LA Times Crossword 19 Mar 22, Saturday

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Constructed by: John Guzzetta
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 8m 37s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • GOB (cob!)
  • GASPAR (Caspar!)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Arizona city within the Coconino National Forest : SEDONA

The city of Sedona is noted for its location amid an array of red sandstone rock formations, which are particularly beautiful at sunrise and sunset. Sedona was named after the wife of the city’s first postmaster, one Sedona Arabella Miller Schnebly.

The Coconino National Forest in northern Arizona surrounds two major cities: Flagstaff and Sedona.

14 It includes the study of roots : ARITHMETIC

Arithmetic is the most elementary branch of mathematics. It is concerned with the effect of basic operations on numbers, and especially the effect of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

17 Profile : SILHOUETTE

A silhouette is an outline, usually of a person’s profile, which has been filled in with a solid color. One theory is that the term comes from the name of the French Minister of Finance in 1759, Étienne de Silhouette. Said minister made major cutbacks in spending to finance the Seven Years War, cutbacks that were not popular with the citizenry. His name came to be used for a cheap way of making someone’s likeness, a “silhouette”.

18 Saharan republic : CHAD

The landlocked African country called Chad takes its name from the second largest wetland on the continent, which is known as Lake Chad.

The name “Sahara” means “greatest desert” in Arabic. The Sahara is just that, a great desert covering almost 4 million square miles of Northern Africa. That’s almost the size of the United States.

20 Get out of the cooler, with “for” : POST BAIL …

The cooler, the pen, the joint, the slammer, the can … the prison.

27 Walking area in a Depression Era novel : WILD SIDE

Nelson Algren was an author from Detroit who is best known today for his 1949 novel “The Man with the Golden Arm”. The famous novel won the National Book Award and was made into a celebrated 1955 film of the same name starring Frank Sinatra. Algren also wrote a novel called “A Walk on the Wild Side”, the title of which was used in a great 1972 Lou Reed song.

31 “Tundra” series coolers, e.g. : YETIS

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.

32 Some four-legged toys, informally : POMS

The Pomeranian is a small breed of dog named for the Pomerania region of Europe (part of eastern Germany and northern Poland). The breed was much loved by the royalty of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 19th century, Queen Victoria owned a particularly small Pomeranian. Due to the notoriety of the monarch’s pet, the Pomeranian was bred for small size, so that during the Queen’s admittedly long reign, the size of the average “pom” was reduced by 50% …

35 Ancient Greek physician : GALEN

Galen of Pergamum was a physician of ancient Rome (of Greek ethnicity). Galen mainly worked on monkeys, dissecting their bodies to learn about physiology, as it was not permitted to dissect human bodies in his day.

37 Philippic : RANT

A philippic is a damning speech designed to bring down a politician. The original “philippic” was delivered in the 4th century BCE by the Greek statesman Demosthenes, and was an attack on Philip II of Macedon, hence the name.

38 __ horizon: astrophysics boundary : EVENT

In a black hole, the event horizon is the point of no return, the point at which the pull of gravity is so strong that nothing can escape the hole, including light.

40 Patsy : STOOGE

We use the term “stooge” these days to describe an unwitting victim, or perhaps the straight man in a comedy duo. The first stooges were simply stage assistants, back in the early 1900s.

The etymology of the word “patsy” meaning “fall guy” isn’t really understood. One colorful theory suggests that the term comes from an 1890s vaudeville character named Patsy Bolivar. Patsy always got the blame when something went wrong.

42 Fortresses : REDOUBTS

A redoubt is a system of fortifications that surround a larger fort. The redoubt is used to protect soldiers stationed outside the main fort, and to provide additional defenses. The term “redoubt” (originally “redout”) means “place of retreat”.

44 Binging : ON A JAG

The terms “jag” and “bender” describe periods of unrestrained activity, particularly those involving alcohol. Both words have been in use since the 1800s.

