LA Times Crossword 2 Apr 22, Saturday

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Constructed by: Adrian Johnson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 10m 36s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Malleable : BENDY

Something malleable is capable of being shaped by beating with a hammer. “Malleable” comes from the Latin “malleus” meaning “hammer”. We mainly use the term figuratively these days, to describe something or someone capable of being altered by outside influences.

15 One of two in a historic 1869 Utah meeting : IRON HORSE

The term “iron horse” started appearing in Victorian times, describing those new-fangled steam-driven trains and trams that left horse-drawn vehicles in their dust. The term was especially popular in North America where it described steam locomotives.

The First Transcontinental Railroad was a cooperative project between the Western Pacific, the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad Companies. The Western Pacific Railroad constructed line between Oakland and Sacramento in California. The Central Pacific Railroad laid line from Sacramento to Promontory Summit, Utah. The Union Pacific Railroad put down tracks in a westerly direction, from the existing network terminus near Omaha, Nebraska, all the way to Promontory Summit. It was the connecting of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads at Promontory Summit that completed the First Transcontinental Line in 1869. The driving of the Golden Spike (also “Last Spike”) symbolically completed the project. That spike was pounded into the ground by Leland Stanford, president of both the Southern Pacific and the Central Pacific railroads. The spike can now be viewed at Stanford University, the school founded by Leland and named after his son Leland Jr., who died of typhoid fever as a teenager.

18 Former birds only found on Mauritius : DODOS

The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and dove, although the fully-grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago (last recorded alive in 1662) and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius and when man arrived, we cut back the forests that were its home. We also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests. The dodo was deemed to be an awkward flightless bird and so the term “dodo” has come to mean a dull-witted person.

19 Fluid obstacles : MOATS

A moat is a protective trench that surrounds a castle, say, or an exhibit in a zoo. A moat may or may not be filled with water.

22 French military cap : KEPI

A kepi is a circular cap with a visor, one that’s particularly associated with the French military.

23 Projection, e.g.: Abbr. : EST

Estimate (est.)

25 One-named fashion icon : IMAN

Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid is a supermodel from Somalia who goes simply by the name “Iman” these days. “Iman” is an Arabic word for “faith”. She is a smart cookie. She has a degree in political science and is fluent in five languages: Somali, Arabic, Italian, French and English. Iman was married to English rock star David Bowie from 1992 until his death in 2016.

26 Lunar dark spot : MARE

A mare is a large dark area on the moon. “Mare” is the Latin for “sea”. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Mare Tranquillitatis, the Sea of Tranquility.

28 1930s J.B. Rhine coinage, briefly : ESP

J. B. Rhine was a botanist and founder of parapsychology, the study of alleged psychic phenomena. Rhine is credited with coining the term “extrasensory perception”.

31 Branch-dwelling rainforest reptile : TREE BOA

Tree boas are a genus of snakes with exceptionally long anterior teeth. Like all boas, they are nonvenomous snakes. The long teeth are used to penetrate layers of feathers so that they better grip birds, which make up most of their diet.

36 Hardly reputable : SEAMY

We’ve used “seamy” to mean “the least pleasant, the worst” since the 1600s. The idea comes from the seamed side of a sewn garment being the less attractive.

43 Lab sound : ARF!

The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814, and the chocolate Labrador appeared over a century later in the 1930s. The name “Labrador Retriever” is simply a reference to the breed’s origin and behavior. Labs originally “retrieved” from the “Labrador Sea”.

44 Quote qualifier : [SIC]

[Sic] indicates that a quotation is written as originally found, perhaps including a typo. “Sic” is Latin for “thus, like this”. The term is more completely written as “sic erat scriptum”, which translates as “thus was it written”.

45 2021 Pac-12 champs : UTES

The Utah Utes are the athletic teams of the University of Utah.

48 Word before hack or jack : PHONE …

A computer hacker is a computer expert, and in particular one who uses that expertise to solve problems with hardware and software. So, the original use of the term “hacking” was very positive. Since the 1980s, the term “hacker” is more commonly used for an expert in subverting computer security.

50 “Never to suffer would never to have been blessed” writer : POE

The line “Never to suffer would have been never to have been blessed.” comes from the 1849 story “Mesmeric Revolution” by Edgar Allan Poe.

53 French for “unbleached” : ECRU

The color ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.

54 Spill the beans : SING

To spill the beans is to divulge a secret. The expression first appeared in American English, in the early 1900s. The phrase arose as an alternative to “spoil the beans” or “upset the applecart”. The similarly meaning phrase “spill the tea” is more prevalent on the other side of the Atlantic.

