LA Times Crossword 12 Mar 22, Saturday

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Constructed by: Debbie Ellerin
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 16m 11s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Alaska’s flag includes the best-known part of it : URSA MAJOR

Seven stars on the flag of the state of Alaska form the pattern of stars known as the Big Dipper, which is found in the constellation of Ursa Major. Ursa Major (Big Bear) symbolizes an animal that is indigenous to Alaska. The eighth star on the flag represents Polaris, the North Star. The arrangement of the stars on the flag roughly represents the arrangement of the stars in the night sky.

15 2002 Emmy winner for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series : RAY ROMANO

Ray Romano is a comic actor and stand-up comedian from Queens, New York. He is perhaps best-known as the star of the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond”. Off-screen, Romano can be seen appearing regularly in pro-am golf tournaments. And, he has competed many times in the World Series of Poker.

16 Caribbean sorcery : OBEAH

“Obeah” is a West Indian term that describes the folk magic practiced in many of the Caribbean islands.

17 Bagel-shaped confection : LIFE SAVER

Life Savers were introduced in 1912. The candy was created by Clarence Crane who contracted a pill manufacturer to press his formulation for mints into shape. The pill manufacturer found that the pieces of candy were produced more easily if a hole was stamped in the middle. The Life Saver name was chosen as the candy had the same shape as lifebuoys.

18 First Japanese tennis player with a WTA #1 ranking : OSAKA

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese-born tennis professional who became the first Asian player to be ranked number-one in singles. She was also the first ever tennis player to light the Olympic cauldron during an opening ceremony, doing so for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

20 Shrink : ANALYST

The use of the slang term “shrink” to describe a psychiatrist was first used in 1950. “Shrink” is diminutive of “headshrinker”.

24 Fugu danger : TOXIN

“Fugu” is the Japanese name for pufferfish, also known as blowfish. Fugu is a notorious dish on a Japanese menu as it can be extremely poisonous. The liver, ovaries and eyes of the pufferfish contain lethal amounts of the poison tetrodotoxin, which paralyzes muscles causing death by asphyxiation.

26 Ars __: chiromancy, e.g. : MAGICA

“Ars magica” is Latin for “magical arts”.

The practice of telling fortunes by studying palms is known as palmistry, palm reading, chiromancy or chirology. The term “chiromancy” comes from the Greek “kheir” (hand) and “mateia” (divination).

31 Jewish month after Av : ELUL

Elul is the month in the Hebrew calendar that occurs in August-September.

35 Clay, beginning in 1964 : ALI

Boxer Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Mercellus Clay Jr. in Lousville, Kentucky in 1942. Clay joined the Nation of Islam in the early sixties, at which point he changed his name to Muhammad Ali. The name he chose translates into “one who is worthy of praise” (Muhammad) and “most high” (Ali).

38 Means of filling up for less? : DOLLAR MENU

The term “dollar menu”, also “value menu”, tends to be associated with fast-food chains. Value menus incorporate items deemed to be the least expensive at the restaurant.

40 Swain : BEAU

A swain is a country lad, or a beau. Back in the 12th century, a swain was a young man who attended a knight.

41 Attacked en masse : STORMED

“En masse” is a French term, one that best translates as “as a group”

47 Like Oz, but not Kansas : IN COLOR

In the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz”, the opening and closing sequences in Kansas were filmed in black-and-white. The bulk of the film is set in Oz, where the action was filmed in technicolor.

50 Banana Boat no. : SPF

In theory, the sun protection factor (SPF) is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it takes 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn than it would take without protection. I say just stay out of the sun …

Banana Boat is a brand of sunscreen.

53 Ram among the stars : ARIES

According to the ancient Greeks, the constellation Aries the Ram represents the mythological winged ram with the Golden Fleece. The Greeks “hijacked” the constellation though, because it also represented a ram in late Babylonian times, long before the Golden Fleece came along.

55 Its formal name includes “Patient Protection,” informally : OBAMACARE

The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA).

57 Sanjay of CNN : GUPTA

Sanjay Gupta is an American neurosurgeon who is best known as CNN’s chief medical correspondent. In 2009, Gupta was offered the post of Surgeon General in the Obama administration, but he declined.

60 Doves : PEACENIKS

The suffix “-nik” is of Slavic origin. It is somewhat like the suffix “-er” in English. By adding “-nik” to a noun, the new word describes a person related to what that noun describes. Examples of the use of “-nik” in mainstream English are “beatnik” and “”refusenik”. Examples of more casual “-nik” terms are “neatnik” and “peacenik”.

