LA Times Crossword 12 Aug 22, Friday

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Constructed by: Roger & Kathy Wienberg
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Sidecar

Themed answers are all in the down-direction, and each includes the letter string “CAR”. But, that “CAR” has been moved one column to the side in the grid:

  • 62A Brandy-based cocktail, and a hint to locating the second part of four three-part puzzle answers : SIDECAR
  • 8D Like five bones in the hand : METACARPAL
  • 9D Nocturnal piglike mammal : PECCARY
  • 32D – : PAL
  • 14D Stick on a crudités platter : RAW CARROT
  • 4D Org. with a long track record? : NASCAR
  • 29D – : ROT
  • 39D Italian cream cheese : MASCARPONE
  • 42D Miss in the game of Clue : SCARLET
  • 53D – : PONE
  • 40D Where stars may align : RED CARPET
  • 46D Brief exercise? : CARDIO
  • 56D – : PET

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

Bill’s time: 10m 02s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • WES (Ges!!!!)
  • SPORTSWEAR (sports gear)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “__ your age!” : ACT

I am. That’s why I’m sitting here doing a crossword …

13 Bach work : CHORALE

A chorale is a musical piece with a hymn-like setting.

Johann Sebastian Bach died when he was 65-years-old, in 1750. He was buried in Old St. John’s Cemetery in Leipzig, and his grave went unmarked until 1894. At that time his coffin was located, removed and buried in a vault within the church. The church was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid during WWII, and so after the war the remains had to be recovered and taken to the Church of St. Thomas in Leipzig.

15 “Fore!” site : TEE

No one seems to know for sure where the golfing term “fore!” comes from. It has been used at least as far back as 1881, and since then has been called out to warn other golfers that a wayward ball might be heading their way. My favorite possibility for its origin is that it is a contraction of the Gaelic warning cry “Faugh a Ballagh!” (clear the way!) which is still called out in the sport of road bowling. Road bowling is an Irish game where players bowl balls along roads between villages, trying to reach the end of the course in as few bowls as possible, just like in golf!

16 __-K : PRE

Pre-kindergarten (pre-K)

19 Extra NBA periods : OTS

Overtime (OT)

20 Simple style : CREW CUT

The term “crew cut” probably originated in Yale in the 1890s. The Yale football players were noted for wearing their hair relatively long, as it helped protect their heads inside the flimsy leather football helmets of the day. In contrast, the rowing team wore their hair relatively short, in a style that came to be known as the “crew cut”.

21 Meringue-based confection : MACARON

A macaron is a meringue-based cookie associated with French cuisine, although the original confection hailed from Italy. Macarons are often confused with macaroons, small cookies made from ground almonds, and often coconut.

26 MVP of the first Super Bowl : STARR

Bart Starr was a football player and coach who spent his whole career with the Green Bay Packers, playing quarterback for the Packers from 1956 to 1971. Starr was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the first two Super Bowls.

Super Bowl I was played in January 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers emerged victorious in a game with a score of 35-10. That game was officially known as the AFL-NFL Championship Game, as the name “Super Bowl” wasn’t applied until two seasons later. That “first” Super Bowl is now known as Super Bowl III and was played between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Colts. The Jets came out on top.

35 Bentley of “Yellowstone” : WES

Wes Bentley is an actor who is perhaps best known for playing Ricky Fitts, the voyeuristic son of the homophobic Colonel Frank Fitts in the 1999 blockbuster film “American Beauty”. A 2009 documentary called “My Big Break” tells of Bentley’s career taking off after “American Beauty” was released, and his subsequent struggles with addiction to drugs and alcohol that led to financial ruin. Bentley is well on the road to recovery, and has been appearing regularly on the small and large screens since 2010.

“Yellowstone” is a pretty successful drama series starring Kevin Costner that premiered in 2018. Costner plays a rich and powerful rancher in Montana. Such is the success of the show that three spin-offs are planned:

  1. “1883” (starring Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill)
  2. “1923” (starring Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford)
  3. “6666”

38 Inventor who coined the term “horsepower” : WATT

James Watt was a Scottish inventor. He figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, and was named in his honor.

The unit of horsepower was introduced along with the steam engine, where the output of the engine was compared with the power of draft horses. Largely, this comparison with the horse was a marketing ploy, as the intent was to demonstrate that one steam engine could negate the need for a number of draft horses used for work.