55 Herringbone, e.g. : TWILL

The verb “to twill” means to weave a cloth (called “twill”) that has a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs.

Herringbone is a v-shape pattern found in some fabrics, particularly twill. Woolen fabrics with a herringbone pattern are often used to make suits and other outerwear.

57 Paris possessive : NOTRE

“Notre” is a French word meaning “our”.

62 Presidential carrier that flew with an all-women crew for the first time in 2009 : MARINE ONE

Marine One is the call sign used by a Marine Corps helicopter when it is carrying the US president. In fact, the call sign can be used by any Marine Corps aircraft carrying the president, but usually refers to either a Sea King or White Hawk helicopter that is used routinely in transportation to and from the White House.

63 Gin berries : SLOES

The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush, and the main flavoring ingredient in sloe gin. A sloe looks like a small plum, but is usually much more tart in taste.

Down

2 Snack brand with a 2012 100th-anniversary “Daily Twist” campaign : OREOS

The Oreo cookie was introduced in 1912. The Oreo was intended to be a competitor to the very similar Hydrox cookie which had debuted four years earlier. The Oreo won the resulting battle on the grocery store shelves …

5 Cartoonist Addams : CHAS

Charles Addams was a cartoonist who signed his work “Chas Addams”. He didn’t draw a cartoon strip but rather individual cartoons, although many of his cartoons did feature regular characters. The most famous of these were the members of the Addams Family, who were published in single-panel cartoons between 1938 and 1988 in “The New Yorker”. The Addams Family moved onto the small and big screens starting in 1964.

7 Horn of Africa country : ERITREA

Eritrea is a country located in the Horn of Africa, and surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Red Sea. Some scientists believe that the area now known as Eritrea was the departure point for anatomically modern humans who first left Africa to populate the rest of the world.

The Horn of Africa is that horn-shaped peninsula at the easternmost tip of the continent, containing the countries Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia as well as Somalia. The Horn of Africa is also known as the Somali Peninsula.

8 Tokyo brewer : ASAHI

Asahi is a Japanese beer, and the name of the brewery that produces it. “Asahi” is Japanese for “morning sun”. Asahi introduced a “dry beer” in 1987, igniting a craze that rocketed the brewery to the number one spot in terms of beer production in Japan, with Sapporo close behind.

11 Ramen morsel : ENOKI

Enokitake (also known as “enoki”) are long and thin white mushrooms often added to soups or salads.

Ramen is a noodle dish composed of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a meat or fish broth flavored with soy or miso sauce. Ramen is usually topped with sliced pork and dried seaweed. The term “ramen” is also used for precooked, instant noodles that come in single-serving, solid blocks.

13 Rat (on) : DROP A DIME

The slang term “drop a dime” describes the act of sharing secret information. Apparently, the term arose in the mid-1900s as underworld slang for ratting on someone to the police. The “dime” was the 10-cents used to make a phone call to the cops.

24 Country club employee : PRO

That might be the golf pro.

26 Social media spreader : MEME

A meme (from “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

27 Tartarus, in Greek myth : ABYSS

In Greek mythology, Tartarus was a deep abyss in Hades used to punish the wicked. Tartarus was also one of the Greek primordial deities, the first generation of gods and goddesses.

29 Group that follows a star? : POSSE

A rap star’s entourage is usually called his or her “posse”.

Our word “posse” comes from an Anglo-Latin term from the early 15th century “posse comitatus” meaning “the force of the county”.

31 Users of travelers’ checks? : TSA AGENTS

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) operates its precheck program known as “TSA Pre✓” (or “TSA PreCheck”). Members of the program receive expedited screening at most airports. In order to become a member, a traveler must apply online, appear in person at a designated office for a background check and fingerprinting, and pay a fee for a 5-year membership.

33 Dine expectantly? : EAT FOR TWO

The normal gestation period for humans is 280 days, a little over 9 months. The gestation period can be a little shorter, or longer. Back in 1945, a pregnancy was confirmed at 375 days, which is just over 12 months.

35 Actor William of “Boy Meets World” : RUSS

William Russ is an actor probably best known for playing the title character’s father on the comedy-drama show “Boy Meets World”.

“Boy Meets World” is a comedy-drama series that originally aired from 1993 to 2000. The main character was Cory Matthews, played by child star Ben Savage. Ben is the younger brother of another child star, Fred Savage of “Wonder Years” fame.

40 Great divides : SCHISMS

A schism is a split or division, especially in a religion.

