LA Times Crossword 10 Mar 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: Joe Deeney
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Break Even

Themed answers each include the letter string “E-V-E-N”, but BROKEN and divided between the beginning and end:

  • 54A Neither lose nor gain… and a hint to four long answers : BREAK “EVEN”
  • 15A “Snow White” antagonist : EVIL QUEEN
  • 22A Relatable female character : EVERYWOMAN
  • 33A Toy sold with cake mix packets : EASY-BAKE OVEN
  • 45A Title teen in a 2015 musical : EVAN HANSEN

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

Bill’s time: 6m 49s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Conventioneer’s freebie : SWAG BAG

“Swag” is “loot, stolen property”, and a term that started out as criminal slang in England in the 1830s. “Swag” is also the name given to the promotional freebies available at some events. That said, there’s an urban myth that the promotional version of “swag” is an acronym standing for “stuff we all get”.

12 Energy snacks whose flavors include Carrot Cake and Cherry Pie : LARABARS

Lärabar is a brand of energy bars that was acquired by General Mills in 2008. The bars had been introduced in 2003 by Lara Merriken from Denver. The umlaut over the letter A in “Lärabar” is a marketing thing …

15 “Snow White” antagonist : EVIL QUEEN

“Snow White” is a traditional German fairy tale that was published in 1812 in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. There is also a second, very different Grimms’ Fairy Tale called “Snow-White and Rose-Red”, not to be confused with its more famous cousin. In the latter tale, Snow-White and Rose-Red are sisters who get into trouble with a dwarf, but are rescued by a bear who turns into a prince.

18 Galileo’s birthplace : PISA

Even though the University of Pisa was founded way back in 1343, it is only the 19th continuously operating university in the world, and only the 10th in Italy. The oldest existing university in the world is the University of Bologna (1088). The University of Oxford (1096) is the oldest in the English-speaking world.

Galileo Galilei may be the most famous son of the city of Pisa in Italy and was considered by many to have been the father of modern science. In the world of physics, Galileo postulated that objects of different masses would fall at the same rate provided they did so in a vacuum (so there was no air resistance). There is a story that he dropped two balls of different masses from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to demonstrate this, but this probably never happened. Centuries later, Astronaut David Scott performed Galileo’s proposed experiment when he dropped a hammer and feather on the moon during the Apollo 15 mission and we all saw the objects hit the moon surface, at exactly the same time.

21 Holiday when one might eat bánh chung : TET

The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is “Tet Nguyen Dan” meaning “Feast of the First Morning”, with the reference being to the arrival of the season of spring. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

Bánh chung is a steamed cake mainly made from glutinous rice, mung bean and pork. The eating of bánh chung is an important part of the Tet holiday in Vietnam.

22 Relatable female character : EVERYWOMAN

The typical or ordinary man might be referred to as “everyman”. The use of the term “everyman”, in such a context, dates way back to the early 16th century and English morality play “The Summoning of Everyman”. The “sister” term “everywoman” was coined in the early 20th century by George Bernard Shaw in his play “Man and Superman”.

25 Nearly four octaves, for Freddie Mercury : RANGE

Freddie Mercury was a British singer-songwriter who was lead singer for the rock group Queen. Mercury wrote many of Queen’s hits, including “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Somebody to Love”, “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “We Are the Champions”. Mercury’s real name was Farrokh Bulsara, and he was born to Parsi parents in Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania) in East Africa. He grew up mainly in India, and arrived in England at the age of 17 after his family fled from the Zanzibar Revolution.

27 Traditional springerle spice : ANISE

The springerle biscuit originated in Germany. It is a cookie with an elaborate, embossed design that is pressed into the dough using a mold, after which the dough is allowed to dry before baking. Springerle biscuits are usually rectangular, quite thick and hard, and often flavored with anise. They are particularly popular during the Christmas season. The name “springerle” can be translated from German as either “little jumping horse” or “little knight”.

32 Floors : KOS

A kayo is a knockout (KO).

33 Toy sold with cake mix packets : EASY-BAKE OVEN

Kenner Products of Cincinnati, Ohio introduced the Easy-Bake Oven in 1963. They are still produced today, but now by Hasbro. The original design called for an incandescent light bulb as the oven’s heat source, but I just learned that current models actually include a real heating element.

37 Ctrl-__-Del : ALT

Ctrl-Alt-Delete is a keyboard command on IBM PC compatible systems used for a soft reboot, or more recently to bring up the task manager in the Windows operating system. Bill Gates tells us that the command was originally just a device to be used during development and was never meant to “go live”. He once said that “Ctrl+Alt+Delete” was a mistake, and that he would have preferred a dedicated key on the keyboard that carried out the same function.

