduced in 1985, the market reacted very, very badly. The public reaction was so negative that the Coca-Cola company quickly reintroduced its “Coca-Cola Classic” line. Ironically, the whole debacle resulted in Coke actually gaining market share when the “old coke” returned to supermarket shelves. Coca-Cola prevailed in the end, and made a successful reintroduction of “New Coke” in 2019.

21 Chem class measuring technique : PH TEST

As we all recall from chemistry class, a pH of 7 is considered neutral. Anything less than 7 is an acid, and anything above 7 is a base.

22 New Orleans’ Café Lafitte in Exile is one of the oldest of these still operating : GAY BARS

Café Lafitte in Exile is a gay bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter. The bar opened for business in 1933, and claims to be the oldest continuously operating gay bar in the country. That said, the bar has operated in two different buildings since it opened, moving to its current location in 1953.

24 Fiddler, for one : CRAB

“Fiddler crab” is the common name given to several species of small crab. One characteristic of a fiddler crab is that the main claws of the female are the same size whereas one of the male’s main claws is much larger than the other.

25 Baroque : ORNATE

Something described as baroque is extremely ornate and convoluted. The term comes from the Baroque Period of the early 17th to mid-18th century. Many of the arts focused on great detail and elaborate design during that time.

26 Aleichem who created Tevye : SHOLEM

“Sholem Aleichem” is the pen name of Yiddish author and playwright Solomon Rabinovich. He is most famous for his stories about “Tevye the Dairyman”, which were the basis of the 1964 musical “Fiddler on the Roof”. Rabinovich’s pen name translates from Yiddish as “May peace be upon you”.

35 Big parks : STADIUMS

The Greek word “stadion” was a measure of length, about 600 feet. The name “stadion” then came to be used for a running track of that length. That “running track” meaning led to our contemporary term “stadium” (plural “stadia”).

37 Apt rhyme for “cents” : PENCE

The official name of our smallest denomination coin is “cent”, and our use of the word “penny” is just a colloquialism derived from the British coin of the same name. In the UK, the plural of penny is “pence”, whereas we have “pennies” in our pockets.

38 Time out : SIESTA

We use the word “siesta” to describe a short nap in the early afternoon, and imported the word into English from Spanish. In turn, the Spanish word is derived from the Latin “hora sexta” meaning “the sixth hour”. The idea is that the nap is taken at the sixth hour after dawn.

42 Hardly lasting : SHODDY

Something described as shoddy is of inferior quality, especially if it has a delusive appearance of high quality.

46 #34, familiarly : IKE

When the future president was growing up, the Eisenhowers used the nickname “Ike” for all seven boys in the family, as “Ike” was seen as an abbreviation for the family name. “Big Ike” was Edgar, the second oldest boy. “Little/Young Ike” was Dwight, who was the third son born. Dwight had no sisters.

47 Notes featuring Atatürk : LIRAS

The currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira, which is divided into 100 kuruş. In 1927, the Turkish lira replaced the Ottoman lira, which had been in use since 1844.

Mustafa Kemal was a Turkish army officer who led the Turkish National Movement following the defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of WWI. He then led the Turkish military in resisting Allied forces occupying modern-day Turkey, in what is now referred to as the Turkish War of Independence. Kemal founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and became the new nation’s first president. The Turkish Parliament granted him the name Atatürk in 1934, and name that translates as “Father of the Turks”.

51 Drying agent : DESICCANT

To desiccate is to dry up, and a desiccant is a drying agent. The verb “to desiccate” comes from the Latin “de-” (thoroughly) and “siccare” (to dry).

52 Thompson of “Westworld” : TESSA

Tessa Thompson is an actress from Los Angeles who is known for playing the supporting role of Jackie Cook on the TV show “Veronica Mars”, and for playing student leader Diane Nash in the 2014 film “Selma”.

“Westworld” is an HBO series that is based on a 1973 movie of the same name, which was written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton. Westworld is a high-tech theme park populated by androids that interact with the guests.

53 Satisfied cook’s gesture : CHEF’S KISS

A chef’s kiss is a gesture used by a chef to indicate that a dish has achieved perfection. The gesture involves kissing the tips of the gathered fingers.

Down

1 Stop signs, usually : OCTAGONS

In the US, a “stop” road sign is red and octagonal.

2 Places where you might see butterflies : POOL AREAS

The butterfly is the newest swimming stroke used in competition, having been introduced in 1933. It was originally used as a variant of the breaststroke, in an attempt to gain an advantage in speed over swimmers using the traditional breaststroke movement. The butterfly was carved out as a style of its own in 1952, and made its Olympic debut in 1956.

3 Sources of some college-years woes : EMPTY NESTS

Woe? 🙂

4 Bethesda research org. : NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) organization is made up of 27 different institutes that coordinate their research and services. Examples of member institutes are the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging.