48 One of Willie Mays’ MLB career 140 : TRIPLE

Willie Mays’ nickname was “Say Hey Kid”, although his friends and teammates were more likely to refer to him as “Buck”. When Mays was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he was asked who was the best player he’d ever seen in the game. He replied, “I don’t mean to be bashful, but I was.”

49 It separated from Serbia in 2008 : KOSOVO

The country name “Kosovo” is an adjectival form of the Serbian word “kos” meaning “blackbird”. The name commemorates the “field of the blackbirds”, the site of a 1389 battle between Serbia and the Ottoman Empire. The dispute over Kosovo technically dates back to the implosion of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The capital of Kosovo is Pristina.

50 Something to check before picking up : CALLER ID

The basic technology behind caller ID was developed in Athens, Greece by “Ted” Paraskevakos in the late sixties and early seventies. The man should be made a saint …

55 Cuba libre mixer : COLA

The cocktail known as a Cuba libre is basically a rum and Coke, although the traditional recipe also calls for a splash of lime juice.

58 Arabian Sea nation : OMAN

The Arabian Sea is an arm of the Indian Ocean that lies off the coasts of Oman, Yemen, Pakistan and Iran. It is bounded in the west by Somalia, and in the east by India.

60 2012 U.S. Open champ Simpson : WEBB

Webb Simpson is a golf pro who won the US Open in 2012 and Players Championship in 2018.

61 Breakfast pastry : DANISH

The Danish pastry that we know so well over here in the US is indeed a Danish specialty, although the recipe was brought to Denmark by Austrian bakers. A “Danish” is called “Viennese bread” in Denmark.

Down

1 Crèche figure : GASPAR

“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:

  • Melchior: a scholar from Persia
  • Caspar (also “Gaspar”): a scholar from India
  • Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia

In the Christian tradition, a nativity scene (also “crèche”) is a display representing the scene of the birth of Jesus. Nativity scenes might be subjects for paintings, for example, although the term is usually used for seasonal displays associated with the Christmas season.

2 Camden Yards athlete : ORIOLE

Oriole Park is home to the Baltimore Orioles baseball team. The full name of the stadium is Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The name “Camden Yards” is used because the ballpark is built on land that was once used as the rail yard for B&O Railroad’s Camden Station.

3 Cheated : BILKED

The verb “to bilk”, meaning “to defraud”, comes from the card game of cribbage. “To bilk” in cribbage is to spoil someone’s score.

4 Like Teller, vis-à-vis Penn : SHORTER

Penn Jillette is one half of the duo of magicians known as Penn & Teller (Penn is the one who talks). Penn teamed up with Teller on stage in 1981, having met him through a friend back in 1974. As well as being talkative onstage, Penn is very vocal offstage when it comes to his causes and beliefs. He is a devout atheist, a libertarian and a supporter of free-market capitalism.

The illusionist Teller, of Penn & Teller, was born Raymond Teller in Philadelphia, although has legally changed his name to simply “Teller”. Teller decided not to speak during his performances way back in his youth. He was doing magic at college fraternity parties and discovered that by remaining silent the potentially rowdy audience focused on his act and refrained from throwing beer at him!

5 Cassowary kin : EMU

The cassowary is a large, flightless bird found mainly in New Guinea. One species of cassowary is the third tallest bird on the planet, second only to the ostrich and the emu.

7 “The Simpsons” bus driver : OTTO

Otto Mann drives the school bus on the TV show “The Simpsons”. Otto is a Germanic character voiced by Harry Shearer, and his name is a play on “Ottoman Empire”. Whenever Bart sees him, he greets Otto with the words “Otto, man!”

9 Radical in vinegar : ACETYL

The acetyl group (CH3) comprises one carbon atom with three hydrogen atoms.

Acetic acid has the formula CH3COOH, and is the main component of vinegar.

12 Firing on all cylinders : DIALED IN

To be firing on all cylinders is to be operating to full potential. The etymology is perhaps obvious. An internal combustion engine with say a faulty distributor or spark plug might have a cylinder that is misfiring. An engine NOT firing on all cylinders is NOT operating to full potential.

