LA Times Crossword 14 May 22, Saturday

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Constructed by: Beth Rubin
Edited by: Patti Varol

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

16 Alcopop kin : WINE COOLER

Alcopops are flavored alcoholic drinks, with the term being a portmanteau of “alcohol” and “pop”. Examples are Smirnoff Ice, Bacardi Breezer, and Jack Daniel’s Hard Cola.

19 Giant : TITAN

The Titans were a group of twelve older deities in Greek mythology, the twelve children of the primordial Gaia and Uranus, Mother Earth and Father Sky. In the celebrated Battle of the Titans, they were overthrown by the Olympians, who were twelve younger gods. We use the term “titan” figuratively to describe a powerful person, someone with great influence.

22 Nucleotide triplet : CODON

Proteins are synthesized in the body from amino acids, which are linked together in specific sequences that are determined by the genetic code. The language of the code is a sequence of nucleotides. The nucleotides are arranged in groups of three called “codons”, with each codon determining a specific amino acid.

23 Test for some srs. : GRE

Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

24 Cena of “Peacemaker” : JOHN

John Cena is a professional wrestler turned rapper and actor. Although wrestling, rapping and “Cena-style” movies wouldn’t be my cup of tea, I have to admire Cena’s philanthropic record. He holds the title for the most wishes granted by a single individual for the Make-A-Wish Foundation that benefits children with life-threatening medical conditions.

“Peacemaker” is a TV show based on the DC Comics superhero Peacemaker. It is a spinoff from the 2021 movie “The Suicide Squad”. John Cena plays the title character, both in the series and in the film.

25 Mariah Carey holiday hit : OH SANTA!

“Oh Santa!” is a Christmas song released by Mariah Carey in 2010. Carey re-recorded “Oh Santa!” for the 2020 Christmas season, with the new version also featuring vocals by Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson.

27 Resort town named for a native tree : ASPEN

Aspen, Colorado used to be known as Ute City, with the name change taking place in 1880. Like many communities in the area, Aspen was a mining town, and in 1891 and 1892 it was at the center of the highest production of silver in the US. Nowadays, it’s all about skiing and movie stars.

33 “The Rotters’ Club” novelist Jonathan : COE

“The Rotters’ Club” is a 2001 novel by English author Johnathan Coe. One feature of the book is a sentence with 13,955 words, making it perhaps the longest sentence in English literature. Until Coe published “The Rotters’ Club”, the record for the longest sentence belonged to James Joyce, who wrote a sentence in “Ulysses” that comprises 4,391 words.

39 Milne hopper : ROO

Like most of the characters in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh”, the kangaroo named “Roo” was inspired by a stuffed toy belonging to Milne’s son Christopher Robin.

44 Étouffée option : PRAWN

The terms “prawn” and “shrimp” are often used interchangeably on menus. Over in the UK, the term “prawn” is most common, while “shrimp” is seen more often here in North America. Sometimes there is a differentiation from a food standpoint, with “prawn” being used for larger species and “shrimp” for smaller species. As a result, “jumbo prawns” seems to be an acceptable descriptor for a dish, whereas “jumbo shrimp” seems to be an oxymoron.

Étouffée is a Cajun and Creole dish made with shellfish, the most famous version being Crawfish Étouffée. Étouffée is like a thick shellfish stew served over rice. The dish uses the cooking technique known as “smothering” in which the shellfish is cooked in a covered pan over a low heat with a small amount of liquid. “Étouffée” is the French word “stifled, smothered”.

47 Arctic wear : ANORAKS

Anoraks really aren’t very popular over here in America. Everyone has one in Ireland! An anorak is a heavy jacket with a hood, often lined with fur (or fake fur), and is an invention of the Inuit people.

48 1856 Stowe novel : DRED

“Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp” is an 1856 novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe. The story centers on a southern plantation heiress Nina Gordon. The title character is an escaped slave living in the Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia and North Carolina.

50 Umbrella spoke : RIB

Our term “umbrella” ultimately derives from the Latin “umbra” meaning “shade, shadow”.

52 Word in British placenames : SHIRE

The word “shire” comes from the Old English “scir” meaning “administrative district”. The term was replaced with “county” as far back as the 14th century, but the usage persists to this day. That is largely because some counties retain the use of “-shire” as a suffix (Yorkshire, Lancashire, etc.).

53 Natural satellite : MOON

The Earth’s moon is the largest satellite in the Solar System, relative to the size of the planet it orbits. The Moon is believed to have formed after a huge collision between Gaia (the early Earth) and a planet-size object referred to as Theia.

55 Dong-hyuk who created “Squid Game” : HWANG

“Squid Game” is a brutal survival drama TV series made in South Korea for Netflix. The title refers to a Korean children’s game, and the show itself features a series of children’s games. The players are adults, all of whom are in debt. They play a deadly series of games in the hope of surviving, and winning a multimillion-dollar prize. As I said, brutal …

59 Wheelie bike feature : BANANA SEAT

A banana seat is a long saddle on a bicycle, often seen on what are called wheelie bikes.