38 Salt’s savior : ST ELMO

Saint Elmo is the patron saint of sailors. More formally referred to as Erasmus of Formia, St. Elmo is perhaps venerated by sailors as tradition tells us that he continued preaching despite the ground beside him being struck by a thunderbolt. Sailors started to pray to him when in danger of storms and lightning. He lends his name to the electrostatic weather phenomenon (often seen at sea) known as St. Elmo’s fire. The “fire” is actually a plasma discharge caused by air ionizing at the end of a pointed object (like the mast of a ship), something often observed during electrical storms.

“Sea dog” and “old salt” are familiar terms describing a sailor, especially one that has lots of experience.

39 Query rendered moot by laughter : GET IT?

To moot is to bring up as a subject for discussion or debate. So, something that is moot is open to debate. Something that is no longer moot, is no longer worth debating. We don’t seem to be able to get that right, which drives me crazy …

45 Title teen in a 2015 musical : EVAN HANSEN

“Dear Evan Hansen” is a 2015 stage musical about a young man with awkward social skills and his efforts to make friends.

51 Level : ECHELON

We use the word “echelon” (ech.) to describe a rank or level, particularly in the military. The term comes from French, in which language it has the same meaning, although the original meaning in Old French is “rung of a ladder”.

52 Winter festival : YULE

Yule celebrations coincide with Christmas, and the words “Christmas” and “Yule” (often “Yuletide”) have become synonymous in much of the world. However, Yule was originally a pagan festival celebrated by Germanic peoples. The name “Yule” comes from the Old Norse word “jol” that was used to describe the festival.

53 Huber of tennis : ANKE

Anke Huber is a retired professional tennis player from Germany. Huber stepped out of the shadow of fellow German star Steffi Graf when Graf retired in 1999, and for the last two years of her playing career Huber enjoyed recognition as Germany’s top player.

59 Villainous literary alter ego : HYDE

Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was published in 1886. There are many tales surrounding the writing of the story, including that the author wrote the basic tale in just three to six days, and spent a few weeks simply refining it. Allegedly, Stevenson’s use of cocaine stimulated his creative juices during those few days of writing.

To deviate is to stray from the standard or established course. The verb “to deviate” ultimately comes from the Latin “de” meaning “off” and “via” meaning “way”.

Down

3 Milli Vanilli label : ARISTA

Arista Records was set up as part of Columbia Pictures by one Clive Davis. He chose “Arista” as it was the name of the New York City Honor Society to which Davis belonged.

Milli Vanilli famously won a Grammy and had it revoked when it was discovered that they didn’t even provide the lead vocals for the award-winning recording, and just lip-synced when performing on stage.

5 Common beach party, briefly : BBQ

It is believed that our word “barbecue” (BBQ) comes from the Taíno people of the Caribbean in whose language “barbacoa” means “sacred fire pit”.

6 Non-pro sports org. : AAU

Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)

7 Diving bird : GREBE

A grebe is a small- to medium-sized freshwater diving bird. Although they appear to be very different, recent molecular studies have shown that grebes and flamingos are closely related.

11 Kickoff aid : TEE

A tee is a small device on which, say, a golf ball is placed before striking it. The term “tee” comes from the Scottish “teaz”, which described little heaps of sand used to elevate a golf ball for the purpose of getting a clean hit with a club.

20 Former flier : TWA

Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am and TWA’s purchase by Howard Hughes, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

22 Like custard : EGGY

Our word “custard” evolved from the Middle French “croustade” meaning “meat or fruit pie with a crust”. Over time, the letter R fell away from “croustade” leading to “custard”, possibly due to the influence of the other food item “mustard”.

24 Mario Bros. console : NES

Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game “Donkey Kong”. Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

26 “Too Many Rappers” rapper : NAS

“Too Many Rappers” is a 2009 single released by the Beastie Boys, and featuring rapper Nas.

29 Chow down : EAT

“Chow” is a slang term for “food” that originated in California in the mid-1800s. “Chow” comes from the Chinese pidgin English “chow-chow” meaning “food”.

33 “I am __-one today!”: Bilbo Baggins, a year after his 110th birthday : ELEVENTY

In J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel “The Hobbit”, the title character is Bilbo Baggins. He is a hobbit who stumbles across a magical ring and then embarks on a series of adventures.

