LA Times Crossword 3 Sep 22, Saturday

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Constructed by: Brooke Husic & Michael Lieberman
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 14m 54s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

11 Kitty : POT

The pot in a card game has been referred to as “the kitty” since the 1880s. It’s not certain how the name “kitty” evolved but possibly it comes from “kit”, the necessary equipment for the game.

15 Shawarma bread : PITA

Shawarma is a popular street food in the Middle East. It is made from thin slices of seasoned and marinated meat, stacked into a cone-shaped column, and then roasted on a vertical spit. Servings are prepared by slicing the outside roasted meat.

16 Nickname for fans of Instagram’s most-followed musician : SELENATORS

Selena Gomez is a young actress and singer from Grand Prairie, Texas. Gomez’s first television role was in the children’s show “Barney & Friends”. She then played the lead in the TV series “Wizards of Waverly Place”. Gomez’s fans often refer to themselves as “Selenators”. Offscreen, Gomez made a splash as the girlfriend of Canadian singer Justin Bieber for a couple of years.

17 Orsk river : URAL

The city of Orsk is located about 60 miles southeast of the southern tip of the Ural Mountains in Russia. The city lies on the Ural River, which forms the boundary between Europe and Asia. As a result, Orsk can be considered situated in two continents. Orsk also lies where the Or River joins the Ural, and so the Or gives the city its name.

19 Revise : AMEND

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

21 Michelangelo’s milieu : SEWER

The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” started out as a parody of comic book superheroes, first appearing in a self-published comic book in 1984. A couple of years later the characters were picked up by someone who built a whole line of toys around the characters, and then television and movies followed. Do you remember the names of all four of the Turtles? Their names were all taken from Renaissance artists:

  • Leonardo
  • Raphael
  • Michelangelo
  • Donatello

23 Nap : SIESTA

We use the word “siesta” to describe a short nap in the early afternoon, and imported the word into English from Spanish. In turn, the Spanish word is derived from the Latin “hora sexta” meaning “the sixth hour”. The idea is that the nap is taken at the sixth hour after dawn.

25 __ Ocho: Little Havana’s main drag : CALLE

The Miami neighborhood known as Little Havana is home to many immigrants from Cuba, hence the name. It is located immediately west of Downtown Miami. The main drag in Little Havana is “Calle Ocho” (Eighth Street).

27 Snack puff : CHEETO

Cheetos snacks were developed by the same guy who created Fritos, hence the similarity in name. On the market since 1948, up until the turn of the century the name was written as “Chee-tos”. Oh, and Cheetos contain pork enzymes, so vegetarians beware!

32 Hit a bunch of keys? : ISLAND-HOP

A key (also “cay”) is a low offshore island, as in the Florida “Keys”. Our term in English comes from the Spanish “cayo” meaning “shoal, reef”.

36 Farm critter : ANT

“Formicary” is another name for “ant nest”, and comes from the Latin “formica” meaning “ant”. The phrase “ant colony” describes the ants living in an ant nest. A formicarium is similar to an aquarium, and used to house an ant colony perhaps for study. The phrase “ant farm” is usually reserved for ant nests built by an ant colony in a formicarium.

40 “__ Dragon” : PETE’S

“Pete’s Dragon” is a Walt Disney feature film released in 1977. It’s all about an orphan named Pete who has a dragon named Elliott as a friend.

43 49-Down choice : ESSIE
[49D 30-Down treatment, for short : PEDI]

Essie Cosmetics is a company that was founded by Essie Weingarten, and which is now owned by L’Oreal. Apparently, Queen Elizabeth II will only wear Essie’s Ballet Slippers color nail polish. Well, that’s what Wikipedia claims …

55 Fashion designer Saab : ELIE

Elie Saab is a Lebanese fashion designer based in Beirut. Saab also goes by the name “ES”.

58 Opposite of doffs : DONS

One doffs one’s hat, usually as a mark of respect. To doff is to take off, with “doff” being a contraction of “do off”. The opposite of “doff” is “don”, meaning “to put on”.

59 Goofy-sounding person? : VOICE ACTOR

Disney’s Goofy first appeared as Dippy Dawg in 1932. Goofy became famous for his “How to …” series of cartoons in the 1940s which dealt with everything from snow skiing to sleeping, and from football to riding a horse. Goofy’s last theatrical appearance was in a 2007 work called “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater”.