39 Exxon merger partner : MOBIL

The Exxon Corporation was a descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. Exxon merged with Mobil (yet another descendant of Standard Oil) in 1999 to form ExxonMobil.

41 Nordic runner : SKI

Nordic skiing differs from Alpine skiing in the type of equipment used. Nordic ski boots are fixed to the binding so that the heel can lift off the ski, whereas Alpine ski boots are fixed to the binding along the whole sole. Alpine skiing is also known as downhill skiing, and Nordic skiing disciplines include cross-country skiing and Telemark skiing.

44 Bo’s’n’s quarters : FO’C’SLE

The forecastle (usually abbreviated to “fo’c’sle”) is the forward part of a ship where the sailors’ sleeping quarters are located. The term is also used to describe the upper deck, forward of the foremost mast. The related phrase “before the mast” is used to describe anything related to a ship’s enlisted men, those sailors who are not officers.

A boatswain works on the deck of a boat. He or she is unlicensed, and so is not involved in the navigation or handling of the vessel, and instead is in charge of the other unlicensed workers on the deck. “Boatswain” is pronounced “bosun” and this phonetic spelling is often used interchangeably with “boatswain”. The contraction “bo’s’n” is also very popular.

46 Storage place : CD-ROM

“CD-ROM” stands for “compact disc read only memory”. The name indicates that you can read information from the disc (like a standard music CD for example), but you cannot write to it. You can also buy a CD-RW, which stands for “compact disc – rewritable”, with which you can read data and also write over it multiple times using a suitable CD drive.

47 With 60-Across, undefeated boxer who wrote the cookbook “Food for Life” : LAILA …
60 See 47-Across : … ALI

Laila Ali is the daughter of the great Muhammad Ali and is a very capable boxer in her own right. Laila’s professional record is an impressive 24 wins, including 21 knockouts. Now retired, she never lost a fight, and nor did she ever draw. One of those victories was against Jackie Frazier-Lyde, daughter of her father’s nemesis Joe Frazier. Laila is not a bad dancer either, coming in third place in the fourth season of “Dancing with the Stars”.

61 Mauna __ : LOA

Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii is the largest volcano on the planet (in terms of volume). The name “Mauna Loa” is Hawaiian for “Long Mountain”.

62 Brandy-based cocktail, and a hint to locating the second part of four three-part puzzle answers : SIDECAR

The sidecar is one of my very favorite cocktails. It was invented around the end of WWI, possibly in the Ritz Hotel in Paris. It’s a simple drink to make, and contains brandy, cointreau or triple sec, and lemon or lime juice. It’s really the brandy version of a margarita (or vice versa).

63 Mauna __ : KEA

Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, the peak of which is the highest point in the whole state. Mauna Kea is in effect the tip of a gigantic volcano rising up from the seabed.

65 Snob : ELITIST

Back in the 1780s, a snob was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word “snob” was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

66 Couture monogram : YSL

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) was an Algerian-born French fashion designer. Saint Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from hospital, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …

“Haute couture”, literally “high dressmaking” in French, is a name given to the creation of exclusive fashions. A couturier is someone who creates or sells such fashions.

68 “The Matrix” hero : NEO

Neo is the character played by Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix” series of films.

The 1999 movie sensation “The Matrix” was meant to be set in a nondescript urban environment. It was actually shot in Australia, as one of the co-producers of the film was the Australian company, Village Roadshow Pictures. You can pick up all sorts of clues about the location when watching the film, including a view of Sydney Harbour Bridge in a background shot. Also, traffic drives along on the left and there are signs for the “lift” instead of an “elevator”.

69 Justice Dept. arm : DEA

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Down

1 “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” band : AC/DC

The AC/DC hit “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was released in 1976. It was written by three members of the band: Angus and Malcom Young, and Bon Scott. The “dirty deeds” referred to in the title are services offered by hitmen, including “concrete shoes” and “neckties”. Angus Young came up with the title from the cartoon “Beany and Cecil” that he used to watch as a child. The cartoon character Dishonest John had a calling card that read, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Holidays, Sundays, and Special Rates.”

4 Org. with a long track record? : NASCAR

The acronym “NASCAR” stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. The association is actually a privately held company that was founded in 1948 and is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida. NASCAR is very, very popular and commands the second-largest television audience of any professional sport in America, second only to football.

5 Language spoken along the Bering Sea : ALEUT

The Aleuts live on the Aleutian Islands of the North Pacific, and on the Commander Islands at the western end of the same island chain. The Aleutian Islands are part of the United States, and the Commander Islands are in Russia.