35 Comet, to some : OMEN

Comets and asteroids are similar, both being relatively small celestial bodies orbiting the sun. Comets differ from asteroids in that they have a coma or tail, especially when they are close enough to the sun. The coma and tail are temporary fuzzy atmospheres that develop due to the presence of solar radiation. Comets are sometimes referred to as “dirty snowballs”, a reference to their composition: rock, dust, water ice and frozen gasses.

36 Super Bowl 50 MVP __ Miller : VON

American footballer Von Miller started his professional career with the Denver Broncos in 2011. A year later, Miller founded the Von’s Vision foundation that provides free eye exams and glasses for children living in the Denver area.

37 Spend time in a cellar, maybe : AGE

I guess I’ve spent way too much time in the cellar …

43 Splenda alternative : TRUVIA

Truvia is a brand of sugar substitute with a key element that is an extract from the leaves of the stevia plant. The stevia plant has been used for centuries by some indigenous people in South America as a “sweet herb”.

46 Edmonton’s prov. : ALB

Alberta (Alta.) is a big province, one about the size of Texas. It is named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Princess Louise also donated her name to Lake Louise, the large glacial lake in the province, now within the bounds of Banff National Park.

Edmonton is the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta. The city was founded as Fort Edmonton in 1795, with the name taken from the area in London called Edmonton. Edmonton, London was the home of pioneer John Peter Pruden who suggested the name. London’s Edmonton was also home for deputy governor Sir James Winter Lake of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

47 Benchmark : NORM

A benchmark is something that serves as a standard used to measure others. The original benchmark was a point of reference used by surveyors. Literally, a benchmark was an angle-iron driven into the ground as a support (or “bench”) for a leveling instrument.

48 Golfer nicknamed “The Slammer” : SNEAD

Sam Snead was probably the most successful golfer never to win a US Open title, as he won a record 82 PGA Tour events. Snead did win seven majors, but never the US Open. He was also quite the showman. He once hit the scoreboard at Wrigley Field stadium with a golf ball, by teeing off from home plate. Snead’s best-remembered nickname is “Slammin’ Sammy”.

50 Article of faith : TENET

A tenet is an article of faith, something that is held to be true. “Tenet” is Latin for “holds”.

52 Aptly named cooler brand : YETI

YETI is a manufacturer of coolers and related products that is based in Austin, Texas. There was a kerfuffle between YETI and the National Rifle Association in 2018, when YETI removed the NRA from its membership discount program. That kerfuffle got quite public when some NRA members published videos of themselves destroying their own YETI products in protest.

56 Fred Savage’s “The Wonder Years” role, informally : KEV

“The Wonder Years” is a comedy drama that originally ran on television from 1988 to 1993. Star of the show was 13-year-old Fred Savage who played Kevin Arnold. Kevin’s love interest was Winnie Cooper, played by Danica McKellar.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Conventioneer’s freebie : SWAG BAG
8 Slightly : A BIT
12 Energy snacks whose flavors include Carrot Cake and Cherry Pie : LARABARS
14 Complete : DONE
15 “Snow White” antagonist : EVIL QUEEN
17 Shot, perhaps : DOSE
18 Galileo’s birthplace : PISA
19 Words said with a shrug : BEATS ME
21 Holiday when one might eat bánh chung : TET
22 Relatable female character : EVERYWOMAN
25 Nearly four octaves, for Freddie Mercury : RANGE
27 Traditional springerle spice : ANISE
28 Shook on it : AGREED
32 Floors : KOS
33 Toy sold with cake mix packets : EASY-BAKE OVEN
37 Ctrl-__-Del : ALT
38 Salt’s savior : ST ELMO
39 Query rendered moot by laughter : GET IT?
42 Doesn’t hold back : VENTS
45 Title teen in a 2015 musical : EVAN HANSEN
49 Go bad : ROT
51 Level : ECHELON
52 Winter festival : YULE
53 Huber of tennis : ANKE
54 Neither lose nor gain… and a hint to four long answers : BREAK EVEN
57 Ratings unit : STAR
58 Adjusted one’s schedule (for) : MADE TIME
59 Villainous literary alter ego : HYDE
60 Atypical : DEVIANT