To pop a wheelie is to lift the front wheels of a vehicle off the ground by accelerating rapidly with the rear wheels.

60 Mascot whose weight is listed as “Top Heavy” : MR MET

Mr. Met is the mascot of the New York Mets. He is a guy with a large baseball as a head. There’s also a Mrs. Met, a mascot who was previously known as Lady Met.

Down

1 Chased a pitch : SWUNG

That might be baseball …

2 Kwanzaa candelabra : KINARA

Kwanzaa is a celebration of African heritage that lasts from December 26 to January 1 annually. The holiday was introduced in 1966 as an alternative to the existing holidays at the end of the year. The name comes from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza”, meaning “first fruits of the harvest”. Part of the tradition is to light candles in a candelabra known as a kinara.

3 West __ : INDIES

The region of the Caribbean known as the West Indies was given the name after the first expedition taken by Christopher Columbus to the Americas. Really a misnomer, the “West Indies” were the territories claimed by Columbus for Spain in the Americas, with the name distinguishing the region from the “Indies” (today’s South Asia and Southeast Asia). When other nations started to claim territories in the area, the name proliferated, as in the British West Indies, the Danish West Indies and the Netherlands Antilles (Dutch West Indies).

7 Laurel and Hardy producer : ROACH

Hal Roach was a film and television producer who is best remembered for producing the “Laurel Hardy” films, and the “Our Gang” and “ The Little Rascals” series of movies.

Stan Laurel was an English comic actor (born Arthur Stanley Jefferson), who made a great career for himself in Hollywood. Laurel ended up at the Hal Roach studio directing films, intent on pursuing a career in writing and directing. However, he was a sometime actor and was asked to step in when another comic actor, Oliver Hardy, was injured and couldn’t perform. Laurel and Hardy started to share a stage together during that time and when it was clear they worked so well together, their partnership was born. Oh, and the oft-quoted story that Clint Eastwood is the son of Stan Laurel … that’s just an urban myth.

Oliver Hardy was born Norvell Hardy in 1892 in Harlem, Georgia. Hardy used the stage name “Oliver” as a tribute to his father Oliver Hardy. His early performances were credited as “Oliver Norvell Hardy”, and off camera his nickname was “Babe Hardy”. Hardy appeared in several films that also featured the young British actor Stan Laurel, but it wasn’t until 1927 that they teamed up to make perhaps the most famous double act in the history of movies. The Laurel and Hardy act came to an end in 1955. That year, Laurel suffered a stroke, and then later the same year Hardy had a heart attack and stroke from which he never really recovered.

8 First British martyr : ALBAN

Saint Alban is honored as the first Christian martyr in Britain, having been beheaded in the 3rd or 4th century, when a large part of Great Britain was under Roman rule. Alban was sentenced to death for sheltering a priest.

9 Scapula neighbor, for short : DELT

The deltoid “muscle” is actually a group of muscles, the ones that cover the shoulder and create the roundness under the skin. The deltoids (delts) are triangular in shape resembling the Greek letter delta, hence the name.

The scapula is the shoulder blade. It is thought that the term “scapula” comes from the Greek “skaptein” meaning “to dig”. The assumption is that the shoulder blade resembles a trowel or a small shovel, hence the name.

12 Brand whose website has a “3 Stripe Life” section : ADIDAS

The Adidas brand dates back to when Adolf “Adi” Dassler started making his own sports shoes in his mother’s laundry room in Bavaria after returning from WWI. With his brother, Adi founded Dassler shoes. The company’s big break came in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics, when Adi persuaded American sprinter Jesse Owens to use his shoes, and with the success of Jesse Owens came success for the fledgling shoe company. After WWII the brothers split, acrimoniously. Adi’s brother, Ru-dolf Da-ssler, formed “Ruda” shoes (later to become Puma), and Adi Das-sler formed “Adidas”.

13 Table : PUT ON ICE

These “tabling” and “shelving” idioms drive me crazy, because they are often misused. If a topic is shelved, it is set aside. If a topic is tabled, it is brought “off the shelf” and put “on the table” for discussion. I know that language evolves, but I think that it should at least make sense …

22 Queen’s gambit, for one : CHESS OPENING

A gambit is a chess opening that intrinsically involves the sacrifice of a piece (usually a pawn) with the intent of gaining an advantage. The term “gambit” was first used by the Spanish priest Ruy Lopez de Segura who took it from the Italian expression “dare il gambetto” meaning “to put a leg forward to trip someone”. Said priest gave his name to the common Ruy Lopez opening, which paradoxically is not a gambit in that there is no sacrifice. The chess term dates back to the mid-1600s. We’ve been using “gambit” more generally for any opening move designed to gain advantage since the mid-1800s.