The Bering Sea, in the very north of the Pacific Ocean, is named for the Danish navigator Vitus Bering, who was the first European to systematically explore the area in 1728. Many believe that the first humans arrived in the Americas from Asia when the waters of the Bering Sea were lower during the last ice age, over what is known as the Bering land bridge.

7 Agenda listing : ITEM

“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.

8 Like five bones in the hand : METACARPAL

There are five metacarpal bones in each hand. They make up the framework of the palm and the back of the hand. Each metacarpal is connected to a finger and the wrist. The equivalent bones in the foot are called the metatarsals.

9 Nocturnal piglike mammal : PECCARY

A peccary is a hoofed animal that resembles a small pig. They are mostly found in the wild in South and Central America. In some countries, peccaries are kept as pets.

11 “Star Wars” droid nickname : ARTOO

Artoo’s proper name is R2-D2 (also “Artoo-Detoo”). R2-D2 is the smaller of the two famous droids from the “Star Wars” movies. British actor Kenny Baker, who stood just 3 feet 8 inches tall, was the man inside the R2-D2 droid for the first six of the “Star Wars” movies.

“Droid” is short for “android” and is used to describe a robot that resembles a human. The Latin word “androides” was used in English in the 18th century to mean “like a man”. Science fiction writers introduced us to “android” in the early 1950s.

14 Stick on a crudités platter : RAW CARROT

Crudités are a French appetizer made up of sliced and whole raw vegetables that are dipped into a sauce. The French word “crudité” simply means “raw vegetable”, and derives from the Latin word “crudus” meaning “raw”.

22 Latin 101 word : AMO

“Amo, amas, amat” translates from Latin as “I love, you love, he/she/it loves”.

26 Proverbs : SAWS

A saw is an old saying, one that is often repeated and is very familiar. The term “old saw” is actually a tautology, as by definition a “saw” is “old”.

27 Tropical hardwood : TEAK

Teak is a hardwood tree in the mint family that is commonly found in monsoon forests of Asia. Teak’s tight grain and high oil content make it very suitable for constructing outdoor furniture, where weather resistance is valued. For the same reason, teak is the wood of choice for wooden decks on boats.

31 Dwarf planet once known as Xena : ERIS

Eris is the largest known dwarf planet in our solar system. It is also the ninth largest body orbiting the sun, a fact that helped relegate Pluto (the tenth largest body) from its status of planet in 2006. Eris was discovered in 2005, and named for the goddess of discord.

34 Tin __ : FOIL

Before thin sheets of aluminum metal were available as aluminum foil, thin sheets of tin were used in various applications. Tin foil isn’t a great choice for wrapping food though, as it imparts a tinny taste. On the other side of the pond, aluminum foil has a different name. No, it’s not just the different spelling of aluminum (“aluminium”). We still call it “tin foil”. You see, we live in the past …

36 Canadian gas brand : ESSO

The Esso brand has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

37 Dandelion part : STEM

The name “dandelion” comes from the French “dent de lion” meaning “lion’s tooth”. The name is a reference to the coarse, tooth-like edges of dandelion leaves.

39 Italian cream cheese : MASCARPONE

Mascarpone is a very, very creamy Italian cheese. It is the main ingredient in the dessert tiramisu.

42 Miss in the game of Clue : SCARLET

Clue is a board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …

45 Flamenco cheer : OLE!

Flamenco is a style of Spanish music and dance. The origin of the word “flamenco” isn’t clearly understood, but the explanation that seems most credible to me is that it comes from Flanders in Northern Europe. Given that “flamenco” is the Spanish word for “Flemish” and Flanders is home to the Flemish people it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

46 Brief exercise? : CARDIO

Aerobic exercise is moderate activity designed to be at a low enough intensity that very little anaerobic activity takes place. In other words, the exercise is at a level where oxygen is taken in to burn fat and carbohydrate and to create energy. Anaerobic exercise is more intense and uses carbohydrate (glycogen) in the muscle to provide energy, without the need for oxygen. Aerobics are also called “cardio” as the exercises strengthen the cardiovascular system.

48 Turnpike toll factor : AXLES

Back in the 15th century, a turnpike (tpk., trke.) was a defensive barrier across a road. By the 17th century the term was used for a barrier that stopped travelers until a toll was paid. By the 18th century a turnpike was the name given to a road with a toll.