13 Normal: Abbr. : STD

Standard (std.)

21 Shampoo ad buzzword : BODY

Back in the 1760s, the verb “to shampoo” was an Anglo-Indian word meaning “to massage”. A century later we started to shampoo our hair.

23 Pollution portmanteau : SMOG

A portmanteau was a large suitcase, one that could be taken apart into two separate pieces. The word “portmanteau” is French for a “traveling bag”, from “porter” (to carry) and “manteau” (a coat, cloak). We also use “portmanteau” to mean a word that has been melded together from two parts (just as the suitcase comprised two parts). This usage was introduced to the world by Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. He explained to Alice that the nonsense words in the “Jabberwocky” poem were actually portmanteau words. For example “slithy” comes from “slimy” and “lithe”.

27 Paintball mementos : WELTS

The “paint” in paintball isn’t actually paint, but rather a mix of gelatin and food coloring.

28 Prefix with gram or graph : IDEO-

An ideograph or ideogram is a pictorial symbol used to represent a concept. A good example would be an emoticon, like a smiley face 🙂

30 Tweed’s caricaturist : NAST

Thomas Nast was an American caricaturist and cartoonist. He was the creator of the Republican Party elephant, the Democratic Party donkey, Uncle Sam and the image of the plump and jocular Santa Claus that we use today. Thomas Nast drew some famous cartoons in which he depicted the Tammany Society as a vicious tiger that was killing democracy. Nast’s use of the tiger symbology caught on and was used by other cartoonists to harp at the society.

William Magear Tweed was known as “Boss” Tweed. He was a 19th-century, American politician who led the Democratic Party machine in New York, headquartered in Tammany Hall. He was one of the most successful of the corrupt politicians of the day, siphoning from taxpayers (in today’s money) billions of dollars. In 1871 he was arrested, and served time in jail. He was then rearrested on civil charges and served time in debtor’s prison. He managed to escape to Spain, but was arrested again and extradited to the United States. He died in jail in 1878.

33 Verklempt : OVERCOME

“Verklempt” is a Yiddish adjective meaning “overcome with emotion”.

39 Rock’s Jethro __ : TULL

Jethro Tull is a rock band from the UK, formed in 1967 and active until 2012. The band uses the name of an 18th-century, English agriculturist.

41 Like some garden figures : GNOMISH

In English folklore, the fairy’s anti-hero is the diminutive gnome, an evil ugly character. Although the charastics of gnomes vary in folklore, typically they are described as diminutive humanoids who live underground. Over the centuries, the gnome has become more lovable. We now have garden gnomes, and even the Travelocity Gnome.

43 Bellyached : BEEFED

A beef is a complaint or a grievance. It’s not quite clear how “beef” came to have this meaning, but one suggestion is that it derives from the habit of soldiers at the end of the 1800s complaining about the quality or availability of beef in their rations.

45 Festive : JOVIAL

Someone described as jovial exhibits good humor and cheerfulness. The term “jovial” comes from the Latin word “Iovius” meaning “pertaining to Jupiter”. Jupiter was the Roman god of the sky. Astrologers assert that those of us born under the sign of the planet Jupiter are convivial in nature, which explains our usage of “jovial”.

51 European capital on its own gulf : RIGA

Riga is the capital city of Latvia. The historical center of Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, declared as such because of the city’s magnificent examples of Art Nouveau architecture.

The Gulf of Riga is a bay in the Baltic Sea that lies between Latvia and Estonia.

53 “Give Your Heart a Break” singer Lovato : DEMI

Pop and R&B singer Demi Lovato started her performing career as a child actress, playing Angela on the kids TV show “Barney & Friends” from 2002 to 2004. When she was all grown up, Levato served as a judge on “The X Factor” from 2012 to 2013, and soon after had the recurring role of Dani on “Glee”.

55 Strong-arm : COW

The verb “to cow” means to intimidate, to scare. The exact etymology of the term seems unclear.