60 Gerund ending : -ING

A gerund is a form of a verb that can be used as a noun. For example, the gerund of the verb “to solve” is “solving”, as in the phrase “we really enjoyed the solving experience”.

61 Symbolic centerpiece at Passover : SEDER PLATE

The Passover Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover holiday celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

Down

1 Well-suited to be a mentor : WISE

A mentor is a trusted teacher or counselor. The term “mentor” comes from Homer’s “Odyssey” in which there is a character named Mentor. He is a friend of Odysseus, although he is a relatively ineffective old man. The goddess Athena takes on Mentor’s appearance in order to guide Odysseus’s young son Telemachus through difficult times.

2 From scratch : ANEW

Apparently the phrase “start from scratch” arose in the world of sports, probably in cricket or boxing. A line would be scratched into the ground to indicate a starting point.

4 Deuce, e.g. : TIE

The exact origins of the scoring system used for a game in tennis seems to be a tad murky. One suggestion is that clock faces were once used to keep score, with a hand pointing to 15, 30, 45 and 60. When the rules were changed to ensure games were won with more than a one-point difference in the score, the concept of “deuce” was introduced. The hand on the clock was then moved back to 40 (for deuce), and 50 was used for “advantage”, with 60 continuing to represent “game”. This resulted in the scores 15, 30, 40 and game.

6 Crown topper : ENAMEL

Tooth enamel covers the crowns of our teeth. It is the hardest substance in the human body. It is composed of 96% crystalline calcium phosphate.

7 Realm of the “Divine Comedy” : AFTERLIFE

Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy” is an epic poem dating back to the 14th century. The first part of that epic is “Inferno”, which is the Italian word for “Hell”. In the poem, Dante is led on a journey by the poet Virgil, starting at the gates of Hell on which are written the famous words “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”.

8 Diving bird : LOON

The bird known as a loon here in North America is called a diver in Britain and Ireland. The name “diver” comes from the bird’s habit of swimming calmly and then suddenly diving below the surface to catch a fish. The name “loon” comes from an Old English word meaning “clumsy” and reflects the awkward gait of the bird when walking on land.

9 Time __: fictional alien race : LORDS

The Time Lords are an alien race on the BBC sci-fi show “Doctor Who”. The title character, known as “the Doctor”, is in fact a Time Lord.

10 Units for Newton: Abbr. : YDS

Yards (yds.)

Sir Isaac Newton was one of the most influential people in history, and the man who laid the groundwork for all of classical mechanics. The story about an apple falling on his head, inspiring him to formulate his theories about gravity, well that’s not quite true. Newton often told the story about observing an apple falling in his mother’s garden and how this made him acutely aware of the Earth’s gravitational pull. However, he made no mention of the apple hitting him on the head.

11 Silver adornment? : PIRATE HAT

Long John Silver is a character in the novella “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS). Long John is a pirate with a peg leg.

12 Electronic synthesizer whose name comes from the Japanese for “tadpole” : OTAMATONE

The Otamatone is a hand-held electronic musical synthesizer that was developed as a toy in Japan. It is shaped like a musical note, a quaver (eighth note), with a smiley-face forming the head. I just watched a video of someone performing the wonderful aria “Nessun dorma” on an Otamatone on a talent show, and he brought the house down …

20 Restoration playwright Aphra __ : BEHN

Aphra Behn was a playwright and poet active during the English Restoration Era. Although she was scorned by many of her male contemporaries, when Behn passed, she was honored with a burial in Westminster Abbey in London. Virginia Woolf pays homage to her in her 1929 essay “A Room of One’s Own” with the words:

All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn which is, most scandalously but rather appropriately, in Westminster Abbey, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.

In English history, the Restoration was the period immediately following the restoration of the English monarchy to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland. This took place in 1660 when Charles II was crowned king after an 11-year gap following the execution of his father Charles I.

26 Name on many a foundation : ESTEE

Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, and someone with a great reputation as a salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …

31 Center piece? : NAVEL RING

The navel is basically the scar left behind when the umbilical cord is removed from a newborn baby. One interesting use of the umbilicus (navel, belly button) is to differentiate between identical twins, especially when they are very young.