50 German industrial city : ESSEN

Essen is a large industrial city located on the River Ruhr in western Germany. The city experienced major population growth in the mid-1800s that was driven by the iron works established by the Krupp family.

57 Low-pH substance : ACID

As we all recall from chemistry class, a pH of 7 is considered neutral. Anything less than 7 is an acid, and anything above 7 is a base.

58 RSVP convenience : SASE

An SAE is a “stamped, addressed envelope”. An SASE is a “self-addressed, stamped envelope”.

“RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

59 Mex. miss : SRTA

“Señorita” (Srta.) is Spanish, and “Mademoiselle” (Mlle.) is French, for “Miss”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “__ your age!” : ACT
4 Hound : NAG
7 Mischievous sprite : IMP
10 For instance : SAY
13 Bach work : CHORALE
15 “Fore!” site : TEE
16 __-K : PRE
17 Record collection? : DATA SET
18 “And there’s more” abbr. : ETC
19 Extra NBA periods : OTS
20 Simple style : CREW CUT
21 Meringue-based confection : MACARON
23 Perched on : ATOP
25 Defensive retort : AM TOO!
26 MVP of the first Super Bowl : STARR
30 Copies, for short : REPROS
33 Flying start? : AERO-
34 Sudden attack : FORAY
35 Bentley of “Yellowstone” : WES
38 Inventor who coined the term “horsepower” : WATT
39 Exxon merger partner : MOBIL
40 Musical symbol : REST
41 Nordic runner : SKI
42 Breezes (through) : SAILS
43 Let up : EASE
44 Bo’s’n’s quarters : FO’C’SLE
46 Storage place : CD-ROM
47 With 60-Across, undefeated boxer who wrote the cookbook “Food for Life” : LAILA …
49 Prefix between kilo- and giga- : MEGA-
52 Passage : EXCERPT
55 Do better than : SURPASS
60 See 47-Across : … ALI
61 Mauna __ : LOA
62 Brandy-based cocktail, and a hint to locating the second part of four three-part puzzle answers : SIDECAR
63 Mauna __ : KEA
64 Break off : END
65 Snob : ELITIST
66 Couture monogram : YSL
67 Leaves in hot water? : TEA
68 “The Matrix” hero : NEO
69 Justice Dept. arm : DEA

Down

1 “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” band : AC/DC
2 Really overcook : CHAR
3 Lug : TOTE
4 Org. with a long track record? : NASCAR
5 Language spoken along the Bering Sea : ALEUT
6 Eat at : GET TO
7 Agenda listing : ITEM
8 Like five bones in the hand : METACARPAL
9 Nocturnal piglike mammal : PECCARY
10 Athletic apparel : SPORTSWEAR
11 “Star Wars” droid nickname : ARTOO
12 Basic question type : YES/NO
14 Stick on a crudités platter : RAW CARROT
22 Latin 101 word : AMO
24 Snag : PROBLEM
26 Proverbs : SAWS
27 Tropical hardwood : TEAK
28 Synthetic : ARTIFICIAL
29 – : ROT
31 Dwarf planet once known as Xena : ERIS
32 – : PAL
34 Tin __ : FOIL
36 Canadian gas brand : ESSO
37 Dandelion part : STEM
39 Italian cream cheese : MASCARPONE
40 Where stars may align : RED CARPET
42 Miss in the game of Clue : SCARLET
45 Flamenco cheer : OLE!
46 Brief exercise? : CARDIO
47 Hardly seaworthy : LEAKY
48 Turnpike toll factor : AXLES
50 German industrial city : ESSEN
51 Trickery : GUILE
53 – : PONE
54 “All done!” : TA-DA!
56 – : PET
57 Low-pH substance : ACID
58 RSVP convenience : SASE
59 Mex. miss : SRTA

30 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Aug 22, Friday”

  1. 6:30, no errors.

    @yesterday
    I’ve dropped some hints on doing crosswords in here from time to time, but usually comments are so ephemeral that I’m not sure if they get read. It’s usually why I punt comments ahead like this. Anyway, hope some of this helps…

    Like for what I read yesterday, there’s often a lot more information in these crossword grids and clues than people might think about. For yesterday, there’s ways to make good guesses simply because words are a lot more systematically put together than most people might think about (i.e. you can know certain letters don’t go together, usually). There’s still an element of chance there, but you can often bring the odds down from 1 in 26 to 1 in 2 or 3. Sometimes, too, clues give a little bit more information than you might think.