24 Raspberry : JEER

Not so much here in America, but over in Britain and Ireland “blowing a raspberry” is a way of insulting someone (I think that it’s usually called “a Bronx cheer” in the US). The verb “to razz” comes from a shortened form of “raspberry”.

25 Elizabeth who plays Scarlet Witch in the MCU : OLSEN

The Scarlet Witch is a superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). On the big screen, she is played by Elizabeth Olsen.

29 Eliot title hero : BEDE

“Adam Bede” was the first novel written by the English writer George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans). It was published in 1859 and has been in print since then, for over 150 years.

32 Tax : LEVY

A levy is a tax. The term “levy” comes from Old French in which “levée” means “raising”. So a levy is a tax that has been “raised” (in the sense of “collected”, not “increased”).

34 Bear up? : URSA

The constellation Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called “the Big Dipper” because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, “the Plough”.

36 2014 memoir subtitled “Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery” : DO NO HARM

“Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery” is a 2014 memoir by neurosurgeon Henry Marsh. It was very well received, and perhaps that’s why Marsh followed up with a further memoir in 2017 titled “Admissions: A life in brain surgery”.

37 Western Asia native : KURD

Most of the Kurdish people live in a region known as Kurdistan, which stretches into parts of Iran, Syria, Turkey as well as northern Iraq.

38 Govt. cybersecurity monitor : NSA

National Security Agency (NSA)

43 Retailer with a RedCard credit card : TARGET

Target Corporation was founded by George Draper Dayton in 1902 in Minneapolis, Minnesota as Dayton Dry Goods Company. Dayton developed into a department store, and the company opened up a discount store chain in 1962, calling it Target. Today, Target is the second-largest discount retailer in the country, after Walmart.

45 Bell hooks, for one : WRITER

Gloria Jean Watkins was an author and activist who is better known by “bell hooks”. Watkins borrowed that moniker from her maternal grandmother Bell Blair Hooks.

48 Part of DKNY : DONNA

Donna Karan is an American fashion designer, creator of the Donna Karan New York (DKNY) clothing label. Karan was very much raised in the fashion industry, as her mother was a model and her stepfather a tailor.

49 “Succession” sibling : ROMAN

“Succession” is a very popular dark comedy-drama series that premiered in 2018. It’s about a family-owned, global media company. The “succession” in question is who will get to run the empire after the passing of the ailing family patriarch. The marvelous Scottish actor Brian Cox plays the head of the company Logan Roy.

53 Happy __ : MEAL

The McDonald’s Happy Meal was introduced in 1977. It was inspired by a selection of food in a Guatemalan McDonald’s designed to suit children that was called “Menu Ronald”. The toys in Happy Meals often tie-in with some movie, and so are part of an advertising campaign.

56 “Full Frontal” network : TBS

Samantha Bee is a comedian from Toronto who found fame as a correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” starting way back in 2003. Bee left “The Daily Show” in 2015 to host her own late-night talk show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” on TBS.

57 D.C. player : NAT

The Washington Nationals (“Nats”) started out life as the Montreal Expos in 1969, and were the first Major League Baseball team in Canada. The Expos moved to Washington in 2005 becoming the Nats.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Improve one’s class? : SKIP A GRADE
11 Quick : RAPID
16 Alcopop kin : WINE COOLER
17 Bring out : EDUCE
18 Single, but way too flawed : UNDATEABLE
19 Giant : TITAN
20 Polish site : NAIL
21 “Git!” : SCAT!
22 Nucleotide triplet : CODON
23 Test for some srs. : GRE
24 Cena of “Peacemaker” : JOHN
25 Mariah Carey holiday hit : OH SANTA!
27 Resort town named for a native tree : ASPEN
29 Mixed __ : BLESSING
30 Full of nervous energy : RESTLESS
33 “The Rotters’ Club” novelist Jonathan : COE
34 Current events TikTok segment that V Spehar broadcasts from their office floor : UNDER THE DESK NEWS
39 Milne hopper : ROO
40 Famished : RAVENOUS
41 Holiness : SANCTITY
44 Étouffée option : PRAWN
47 Arctic wear : ANORAKS
48 1856 Stowe novel : DRED
50 Umbrella spoke : RIB
52 Word in British placenames : SHIRE
53 Natural satellite : MOON
54 “Have it your way” : FINE
55 Dong-hyuk who created “Squid Game” : HWANG
56 “Can I have a bit more time?” : TEN MINUTES?
58 Make one : MERGE
59 Wheelie bike feature : BANANA SEAT
60 Mascot whose weight is listed as “Top Heavy” : MR MET
61 Challenges for a translator, perhaps : SLANG TERMS