The community of Bethesda in Maryland lies just northwest of Washington, D.C. The original settlement in the area was called “Darcy’s Store”. a reference to the original store that drew settlers to the location along the toll road between Georgetown and Rockville. The community’s name was changed to Bethesda in 1871 by a local postmaster, after a Presbyterian church called the Bethesda Meeting House. Bethesda is home to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Naval Medical Center. During WWII, Bethesda also hosted the Norwegian Royal Family while their country was occupied by German forces.

5 Arctic travelers : SNO-CATS

The brand name “Sno-Cat” is owned by the Tucker company. All snowcats are tracked vehicles built to work in snow, and are famously used in expeditions to the polar regions. The modern Sno-Cat from Tucker differs from its competitors in that it has four independently-mounted tracks.

9 Arrivals in “Arrival” (2016) : ETS

Extraterrestrial (ET)

2016’s “Arrival” is a very entertaining sci-fi film that is based on a short story by Ted Chiang called “Story of Your Life”. Amy Adams plays a linguist who is called upon to communicate with aliens who have arrived on Earth.

11 Wigged out : WENT BERSERK

Our word “berserk” meaning “deranged” comes from the “Berserkers”, Norse warriors described in Old Norse literature. Berserkers were renowned for going into battle in a fury, and some believe that they consumed drugged food to get themselves worked up for the fighting ahead.

The idea behind the expression “to wig out”, meaning “to go crazy”, is that there is so much going on in your brain that it might “lift your hair/wig”.

12 “Mom” actor Corddry : NATE

Nate Corddry is an actor and comedian who is perhaps best known for playing the manager of the restaurant where Christy works in the sitcom “Mom”. Corddry also played lawyer Adam Branch on the sitcom “Harry’s Game” alongside Kathy Bates. Nate is the younger brother of comedian and actor Rob Corddry, whe turned up quite frequently as a correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”.

“Mom” is a sitcom, starring Anna Faris and the great Allison Janney, that premiered in 2013. Famously, the show deals with the problems of alcoholism and drug abuse head on.

13 Colorado tribe : UTES

The Ute are a group of Native-American tribes who now reside in Utah and Colorado. The Ute were not a unified people as such, but rather a loose association of nomadic groups. The word “Ute” means “Land of the Sun”, and “Ute” also gave us the state name “Utah”.

14 Left on a liner : PORT

The left side of a ship used to be called the “larboard” side, but this was dropped in favor of “port” as the pronunciation of “larboard” was easily confused with “starboard”, the right side of the vessel. The term “port” was chosen as it was customary to dock a ship, for loading in port, with the left side of the vessel against the dock.

21 Respect, in slang : PROPS

“Props” is North American slang for “proper respect”.

24 Text exchanges, say : CHATS

Short Message Service (SMS) is the name for the text messaging service that many of us still use on our cell phones to contact friends and family.

26 Film that ends with a King’s speech : SELMA

“Selma” is a 2014 film about the Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965. Directed by Ava DuVernay, the movie stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech on the steps of the State Capital in Montgomery, Alabama at the end of the famous Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. The oration is often referred to as the “How Long, Not Long” speech, as King used the phrase several times, including:

How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

27 Big name in tablets? : MOUNT SINAI

According to the Bible, Mount Sinai is the mountain on which Moses was given the Ten Commandments. The Biblical Mount Sinai is probably not the mountain in Egypt that today has the same name, although this is the subject of much debate. The Egyptian Mount Sinai has two developed routes that one can take to reach the summit. The longer gentler climb takes about 2 1/2 hours, but there is also the steeper climb up the 3,750 “steps of penitence”.

According to the Book of Exodus, God inscribed the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets and gave them to Moses on Mount Sinai.

30 Chevy Tahoe counterparts : GMC YUKONS

The Chevrolet Blazer SUV was renamed, and is now known as the Chevy Tahoe. And, the GMC Yukon is basically the same car. All very confusing …

34 Caduceus pair : SERPENTS

The icon known as the caduceus is a staff around which are twisted two serpents and which has two wings at the top. The caduceus was carried by the Greek god Hermes. The traditional symbol for the medical profession was the rod of Asclepius (also “Aesculapius”), a Greek god associated with healing and medicine. The rod of Asclepius is similar to the caduceus, being a staff with a single serpent-entwined. Some medical organizations use the caduceus as a symbol, apparently due to confusion that dates back to its mistaken use by the US Army Medical Corps in 1902.

36 Israeli border lake : DEAD SEA

The Dead Sea is a salt lake that lies over 1,000 feet below sea level in the Middle East. It is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, with a salt content that is almost ten times that of most oceans.