    But personally, when I say I don’t *know* a lot of these crossword grids, it usually means I can’t take just the clue and make an answer a majority of the time. That doesn’t bother me, but when I have to guess at what the constructor means by a poorly written clue that makes no sense or get too many proper nouns crossing one another that starts getting annoying since there’s too many variables. While “Natick” seems to be a controversial term, I usually throw that out in talking about how I did on puzzles when I have to make an unsure guess that goes wrong.

    Anyhow, unknowns usually are very surmountable most of the time if there aren’t too many of them in one area to make guessing remotely possible.

    1. I agree with most of this except for the phrase “a poorly written clue that makes no sense”, for which I would substitute “a cleverly written clue that makes sense only if and when I’m able to see through the intentional obfuscation involved”. (Again, they’re called “clues”, not “definitions”. And the whole thing is called a “puzzle”.)

  2. 9:33, no errors. Managed to get enough of the theme to fill the “-” answers, though I didn’t notice the “CAR” still being in the grid. In retrospect that seems like it should’ve been obvious. Still, it took me embarrassingly long to get “MASCARPONE” and especially “RAW CARROT”.

  3. No errors
    @glen – thanks for the insight. I’ve listened to several of you folks that are more experienced over the years. Your recent advice rings true for me. I have found you can usually deduce. But some authors create grids that I just can’t get a foothold. I guess that’s the challenge. But I don’t enjoy staring at the grid either.

  4. Well, this one was sure different! I got the whole grid without any
    errors, but NEVER would have figured out the theme. Whatever.

  5. Clever theme today … 😜

    @Glenn (from yesterday) …

    Honestly, assymetry was never that much of an issue to me as a solver and usually outside of more “mainstream” sources any puzzle I see is almost always asymmetric.

    Where, specifically, are you seeing these puzzles? The vast majority of the puzzles I see are symmetric. They do sometimes have something other than the rotational symmetry that is “required” in NYT puzzles (left/right symmetry, for example). And, of course, there are notable examples of asymmetry in the service of a bit of grid art, like Elizabeth Gorski’s famous homage to the Guggenheim Museum that appeared in the NYT on (I think) 10/18/2009.

    I also am not particularly bothered by asymmetry, particularly if it allows the setter to avoid the kind of awkward fill that some here love to complain about. I think Erik Agard has perfectly defensible reasons for bending the rules and I applaud his doing so. (And, of course, I know that you are loath to give him credit for anything … 😜.)

    As for things USA Today, I’ll keep my (well known) opinions to myself.

    Thank you … 😜.

  6. Oops! I just posted a comment as “Anonymous”. I should know better than to post anything before having breakfast … 😜.

  7. So, for the reason of a “Señor Moment” (ha) I put in a double cc in what should have been “focsle” for 44 across giving me one wrong letter and two errors. I guess I focsled that one up!

  8. Finished with no errors or look-ups but had a really tough time with the theme. Stretching a little too much, aren’t we?
    D. Chatswood

  9. Even after Bill explained the theme I still thought it was a really really dumb puzzle sorry all you purists!!!

  10. Call me thick, but I fail to see the reason for the four ‘-‘ clues. I don’t much like such clues, since the answers cannot be derived, nor deduced, nor decrypted from them.

    Mike, I believe it was you who referred to Croce’s puzzles. I navigated over there and, with pencil in one hand, eraser in another, and Google in another I managed to FIR several of his offerings at the expenditure of inordinate amounts of time. His clues are by themselves very often abstruse and arcane, and usually make sense only once you have the solution sussed out by using some of Glenn’s tricks. Too much work for my nickel.

    1. FIR? (Not familiar with that … 🤨.)

      Tim Croce’s puzzles are my favorites, but I always approach them with a certain sense of dread. I almost always succeed in doing them with no lookups and no errors, but they require a lot of patience, so … speed solvers beware! (Today’s is a good example: 1:07:32, no errors, several entries in the “never heard of that” category.)

      “Finish In … Real time?”

  11. I don’t consider myself an expert, but nailed today’s puzzle without knowing the theme. If the day ever comes when I can use a pen, I’ll call myself an expert. For now, pencils required.

  12. 18:02 with revisions of: DOTOO>AMTOO , which slowed my recall of PECCARY.

    New items/names: ERIS, MACARON (apparently it’s slightly different from a macaroon).

    Started easily enough in the NW corner, then around the edges; but, it was sticky in the middle around FORAY, AMTOO, ERIS, PECCARY, which was the last section to fill in.