Down

1 Chased a pitch : SWUNG
2 Kwanzaa candelabra : KINARA
3 West __ : INDIES
4 Toll : PEAL
5 Do one’s part? : ACT
6 Walks out, say : GOES ON STRIKE
7 Laurel and Hardy producer : ROACH
8 First British martyr : ALBAN
9 Scapula neighbor, for short : DELT
10 Long start, once : ERE …
11 Throw again : RETOSS
12 Brand whose website has a “3 Stripe Life” section : ADIDAS
13 Table : PUT ON ICE
14 “Maybe later” : I CAN’T NOW
15 Cozy spot : DEN
22 Queen’s gambit, for one : CHESS OPENING
24 Raspberry : JEER
25 Elizabeth who plays Scarlet Witch in the MCU : OLSEN
26 Improves, maybe : AGES
28 Tense beginning? : PRE-
29 Eliot title hero : BEDE
31 “__ how I roll” : THAT’S
32 Tax : LEVY
34 Bear up? : URSA
35 “It went straight to voice mail” : NO ANSWER
36 2014 memoir subtitled “Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery” : DO NO HARM
37 Western Asia native : KURD
38 Govt. cybersecurity monitor : NSA
42 [I’m so uncomfortable right now] : [CRINGE]
43 Retailer with a RedCard credit card : TARGET
45 Bell hooks, for one : WRITER
46 Time slot with talk shows : NINE AM
48 Part of DKNY : DONNA
49 “Succession” sibling : ROMAN
51 Tops : BESTS
53 Happy __ : MEAL
54 Make one : FUSE
55 “Let me think … ” : HMM …
56 “Full Frontal” network : TBS
57 D.C. player : NAT

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 14 May 22, Saturday”

  1. 14:59, no errors. Seems one deficiency of Norris that Varol doubled down on is the copious use of proper nouns. This one definitely showcases it. You either know them or you don’t. I never do and always have to guess.

  2. LAT: About an hour with one incorrect letter (an m instead of an h in HWANG). As with Glenn, I had to make several guesses to the proper noun clues. I thought Friday’s puzzle was a wee bit harder.

  3. Ditto on Glens comment.
    Took me about an hour. That SE section was a mental block.

    I knew DRED but it didn’t click right away. Don’t watch or even heard of SUCCESSION.

    A whole row dedicated to a Tik Tok reference was making me bleed. Right in the middle of the grid. Never heard of it so had to let it fall together.

    I’ve heard of Bell Hooks but I don’t remember it being lower case. So I wasn’t sure if it was a reference to a verb or noun. I know now!

  4. By my count, this is the 27th LAT crossword edited by Patti Varol. So far, I have made three one-square errors on her puzzles, all of which I could have corrected if I had been paying proper attention to crossing entries. One of the great things about crosswords is that, if you are willing to put in the time, you can often guess the correct answers to things you’ve never heard of and, in the process, learn something new (often, something of use in a future puzzle … 😜). The best editors seem to have a knack for providing just enough leverage for me to progress from thinking I have no chance of finishing a puzzle … to getting a foot in the door … to having an aha moment or two … to being certain of most of my answers … to filling in reasonable guesses for the remaining squares.

    And, yes, I do realize that this isn’t what a lot of solvers are looking for in their puzzles … 😳.

    1. 26:50, somehow managing without lookup.s

      “One of the great things about crosswords is that, if you are willing to put in the time, you can often guess the correct answers to things you’ve never heard of and, in the process, learn something new (often, something of use in a future puzzle.”

      Absolutely! If I’m not learning something new, it’s not worth doing. This one is especially rich in names I didn’t know, but eventually got from the crosses. UNDERTHEDESKNEWS sounds like it’s worth looking into.

  5. 21 minutes 18 seconds, needed Check Help on 8 fills.

    Tough, and full of clues that just don’t mean much until you see them solved by crosses.

  6. A good, challenging Saturday puzzle. I also had to guess on the long TikTok answer, but the solid clue helped me make educated guesses word by word.

    On the whole I’m a fan of the new editor. I feel like she’s trying to shift the cultural references more into this century, which I’m happy to see. Maybe now I’m guessing my way through a TikTok answer, but that’s more fun than guessing baseball and silver screen references from well before I was born.

  7. A bit too tough for me today; took 48:18 with about 8 “check-grids” to get me to the finish. I was going to give up earlier, but things slowly started to make a little sense, after I’d made some good guesses. Had almost all of the NE and SW, along with about 80% of the SE and 10% of the NW.

  8. 33:36 – one lookup for DRED.

    Like others, lots of educated guesses due to clue references that I had no experience with or reference point.

    Revisions: SAT>GRE, TURK>KURD, ANARAKS>ANORAKS, HUANG>HWANG, SLANGWORDS>SLANGTERMS.

    I had very much the progression to solving it that @A Nonny Muss described.

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