The dove is a symbol of peace, and the hawk is a symbol of war.

Down

1 Bing results : URLS

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a uniform resource locator (URL).

Bing is the search engine from Microsoft. Bing is the latest name for an engine that Microsoft used to call Live Search, Windows Live Search and MSN Search.

3 “Resident Alien” network : SYFY

Syfy is a cable television channel that used to be known as the “Sci-Fi Channel”, which of course specializes in broadcasting science fiction shows. The brand name “Syfy” was chosen because “Syfy” could be trademarked whereas the generic term “sci-fi” could not.

“Resident Alien” is a comedy-drama, sci-fi TV show that is based on a comic book series with the same title created by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse. The title character is an alien who crash-landed on Earth, and takes on the identity of a physician. His secret mission is to wipe out humanity, but he develops scruples.

5 Assembled artwork : MOSAIC

In the Middle Ages, mosaics were often dedicated to the Muses. The term “mosaic” translates as “of the Muses”.

6 “The Hill We Climb” poet : AMANDA GORMAN

Amanda Gorman is a poet and activist who, in 2017, was the first person named as the National Youth Poet Laureate. Famously, Gorman recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of President Biden in 2021.

When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.

7 Diner cupfuls : JAVAS

Back in 1850, the name “java” was given to a type of coffee grown on the island of Java, and the more general usage of the term spread from then.

8 Torts taker : ONE L

“One L” is a name used in general for first-year law students, especially those attending Harvard.

“Tort” is a French word meaning “mischief, injury or wrong”. In common law, a tort is a civil wrong that results in the injured party suffering loss or harm, and the injuring party having a legal liability. Tort law differs from criminal law in that torts may result from negligence and not just intentional actions. Also, tort lawsuits may be decided on a preponderance of evidence, without the need of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

9 “Gilmore Girls” girl : RORY

“Gilmore Girls” is a comedy show that originally aired from 2000 to 2007 on the WB. The title characters are mother and daughter Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, played by Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel.

10 Birds named for their sounds : HOOT OWLS

“Hoot owl” is an informal name for the barred owl. Barred owls have dark stripes running up and down the underside of their bodies, hence the name “barred”. They also have a very distinctive two-phrase vocalization, hence the name “hoot”.

11 Six-pack makeup : ABS

The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They might be referred to as a “six-pack”, or even a “ten-pack”, in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …

12 Phoenix and Washington, e.g. : LEADING MEN

Actor Joaquin Phoenix is the brother of actress Summer Phoenix and of the late River Phoenix, who was also an actor. In 2020, Jaoquin and his partner, actress Rooney Mara, had a son whom they named “River” after his deceased uncle.

Denzel Washington is an actor from Mount Vernon, just outside New York City. Washington’s big break came with a TV role, playing Dr. Philip Chandler on “St. Elsewhere” from 1982 to 1988.

13 Subjected to flak : TAKING HEAT

“Flak” was originally an acronym standing for the German term for an aircraft defense cannon (FLiegerAbwehrKanone). “Flak” then became used in English as a general term for antiaircraft fire and ultimately a term for verbal criticism, as in “to take flak”.

14 Uneven do : SHAG

A shag cut is a layered hairstyle. Actress Meg Ryan famously sported a shag cut for many years, as did fellow actress Farrah Fawcett.

21 Rock or Rivers : STAND-UP COMIC

Chris Rock is a great stand-up comedian. Interestingly, Rock cites his paternal grandfather as an influence on his performing style. Grandfather Allen Rock was a preacher.

Joan Rivers was a comedian from Brooklyn, New York who got her big break on “The Tonight Show”, on which she was first a guest in 1965. She became the first woman to host a late night talk show in 1986 when she hosted “The Late Show with Joan Rivers”. Rivers passed away following routine throat surgery in September of 2014.

23 Word in some rap handles : LIL

“Lil’” is a short form of the word “little”. There are a whole slew of rappers named “Lil’ something”, such as Lil Wayne, Lil’ J, and Lil’ Kim.

26 Lake formed by the Hoover Dam : MEAD

The reservoir on the Colorado River known as Lake Mead used to be the largest reservoir in the US. Located outside Las Vegas, drought and increasing demand for water has shrunk Lake Mead so that now Lake Sakakawea on the Missouri in North Dakota has a larger surface area and volume of water.