    I never thought that a FORAY had to be sudden, but apparently it usually is.

    Quite a theme-builder in this one. I put “CAR” beside each “-” answer, and got a reasonable word for 3 of them: CARROT, CARPAL, and CARPET; but CARPONE didn’t register anything. So, I didn’t quite “get it.” Had no inkling to look further up and make a 3-parter. Should have tried more to figure out where the 3 parts came from.

    @Glenn, your approach is what I have gradually built up the ability to do, and I have much more success in completing the grids without lookups. Early on, crosswords were difficult when clue words and meanings were obscure to me. Still, some like this one with only a “-” for the clue, can be difficult to figure out what the constructor is getting at. Didn’t stop me from solving it, though!

  13. If you didn’t understand the theme (like most of us) couldn’t 30A be retros?
    This is a crossword puzzle isn’t it? Where the answers fit the definition.

  14. 13 mins and 52 sec, and escaped error free, without any Check Grid help.

    That is significant, because this puzzle was saddled with an annoying gimmick theme and had a few really poor “fills”: such as CDROM, the clue for CREWCUT. This has to fall on our editor, who, to her credit, is usually avoiding a lot of this trickery and foolishness.

    I will tip my hat for shoehorning FO’C’SLE into a grid.

  15. These puzzles are NOT for the slightly above average solver. Whose decision was it to “upgrade” these Los Angeles Times puzzles? And where can I find puzzles more suited to my less than “expect” level?

    1. That’s one of the reasons I posted a comment about the “new” USA Today puzzles. I’m finding them to be more interesting than the “old” ones – quite easy, but with an occasional entry that I learn something from. One problem: They’re behind a paywall (a thing that is becoming more common, I think).

  16. 10:33

    Tricky theme, but it helped in a couple places.

    I’ve learned that those “.” clues mean the answer continues a previous answer. By the time I got the SIDECAR, I already had a couple of CARs jogged to the side. That got me a RAWCARROT and a METACARPAL. Still took me a while to get MASCARPONE. And I didn’t see the REDCARPET until after a big fight with the right side of grid.

    Also, I had to change my SPORTSBRA into SPORTWEAR.

    It all got me thinking about how it’s interesting to have this extra challenge while filling the grid. When did crosswords start having themes, anyway?

  17. @Anon Mike
    Getting the foothold is usually the problem, as probably 99% of the clues carry no weight in determining what the answers are on “harder” puzzles. Pure guesses, really.

    @Engineer
    This was a gimmick or trick puzzle. Really any of these kind of puzzles is a cheap shot at the solver, who only can solve it from seeing and remembering prior puzzles where they got “had” by the constructor/editor in that particular fashion. Expecting a fair challenge out of a puzzle in all facets isn’t a taboo thing, nor should be.

    As for Croce, his market is “abstruse and arcane” to be fair. But sometimes he’s ironically a lot more sensible than some of the bad efforts turned out by other outlets, as his last one was a lot less inane (and fun) than the Wed WSJ or Sat NYT.

    @Timothy Lane
    I’ve found erasers are always required when it comes to ESPing clues and ironically I still “blotch” and have to reprint grids sometimes.

    @Dave Kennison
    I’ve given up trying to argue with you, as you historically have shown no intention to trying to listen when I have related my position on this. I can accept that people have differing opinions on these things and have the right to express them. Evidently I don’t get the same consideration from others.

    1. @Glenn …

      Well, we certainly have different views of some things and I feel, as you do, that I have a right to express my opinions.

      But the asymmetric-puzzle question is not just a matter of opinion. If you do have examples of large groups of asymmetric puzzles coming from a particular source, I’m still interested in knowing what that source is. I spot-checked a lot of possible places without finding them.

  18. DNF Did not care for this puzzle and as
    annoying as the cryptic theme was with
    some blank clues the “ask” on 25A was
    a defensive retort? “am too” sounds like
    acknowledging not defending oneself.
    This exercise was contrived with weak
    sauce. Bring on Saturday….Please

  19. Very tricky Friday; somehow managed to finish at 19:40 with no peeks or errors, but only just. I gave up on the theme mostly, even if I recognized that something weird was going on – still three part, rather than two part is pretty dirty pool.

    Initially had my KEA/LOA switched, but managed to straighten that out. Didn’t know WES. Got FOCSLE on a hope and a prayer…well just guessing what fit where.

  20. Fluff in the NE where I had SAh/haSNT.
    I finally figured out how the hint worked, but long after I had found the crosses.

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