57 Brief brief filers : DAS

District attorney (DA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Chunk : GOB
4 Arizona city within the Coconino National Forest : SEDONA
10 Medical capacity measure : BEDS
14 It includes the study of roots : ARITHMETIC
16 Go : EXIT
17 Profile : SILHOUETTE
18 Saharan republic : CHAD
19 Fireplace accessory : POKER
20 Get out of the cooler, with “for” : POST BAIL …
22 Cautions : ALERTS
24 “For sure!” : YOU BET!
26 Save, in a way : REDEEM
27 Walking area in a Depression Era novel : WILD SIDE
29 Pressed : IRONED
31 “Tundra” series coolers, e.g. : YETIS
32 Some four-legged toys, informally : POMS
35 Ancient Greek physician : GALEN
37 Philippic : RANT
38 __ horizon: astrophysics boundary : EVENT
40 Patsy : STOOGE
42 Fortresses : REDOUBTS
44 Binging : ON A JAG
48 One of Willie Mays’ MLB career 140 : TRIPLE
49 It separated from Serbia in 2008 : KOSOVO
50 Something to check before picking up : CALLER ID
54 Relocation figure : MOVER
55 Cuba libre mixer : COLA
56 It features exquisite settings : FINE DINING
58 Arabian Sea nation : OMAN
59 Buttering-up : EGO MASSAGE
60 2012 U.S. Open champ Simpson : WEBB
61 Breakfast pastry : DANISH
62 Conducted : LED

Down

1 Crèche figure : GASPAR
2 Camden Yards athlete : ORIOLE
3 Cheated : BILKED
4 Like Teller, vis-à-vis Penn : SHORTER
5 Cassowary kin : EMU
6 __ dive : DEEP
7 “The Simpsons” bus driver : OTTO
8 Quibbles : NITS
9 Radical in vinegar : ACETYL
10 Nonspecific and terse response to “Why?” : “BECAUSE” REASONS
11 It might be the murder weapon : EXHIBIT A
12 Firing on all cylinders : DIALED IN
13 Normal: Abbr. : STD
15 Bad news about options : THERE IS NO PLAN B
21 Shampoo ad buzzword : BODY
23 Pollution portmanteau : SMOG
25 Check : TEST
27 Paintball mementos : WELTS
28 Prefix with gram or graph : IDEO-
30 Tweed’s caricaturist : NAST
32 Fresh : PERT
33 Verklempt : OVERCOME
34 On-campus area for communications majors : MEDIA LAB
36 Common library area : NOOK
39 Rock’s Jethro __ : TULL
41 Like some garden figures : GNOMISH
43 Bellyached : BEEFED
45 Festive : JOVIAL
46 Retaliate for : AVENGE
47 Consumed in large amounts : GORGED
51 European capital on its own gulf : RIGA
52 Privy to : IN ON
53 “Give Your Heart a Break” singer Lovato : DEMI
55 Strong-arm : COW
57 Brief brief filers : DAS

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

  1. LAT: A little less than an hour with no errors. A minor quibble with 10D: I think the clue should have included the plural “responses” if the answer included “reasons.” Never heard of “verklempt.”

    1. I think the punctuation added to the 10-D answer, as shown above (“BECAUSE” REASONS”) is misleading. I have heard people say, when asked why they did something, “Because … reasons.”, which probably means, “Just because … and I have my reasons … but I don’t want to go into it in detail.”

    2. (Later) I now think the interpretation (“BECAUSE” REASONS) works just as well as mine (and it’s simpler).

  2. Quite a slog today; ended up with no errors, but had several “lookups”,
    mostly proper names. Also had to change “postbond” to
    “postbail” and Willie Mays’ “double” to “triple” to finish.
    I wasn’t familiar with “verklempt” so that was another lookup.

  3. Had CASPAR for 1D. I’ll take COB as a Chunk!!!!!! No errors!!!! (drop mic) HA!

    Several answers sound unfinished BEEEFED BECAUSE REASONS GNOMISH

    oh well.