37 Interstellar measures : PARSECS

A parsec is a measure of length or distance used in astronomy. One parsec is equal to about 19.2 trillion miles.

39 Mountain formation : MASSIF

“Massif” is a geological term describing a section of the earth’s crust that moves upwards due to the action of tectonic plates. The whole massif retains its structure, with movement taking place at surrounding fault lines. The term “massif” is also used for a group of mountains formed by such geological action. “Massif” is French for “massive”.

41 Bullwinkle J. __ : MOOSE

“The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show” is a cartoon series that originally aired on television in the late fifties and early sixties. The title characters are a moose (Bullwinkle) and a squirrel (Rocky). Rocky the Flying Squirrel is formally known as Rocket J. Squirrel, and Bullwinkle’s full name is Bullwinkle J. Moose.

42 __ car: toy racer : SLOT

Slot cars are those motorized toy cars that run around on tracks picking up power from a slot in the racing surface. The first slot cars were made in 1912 by the Lionel company, the manufacturer of toy train sets.

48 Org. in much recent news : CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC started out life during WWII as the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities. The CDC worries about much more than malaria these days …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Store sign words suggesting longevity : OPEN SINCE …
10 Confess : OWN UP
15 Ellen Morgan’s revelation in a 1997 episode of “Ellen,” e.g. : COMING OUT
16 Awesome relative : NEATO
17 The blue ribbon : TOP HONORS
18 Activation key : ENTER
19 Genre qualifier : ALT
20 New __: drink that made a comeback in 2019 : COKE
21 Chem class measuring technique : PH TEST
22 New Orleans’ Café Lafitte in Exile is one of the oldest of these still operating : GAY BARS
24 Fiddler, for one : CRAB
25 Baroque : ORNATE
26 Aleichem who created Tevye : SHOLEM
28 Obligations : NEEDS
29 Surpass by skipping : LEAPFROG
31 Badge holder : SASH
32 Sheds : MOLTS
33 Bottom lines, often : SUMS
35 Big parks : STADIUMS
37 Apt rhyme for “cents” : PENCE
38 Time out : SIESTA
39 Role played by a sufferer, maybe : MARTYR
40 “Phooey!” : RATS!
41 Adds to the cost of : MARKS UP
42 Hardly lasting : SHODDY
45 Paycheck signer : BOSS
46 #34, familiarly : IKE
47 Notes featuring Atatürk : LIRAS
48 Threaten to isolate : CLOSE IN ON
50 Terse farewell : OK, BYE
51 Drying agent : DESICCANT
52 Thompson of “Westworld” : TESSA
53 Satisfied cook’s gesture : CHEF’S KISS

Down

1 Stop signs, usually : OCTAGONS
2 Places where you might see butterflies : POOL AREAS
3 Sources of some college-years woes : EMPTY NESTS
4 Bethesda research org. : NIH
5 Arctic travelers : SNO-CATS
6 Mute, say : IGNORE
7 Secluded spots : NOOKS
8 Solution : CURE
9 Arrivals in “Arrival” (2016) : ETS
10 Fair share, at times : ONE HALF
11 Wigged out : WENT BERSERK
12 “Mom” actor Corddry : NATE
13 Colorado tribe : UTES
14 Left on a liner : PORT
21 Respect, in slang : PROPS
23 Personal management problems : BAD-HAIR DAYS
24 Text exchanges, say : CHATS
26 Film that ends with a King’s speech : SELMA
27 Big name in tablets? : MOUNT SINAI
29 Big lugs : LOUTS
30 Chevy Tahoe counterparts : GMC YUKONS
32 Like eyes betraying nostalgia : MISTY
34 Caduceus pair : SERPENTS
36 Israeli border lake : DEAD SEA
37 Interstellar measures : PARSECS
39 Mountain formation : MASSIF
41 Bullwinkle J. __ : MOOSE
42 __ car: toy racer : SLOT
43 Raise : HIKE
44 Travelers in distant circles : ORBS
45 “Keep that away from me!” : BLEH!
48 Org. in much recent news : CDC
49 “Keep that away from me!” : ICK!

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 19 Feb 22, Saturday”

  1. About an hour. Managed to finish without error after a struggling start. Some tough but humorous clues, e.g., Mount Sinai as a “Big name in tablets.”

  2. 15:07, no errors. Bogged down for a bit in the upper left, trying to put “ESSAY TESTS” instead of “EMPTY NESTS”. Ultimately, just an amusing diversion (😜), but … duh (😳).

    I’m always amused by coincidences that seem to reveal an underlying synchronicity in the workings of the universe. Yesterday’s Tim Croce puzzle (which, for various reasons, I got around to doing a bit late, so I was glad to find it a little easier than usual) is a case in point. If you’re interested, check out 52-Across:

    https://club72.wordpress.com/

    On to the Newsday Stumper!