Down

1 Nodded off : SLEPT
2 Not as straight, as hair : WAVIER
3 Milli Vanilli label : ARISTA
4 Bash : GALA
5 Common beach party, briefly : BBQ
6 Non-pro sports org. : AAU
7 Diving bird : GREBE
8 Expands, with “to” : ADDS ON …
9 Audio setup involving a horizontal pole : BOOM MIKE
10 Like farmers’ market produce : IN SEASON
11 Kickoff aid : TEE
13 Fortuneteller : SEER
16 Old-style uh-uh : NAY
20 Former flier : TWA
22 Like custard : EGGY
23 Rank and file, e.g. : VERBS
24 Mario Bros. console : NES
26 “Too Many Rappers” rapper : NAS
29 Chow down : EAT
30 Manage, with “out” : EKE …
31 Conduct exhaustive research (into) : DELVE
33 “I am __-one today!”: Bilbo Baggins, a year after his 110th birthday : ELEVENTY
34 Smear campaign tactic : ATTACK AD
35 Comet, to some : OMEN
36 Super Bowl 50 MVP __ Miller : VON
37 Spend time in a cellar, maybe : AGE
40 “Psst” follower : … IN HERE
41 Not just any : THE
43 Splenda alternative : TRUVIA
44 Sincere, as an oath : SOLEMN
46 Edmonton’s prov. : ALB
47 Benchmark : NORM
48 Golfer nicknamed “The Slammer” : SNEAD
50 Article of faith : TENET
52 Apt cooler brand : YETI
53 Incomplete combustion product : ASH
55 Fruity cooler : ADE
56 Fred Savage’s “The Wonder Years” role, informally : KEV

23 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 10 Mar 22, Thursday”

  1. Finished but had errors at LARABARS with LARABeeS instead. Also had an error with ST ELMa because I could only see it as one word but I blame that on the abbreviation being unindicated (which happened a few other times in this puzzle, too).

  2. No errors, but this one was by some good guessing and two lookups:
    i.e. “Evan Hansen” and “Anke.” Tried a couple of different answers
    to 1D before I settled on “slept.” Good workout today.

  3. Why has this puzzle gotten so complicated lately I have been doing this for years it has never been this complicated

  4. 12:47 – no errors or lookups. Revisions included: MERE>JUST>ABIT, PEONS>VERBS, EQUATE>TRUVIA.

    I know of stevia, but not the Truvia brand name. The theme helped to solve EVANHANSEN. Did not know what a springerle was. Sounds a little like a shortbread cookie, but probably harder.

    I have never liked the spelling of “mike” as the abbreviation for microphone. It should always be “mic.”

  5. Took some time but “got it”. Must take issue, however, with 9D. Microphone is shortened to “mic” to anyone familiar with sound. Otherwise, tough but satisfying.

  6. No real problems, although I have to admit I stared at Lara Bars and wondered about it as being right. But since all the down answers seemed to be correct I went with it and came here to find out what, if anything, Bill could tell me.

    I found the WSJ puzzle fairly tricky due to the gimmick, but finished it without final error.

  7. Sometimes a clue/answer, like 12 Across, makes me wonder if there’s sometimes paid product placement in these puzzles.

  8. No look ups, no errors. 2 fixes on the fly, nah/nay and I’m here to in here. Kept
    wanting to write SST for old flier 😂
    Tough challenge and good theme that
    helped. Pet peeves, any Rap reference
    and “school yard retorts” ☹️

    1. Yes, it does have that; but, the theme is that the broken EVEN has to be at the beginning and end of the answer. The middle doesn’t count.

  9. 10:53 and DNF: 5 naticks in the upper left thwarted me completely.

    You coulda fooled me that a BBQ is seen as a “beach party”. That was especially WEAK.

    1. I also wondered about BBQ at a beach party – thought that typically would be some kind of seafood. I haven’t been to one, so not up to date on that.

  10. Too many cheats to post a time – really a DNF. So much for my promising times earlier in the week …

    Between this and today’s (03/10/22) NYT I got beat up good.

    Ah, only 3 days til Monday!

    Be Well.

  11. 9:19 1 lookup for the slamming golfer SNEAD.

    Came close to looking up a bunch of other names, but the crosses got me there. The theme I didn’t even get until afterward.

    Welcome back, Carrie!

  12. Very tough Thursday for me; took me 38:49 with 2 “check-grids” in the NE to get to the finish. Struggled all over, but finally groped my way through to all except the NE. Finally did a “check-grid to see that I had NEc instead of NES, with still a lot of the NE to fill. Finally saw ADDSON, ANISE and KOS, which allowed the rest of BOOMMIKE and INSEASON…sheesh! Just not on the same wavelength as the constructor at all.

    @Carrie – Well I guess they rescued the full season after all…funny how loss of pay focuses peoples attention. Still, I’m not saying I’m going to ignore it, but I’m pretty upset about the DH BS. I was surprised about the man-on-second during extra innings rule, but I guess that’s gone now. The ads on the uniforms is kind of tacky if you ask me…although they didn’t. Blah!

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