41 Liszt’s homeland : HUNGARY

Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer and a fabulous pianist. Particularly towards the end of his life, Liszt gained a tremendous reputation as a teacher. While he was in his sixties, his teaching profession demanded that he commute regularly between the cities of Rome, Weimar and Budapest. It is quite remarkable that a man of such an advanced age, and in the 1870s, could do so much annual travel. It is estimated that Liszt journeyed at least 4,000 miles every year!

47 Blender button : PUREE

A purée is a food that has been made smooth by straining or blending. “Purée” is a French term, which I believe is now used to mean “pea soup” (more completely written as “purée de pois”). The French verb “purer” means “to strain, clean”, from the Latin “purare” meaning “to purify, clean”.

50 Cab alternative : PINOT

The pinot noir wine grape variety takes its name from the French for “pine” and “black”. The grapes grow in tight clusters shaped like pine cones, and are very dark in color. The pinot noir grape is most closely associated with Burgundy wines in France, although in recent years the popularity (and price) of California pinot noir wine has soared after it featured so prominently in the wonderful 2004 movie “Sideways”. Grab a bottle of pinot, and go rent the movie …

51 QB protectors, in football lingo : O-LINE

Offensive line (O-line)

55 Amy’s mid-2000s “Weekend Update” partner : TINA

Comedian and actress Tina Fey was born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. Fey is perhaps best known to television viewers as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” (1997-2006), and as the creator and star of the sitcom “30 Rock” (2006-2013).

Amy Poehler was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” from 2001 to 2008, notable for appearing in many great sketches, including those where she played Hillary Clinton opposite Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin. Poehler also starred with Fey in the 2008 movie “Baby Mama”. And, Poehler led the cast of the sitcom “Parks and Recreation” for its seven-season run.

“Weekend Update” is the longest-running of any recurring sketch on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL). In fact, the segment made its debut on the very first show, back in 1975. The first “anchor” at the “Weekend Update” desk was Chevy Chase.

58 TV drama settings : ERS

Emergency room (ER)

60 South Carolina senator Scott : TIM

Tim Scott was appointed US Senator for South Carolina by then Governor Nikki Haley in 2013. Scott won the seat in his own right the following year in a special election. He had served in the US House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013, making him the only African American to have served in both chambers of congress.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Lose it : GO NUCLEAR
10 Malleable : BENDY
15 One of two in a historic 1869 Utah meeting : IRON HORSE
16 Desensitize : INURE
17 Coloring of some papers? : MEDIA BIAS
18 Former birds only found on Mauritius : DODOS
19 Fluid obstacles : MOATS
20 In this way : THUS
22 French military cap : KEPI
23 Projection, e.g.: Abbr. : EST
24 Fancy, in slang : PRIMO
25 One-named fashion icon : IMAN
26 Lunar dark spot : MARE
28 1930s J.B. Rhine coinage, briefly : ESP
30 Uncanny : ODD
31 Branch-dwelling rainforest reptile : TREE BOA
34 Eleventh-hour : DO-OR-DIE
36 Hardly reputable : SEAMY
37 Defiant admission : SUE ME!
38 Proves : ATTESTS
41 Kept on riding : HASSLED
43 Lab sound : ARF!
44 Quote qualifier : [SIC]
45 2021 Pac-12 champs : UTES
46 Muck : GOOP
48 Word before hack or jack : PHONE …
50 “Never to suffer would never to have been blessed” writer : POE
53 French for “unbleached” : ECRU
54 Spill the beans : SING
55 Herringbone, e.g. : TWILL
57 Paris possessive : NOTRE
59 Required network announcement : STATION ID
61 Dwarf, with “over” : TOWER …
62 Presidential carrier that flew with an all-women crew for the first time in 2009 : MARINE ONE
63 Gin berries : SLOES
64 Intelligence boss : SPYMASTER

Down

1 Very short putt, in golf lingo : GIMME
2 Snack brand with a 2012 100th-anniversary “Daily Twist” campaign : OREOS
3 Wordlessly greet : NOD AT
4 Class division : UNIT
5 Cartoonist Addams : CHAS
6 Throw to a tot : LOB
7 Horn of Africa country : ERITREA
8 Tokyo brewer : ASAHI
9 Picked up : RESUMED
10 Raise a paddle, perhaps : BID
11 Ramen morsel : ENOKI
12 Uncovered subject : NUDE MODEL
13 Rat (on) : DROP A DIME
14 “You know it!” : YES, INDEED!
21 Passable : SO-SO
24 Country club employee : PRO
26 Social media spreader : MEME
27 Tartarus, in Greek myth : ABYSS
29 Group that follows a star? : POSSE
31 Users of travelers’ checks? : TSA AGENTS
32 Back in after going out : RETROCOOL
33 Dine expectantly? : EAT FOR TWO
35 Actor William of “Boy Meets World” : RUSS
39 Informed advice : TIPS
40 Great divides : SCHISMS
41 Liszt’s homeland : HUNGARY
42 Had a fast break? : ATE
47 Blender button : PUREE
49 Coming up soon : ON TAP
50 Cab alternative : PINOT
51 QB protectors, in football lingo : O-LINE
52 Senior : ELDER
55 Amy’s mid-2000s “Weekend Update” partner : TINA
56 Burdens : WOES
58 TV drama settings : ERS
60 South Carolina senator Scott : TIM