  3. Lots I didn’t know…again. Sholem and props crossing. Spelled desiccant with two esses and one cee, so that screwed things up. Oh, and “bleh” said no one ever.

  4. @tonymichaels – you were right. Today’s was a killer me. Like a NEWSDAY Saturday stumper. At least for me.

    I was thoroughly stumped in several places. Misdirected! I felt like a cat chasing a laser light.

    Too many words I didn’t know. Either in the clue or the answer. Had 3 lookups so I guess I DNF. but it still feels like a victory. Those lookups didn’t get me much.

    MASSIF? wow, where did that come from.

    Groaner of the day for me… “Big name in tablets” – MOUNT SINAI.. I laughed out loud on that one.

  5. Tough one today .But learned two new words caduceus and massif proving your never to old to learn new words or ideas.

  6. 38:30 – no errors or lookups. Revisions were many: FDA>NIH, SILENT>IGNORE, PARKS>NOOKS, GONEBERSERK>WENTBERSERK, DEBTS>NEEDS, BUMS>SUMS, SNAKE__S>SERPENTS, FDA>CDC, DESSICANT>DESICCANT. Did not know TESSA Thompson (but saw SELMA), NATE Corddry, or Ellen Morgan (but got that answer based on the TV show reference and a few filled in letters).

    Seemed to be a lot of clues with multiple possible answers, but the ones I first thought of wouldn’t fit the answer space. Seems that “NEATO” qualifies as a VERY distant relative of “Awesome.” We have a Mt Massive (14,428 ft) in Colorado; it might be named from “massif,” but that’s just a guess.

    It was a good thing there were at least a few well-placed clues with solid answers to rely on, but basically worked it up, then over, from the SE corner.

  7. Good challenge today. The NW corner was
    particularly problematic but no look ups,
    no errors. “bleh” left me feeling a little,
    well…..bleh ☹️

  8. No errors but had to do several lookups, i.e. coming out and gay bars.
    The rest was a matter of try and then do over when the first try didn’t
    work, like changing “nets” to “sums”. I still don’t quite get the connection
    between “threaten to isolate” and “close in on” but I trust someone will
    enlighten me. Have a good weekend!

  9. I was a Hospital Corpsman during my stint with the Marines and our rate was identified by the caduceus. I always thought that the single serpent version was just an acceptable variation and surprised that it is actually called an asclepius and is the valid medical symbol. I wonder why the military has allowed this “error” to exist for so many years.

  10. In the running for “Worst, most cynical puzzle of the Year”. 33:08 and DNF, with 12 answers left unfilled. Closest I came to one is “seeing” GAY BAR,

    1) 3D clue answer is from the POV of parents, not students. Horrible clue.
    2) 38A: You don’t clue a foreign language answer without some indication that it’s a foreign term (either with “Sp.” or “south of the border” or “to Jose” or something!)
    3) 47A: What does that clue even MEAN??? And, isn’t the plural of LIRA also “LIRA”?
    4) 23D: Another clue that does NOT match the answer; a bad hair day is an event, not a “problem”.

    This grid was a prime example of “manufactured difficulty”, equally the fault of the constructor and our asleep-at-the-wheel editor. Evan Kalish goes on my “don’t bother” list. Only problem is, on Saturdays I do the puzzle on paper, and my local paper doesn’t print “by-lines” for the Crossword Puzzle. This is how I somehow get roped into trying to solve Wechslers that I would otherwise just skip.

    1. @Allen …

      1) So what if the clue is from the point of view of parents? It is the responsibility (and, for me, the fun) of solvers to consider the various ways in which a clue can be interpreted. (As I pointed out above, I was fooled by this clue for a bit.)

      2) English is a notorious borrower of words from other languages. “Siesta” is now an English word (and has been for some time).

      3) The clue references the Turkish lira (as signaled by the name Atatürk) rather than the Italian lira; its plural is either “lire” or “liras”.

      4) This may be a matter of opinion, but I would definitely view a bad hair day as a problem.

  11. Certainly not an easy one, but slowly-but-surely the answers came (most of them, anyway). My biggest complaint was the clue for 26D – despite the fact that I knew the answer – King’s should not have the apostrophe OR the letter “a” should not have been there. Poor editing, as usual.

    1. @Steve …

      You will probably consider this either sanctimonious moralizing or pointless pontificating, but … MLK was “a King” in the same way that FDR was “a Roosevelt” and JFK was “a Kennedy”. So, yes, the movie “Selma” does end with “a King’s speech”. Nothing wrong with the editing (as usual) … 😜.

  12. Way too tough for me today; gave up at about 33% filled and just started doing “check-grids”/guesses until I got to the finish. Even at 33% fill I still had 1 1/2 wrong words…just ugh!

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