When the magnificent Hoover Dam was completed in 1936 it was the largest hydroelectric plant in the world, as well as being the world’s largest concrete structure. The edifice was originally known as Boulder Dam, due to its location near Boulder City, Nevada. The dam was eventually named after Herbert Hoover for his role in having the dam built when he was Secretary of Commerce, and his later support as US President. There was a formal dedication ceremony held in September 1935 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the area, when only work on the powerhouse was incomplete. President Roosevelt managed to make his dedication speech without once referring to the name of his former opponent President Hoover. When the dam was finally put into service in 1936, the project was two years ahead of schedule. Those were the days …

27 Utah’s state fossil : ALLOSAURUS

The most popular dinosaurs depicted in the movies, especially the older ones, are the Tyrannosaurs and the Allosauruses. They look very similar, with the former being the really big guy. One difference between the two, is that they weren’t around at the same time. The allosaurus was around during the Jurassic period, but the T. Rex didn’t appear on Earth for another 100 million years or so, during the Cretaceous period.

33 Sports radio host Jim : ROME

Jim Rome is a sports talk-show host who is best known these days for “The Jim Rome Show” on CBS Sports Radio.

36 “IMHO … ” : DARE I SAY …

In my humble opinion (IMHO)

39 LAPD unit? : LOS

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is the third-largest local law enforcement agency in the country, after New York PD and Chicago PD. Among other things, LAPD is famous for creating the first Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in the US, in 1965.

43 Deal with lawn thatch : AERATE

Lawn aeration is the process of creating holes in the soil to aid in the growth of the grass. The spiking of the soil severs the roots of the existing grass, which causes the blades to multiply and hence thickening the lawn.

45 Glazer of “Broad City” : ILANA

Ilana Glazer is a comedian from Long Island, New York. Glazer is the co-creator of the Comedy Central sitcom “Broad City” along with comedian Abbi Jacobson.

“Broad City” is a sitcom shown on Comedy Central that started out life as a web series on the Internet. It’s about two young Jewish American women having misadventures in New York City.

48 Freebie : COMP

To comp is to give for free, with “comp” coming from “complimentary”.

49 The duck, in “Peter and the Wolf” : OBOE

As is the case for many I am sure, Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” was my introduction to the world of classical music, as it was played for us at school many, many moons ago. Prokofiev wrote the piece as a commissioned work for the Central Children’s Theater in Moscow, in 1936. He loved the idea of the project, and wrote the story and music in just four days!

50 It’s a wrap : SARI

The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that it is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

51 Head Start class : PRE-K

The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) was created during the Lyndon Johnson administration. The agency was responsible for administering the War on Poverty programs that were part of President Johnson’s Great Society agenda. The OEO was shut down by President Nixon, although some of the office’s programs were transferred to other agencies. A few of the OEO’s programs are still around today, e.g. Head Start.

52 DEA agents : FEDS

A fed is an officer of a US federal agency, although the term “fed” usually applies to an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Alaska’s flag includes the best-known part of it : URSA MAJOR
10 Stop orders : HALTS
15 2002 Emmy winner for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series : RAY ROMANO
16 Caribbean sorcery : OBEAH
17 Bagel-shaped confection : LIFE SAVER
18 First Japanese tennis player with a WTA #1 ranking : OSAKA
19 Cute : SLY
20 Shrink : ANALYST
22 Get it, in slang : DIG
23 Blinking aids : LIDS
24 Fugu danger : TOXIN
26 Ars __: chiromancy, e.g. : MAGICA
29 Feline defense : CLAWING
31 Jewish month after Av : ELUL
32 Go-ahead : GREEN LIGHT
35 Clay, beginning in 1964 : ALI
36 Thingamabobs : DOODADS
37 Verbal shrug : MEH
38 Means of filling up for less? : DOLLAR MENU
40 Swain : BEAU
41 Attacked en masse : STORMED
42 Puts on a coat : PAINTS
44 Dazed : AT SEA
45 Guaranteed, as a victory : ICED
46 Surly sort : CUR
47 Like Oz, but not Kansas : IN COLOR
50 Banana Boat no. : SPF
53 Ram among the stars : ARIES
55 Its formal name includes “Patient Protection,” informally : OBAMACARE
57 Sanjay of CNN : GUPTA
58 Kept track of : MONITORED
59 Literary work that sounds like two of its letters : ESSAY
60 Doves : PEACENIKS