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 2 Apr 22, Saturday”

  1. LAT: Little less than an hour, no errors. Good puzzle, very clever clues. One nitpick: The answer “bendy” to “Malleable.” Don’t think I ever heard of that word.

  2. Tough one, but no errors. When I finally got “go nuclear” it all
    started to make sense…plus a couple of proper name lookups.

  3. Tough tough tough ride for me.
    Lots of odd cluing and answers.

    Went down one path and had to regroup at least three times. Just under an hour.

    Several words I didn’t know.

    I don’t remember the apollo transmission “Houston, we have reached the MARE of Tranquility”…. 😀

  4. I guess I had a different take on “group that follows a star”….when I
    saw that the answer could be “posse” I figured, sure, they’re following
    the sheriff’s star badge. Either way I had the right answer.

  5. There is so much distance between so many of the clues and their answers that solving the puzzle became a frustrating waste of time.

  6. BENDY? C’mon. As for timeliness, Google the answer to 35D and ask yourself if, just maybe, “ATL rapper” would’ve been a better clue (unless, of course, you feel that the 21st century is a little too recent when it comes to pop culture clues/answers).

  7. No look ups,no errors. Had trouble getting a
    foothold. I ended up working it bottom to
    top in fact. One fix on the fly, tweed/twill.
    I thought Bendy was a “stretch”and one too
    many French clues but all in all a very good
    challenge!

  8. This was one of those puzzles that made me not work crosswords for many years – a lot of difficult clues to decipher, unknown references.

    49:05 with lookups for Tartarus, French cap (I’ve seen KEPI before, but have trouble retaining it), and IRONHORSE (I knew what event was in the clue, but that term eluded me).

    Revisions made: TAPIN>GIMME, SOMALIA>ERITREA, YESANDYES>YESINDEED, SLOP>GOOP. NOTRE, ECRU, ENOKI were slow to come to me. Did not know ASAHI, CHAS.

    My recollection is that golf commentators, and so probably the golfers, say “tap-in” and not “gimme.”

  9. 17:20 2 lookups, one to change TAPIN to GIMME, and one to convince myself that yes it’s OREOS again.

    There were a bunch where the first, and often the second word to come to mind didn’t match what the constructor had in mind.

  10. Too tough for me today; finished in 48:54 with a bunch of “check-grids” which I started to partake of after filling about 50% of the puzzle. Had two wrong words on the first “check-grid” but surprisingly had most all things right in subsequent “check-grids.”

    Still, never felt comfortable with this one, even if I did have good parts of the NW and NE and SW…not so much the SE.

  11. The clue for TSA Agents is incorrect in multiple ways.
    1. They aren’t “Users of travelers’ checks”, they perform traveler checks. The travelers might be said to be “using the checks” but even that is a stretch.
    2. The use of the possessive with travelers is wrong. The checks don’t belong to the travelers, they are the ones being checked.
    3. The checks involving TSA Agents are traveler checks, not travelers checks.

    Adding an question mark at the end of an incorrect clue does not make it correct. The question mark indicates a twist, it doesn’t mean that the clue doesn’t fit the answer.

    This is a classic example of a puzzlemaker who is almost pathologically driven to be excessively clever. The puzzle is already chock full of twists and turns and clever clues. It wouldn’t have hurt a thing to come up with an accurate clue for this answer but apparently the puzzlemaker couldn’t bring himself to do it. Kind of sad, actually.

    Probably also worth pointing out that “having a fast break” is not a clue for ‘ate’. A fast break need not have anything to do with eating or drinking, nor does eating imply anything about a break being fast. Again, the puzzlemaker seems to be driven by some kind of compulsion here that is so powerful that he can’t manage to make the clue accurate in the face of the apparently very strong need for every single clue to have some kind of twist. It just got out of control.

    Not going to do an exhaustive list–I think anyone who did the puzzle understands whether they can bring themselves to admit it or not.

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