    It was a long slog. Over half an hour. Unlike the NYT… that one kicked my butt.

    1. @Anon Mike …

      My Webster’s Third says that one meaning of “COB” is “a lump or piece (as of coal or stone) or a rounded heap or mass”, so … together with the fact that “CASPAR” is the preferred spelling of that particular member of the Three Wise Men … all I can say is, “I’m with you! We got it right! An acceptable alternate pair of answers!” Yay, us!

      (Mind you, that definition of “COB” is preceded by dial Eng, but I’m willing to ignore that if you are … 😜.)

    1. @Anon Mike …

      I’m sure Glenn is right that “Lester Ruff” is the pseudonym Stanley Newman uses to signal that a Stumper is “less rough”, but sometimes the puzzles he attaches that name to aren’t all that less rough. Today’s still took me twenty-five minutes … 😳.

    2. That’s pretty much what I read about “Lester Ruff”. It’s Newman constructing a puzzle where he’s signaling it’s easier. Of course (as a lot of the NYT stuff indicates, especially), a lot of the “intended difficulty” can vary pretty widely depending on one’s knowledge (or lack thereof) and how well written the clues are. (Both being factors in today’s NYT for me)

      Like for the last two from “Ruff’s” pen, it was 12 and 22 minutes with no errors, but I’ve had DNFs in the hours before. Admittedly I was rather disappointed with the former, but the latter was about parallel with this LAT puzzle in terms of difficulty.

  4. 22:27 and DNF: entire NE corner, and a few other errors in other areas. With that ridiculous fill BECAUSE REASONS, I had NO chance to ever get a foothold in the top right corner. I had I HAVE MY REASONS in there, so … well, you can’t recover from that. An AWFUL fill.

  5. Fun puzzle did think pert and redoubts were a bit of a “stretch”…way down in the meaning of those words

  6. John Guzzetta’s clues are too vague (e.g. gob) and sometimes no explanation is given (e.g. verklempt). Also, “A walk on the wild side” is not “a Depression Era novel”. This novel was written in 1956.

    1. @Jose …

      The novel was written in 1956, but it’s set in the Depression Era, so, in that sense, it is a “Depression Era novel”.

    1. I gave some impressions earlier about encountering Norris as a constructor. I thought similar about Varol, but I’ll admit she’s been nowhere near active as he was, especially since about 2020 as I can’t recall a single puzzle of hers I’ve done since then. Of course, I do remember solving a few of hers in the past though. I thought about scanning through what I have saved to find an example or two of hers and redoing them.

      But yeah, there’ll be lots of evaluation come 04/18 (her start date).

  7. Very tough – 36:05 with no lookups or errors. Revisions were: NOSE>DEEP, GRIPED>BEEFED, LAW>COW, RAN>LED.

    Several new items: GALEN, “Philippic,” Willie Mays’ triples, WILDSIDE in a particular novel, ACETYL, “Berklempt.”

    Like others, some tough cluing for me; several things I didn’t know, but was able to guess myself into.

  8. Worked a bit of this puzzle while I waited for Trader Joe’s to open this morning and then forgot the paper in the car until just now (8.5 hours later). I pecked my way through without final error. First I tried cramming “Because I said so” into the space for what finally turned out to be “Because reasons” and that meant a plethora of strike overs. Hey, what’s a Saturday puzzle without a plethora of those!

  9. Too tough for me today; took 1:07:25 in total, but I gave up around 45 minutes and did a “check-grid” to discover 4 errors at about 60% fill. Started to snooze as I lost interest and finally did 3 or 4 more “check-grids” to get to the C/G in the top NW corner, where I guessed wrong at first…sigh.

    At least I had GALEN, TRIPLE, CHAD, OTTO, NAST, DEMI and REDOUBTS among the less obvious. Still, only had ARITHMETIC of all the long clues. Learned how to spell SILHOUETTES.

    Even took 4 guesses for both Wordle and Worldle…

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