Down

1 Bing results : URLS
2 Something to travel by : RAIL
3 “Resident Alien” network : SYFY
4 I won’t use it, but you will : ARE
5 Assembled artwork : MOSAIC
6 “The Hill We Climb” poet : AMANDA GORMAN
7 Diner cupfuls : JAVAS
8 Torts taker : ONE L
9 “Gilmore Girls” girl : RORY
10 Birds named for their sounds : HOOT OWLS
11 Six-pack makeup : ABS
12 Phoenix and Washington, e.g. : LEADING MEN
13 Subjected to flak : TAKING HEAT
14 Uneven do : SHAG
21 Rock or Rivers : STAND-UP COMIC
23 Word in some rap handles : LIL
25 Letters atop a face : XII
26 Lake formed by the Hoover Dam : MEAD
27 Utah’s state fossil : ALLOSAURUS
28 Unpleasant journeys : GUILT TRIPS
29 Turned over : CEDED
30 Tend : LEAN
33 Sports radio host Jim : ROME
34 Conclusion beginning : THUS …
36 “IMHO … ” : DARE I SAY …
39 LAPD unit? : LOS
40 Nod, at times : BID
43 Deal with lawn thatch : AERATE
45 Glazer of “Broad City” : ILANA
46 Batting practice setting : CAGE
48 Freebie : COMP
49 The duck, in “Peter and the Wolf” : OBOE
50 It’s a wrap : SARI
51 Head Start class : PRE-K
52 DEA agents : FEDS
54 Flight board abbr. : ETA
56 Scam : CON

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Mar 22, Saturday”

  1. LAT: Took forever to get a foothold, which I finally did in the bottom left (thanks to Sanjay Gupta). Once I did, it started to flow. Finished in about 50 minutes with surprisingly no errors despite several guesses.

  2. Whew! Needed help today. @Mary – you rocked it!

    OBEAH MAGICA and AMANDA (first part of GORMAN).

    Had nothing for long time. Kept spinning around the grid like a rat in a maze. I was humbled. Got a cup of coffee, put on my big boy pants and went at it again. Very slowly.

    Learned about CHIROMANCY today. So there’s that.

  3. Hunted and pecked my way to victory in what I was certain at the start would be an ignoble defeat. I can gauge the level of difficulty by Bill’s solve time for one and my own staring and humming for another.

  4. I took a brief pass through the first clues of this and just decided, “Y’know what? This isn’t even worth my time”.

    DNF. DNS (Did not *start*).

  5. No look ups,no errors. Great challenge. I too
    had a little trouble getting a foothold despite
    getting the NW corner fairly quick. 3 fixes
    on the fly redid/ceded, game/cage and
    swarmed/stormed. Loved the Astronomy
    references and all the long answers. Good
    Saturday puzzle 🙂

  6. Cute = Sly? Give me a break. That one plus a few others were too far off-base from the answers. Ms. Ellerin was just too sly to be cute!!

  7. 28:12 – no errors but with a side-glance at the Alaska state flag. I thought I remembered it, but had the California flag visualized instead (bear and pine tree). Once I looked up the flag, URSA MAJOR came to me, and I could finish the puzzle in that corner. Had to work it from the bottom-up, s-l-o-w-l-y filling in piecemeal as I could get an answer.

    Revisions included: HITS>URLS, ROAD>RAIL, SOUPS>JAVAS, ACED>ICED.

    New items were: chiromancy (but I don’t see how that relates to the RPG of Ars Magica), Fugu, Elul (again), Utah’s state fossil, Jim Rome.

    1. Really?? You mean a change in the LA Times puzzle editor, or on this web site. I wouldn’t want to see Bill go, but I’ve been wanting to see the back of Rich Norris for many months!!

  8. Tough but finally doable Saturday for me; took 1:04:34 with no peeks or errors in the end. Stuck in the NW for a long time. I did a “check-grid” but had nothing wrong with about 10 squares to fill, so no fault, no error. Really proud of myself for persevering to the end, despite not knowing so many things: RAY ROMANO, RORY, OBEAH, MAGICA, ROME and ILANA. A lot of good guesses like on SYFY, ONEL, SLY and ELUL (had ELaL).

    Really loved the “Means of filling up for less?” and “Puts on a coat” clues.

    And, added another 3 word Wordle and 3 guess Worldle.

  9. Never heard of ‘iced’ for guaranteed victory. A quick search of the internet didn’t turn anything up.

    28D should have had a question mark since it wasn’t really about ‘journeys’ at all.

    Don’t plan to learn all the months in the Jewish calendar, nor all of the state fossils.

    39A was a stretch given the definition of ‘unit’, but I suppose the puzzlemaker felt like putting a question mark after the clue gave them latitude to misuse the term.

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