33 1983 album with the hits “China Girl” and “Modern Love” : LET’S DANCE

David Bowie’s great hit “Let’s Dance” was released in 1983, and was his only record to make it to number one on both sides of the Atlantic.

“China Girl” is a song written and recorded separately by Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Pop issued his version of the “China Girl” first, in 1977, but it was Bowie’s recording in 1983 that became most successful.

“Modern Love” is a 1983 song written and recorded by David Bowie. The lyrics include the phrase “wave bye-bye”, and do Bowie often used the song to close the show while on tour, “waving bye-bye” to the audience.

40 Conifer goo : PINE SAP

There are many species of pine tree (well over 100). The smallest is probably the Siberian dwarf pine, which usually grows to less than 10-feet tall. The tallest is the ponderosa pine, which regularly grows to over 200-feet tall.

41 Sleep lab test: Abbr. : EEG

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is “brain dead”.

46 Lake whose name means “the lake” in Washo : TAHOE

Lake Tahoe (often referred to simply as “Tahoe”) is up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is located right on the border between California and Nevada. It is the largest alpine lake in the country, and the largest lake in general behind the five Great Lakes. Tahoe is also the second deepest lake, with only the beautiful Crater Lake in Oregon being deeper. Given its location, there are tall casinos that sit right on the shore on the Nevada side of the state line where gambling is legal.

48 “Big Three” summit site where Chekhov wrote “Three Sisters” : YALTA

Yalta is a resort city on the Black Sea on the Crimean Peninsula. Crimea is very much in the news in recent years as ownership of the territory is in dispute between Russia and the Ukraine. Yalta was also in the news at the end of WWII, as it was the site of the 1945 Yalta Conference between the leaders of the three main Allies.

Olga, Masha and Irina are the “Three Sisters” in the play by Anton Chekhov. The three title characters were inspired by the three Brontë sisters, the English authors.

53 Ginger or ginseng : ROOT

It is the root of the ginger flowering plant that is most prized, as it is used as a spice and a folk medicine. Almost half of the ginger consumed across the world comes from India.

The word “ginseng” comes from a Chinese term meaning “man root”. The term is used as the root of ginseng is forked and is said to resemble the legs of a man.

56 Sharp products : TVS

Sharp Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer of electronic goods, headquartered in Osaka. The company takes its name from one of the first inventions of one of its founders, namely the Ever-Ready Sharp Pencil.

57 Knee part studied in an MRI : ACL

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four major ligaments that support the knee.

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “That … can’t be right” : WAIT … REALLY?
11 Kitty : POT
14 Cuisine that may be served on banana leaves : INDIAN FOOD
15 Shawarma bread : PITA
16 Nickname for fans of Instagram’s most-followed musician : SELENATORS
17 Orsk river : URAL
18 Shepherd’s charge : EWE
19 Revise : AMEND
20 Responsibility : BLAME
21 Michelangelo’s milieu : SEWER
23 Nap : SIESTA
25 __ Ocho: Little Havana’s main drag : CALLE
27 Snack puff : CHEETO
29 Needle : ANNOY
32 Hit a bunch of keys? : ISLAND-HOP
34 18-Across call : BAA!
35 At a high frequency : OFTEN
36 Farm critter : ANT
37 Provide real-time commentary on social media : LIVE-TWEET
40 “__ Dragon” : PETE’S
42 Only two-digit number spelled without the letter “T” : ELEVEN
43 49-Down choice : ESSIE
45 Most artful : SLIEST
47 Dull and dirty : DINGY
49 Divides : PARTS
50 Swiftly : APACE
52 “There you __!” : ARE
55 Fashion designer Saab : ELIE
56 Real or faux expression of gratitude : THANKS A LOT
58 Opposite of doffs : DONS
59 Goofy-sounding person? : VOICE ACTOR
60 Gerund ending : -ING
61 Symbolic centerpiece at Passover : SEDER PLATE

Down

1 Well-suited to be a mentor : WISE
2 From scratch : ANEW
3 Remains neutral? : IDLES
4 Deuce, e.g. : TIE
5 Took off : RAN AWAY
6 Crown topper : ENAMEL
7 Realm of the “Divine Comedy” : AFTERLIFE
8 Diving bird : LOON
9 Time __: fictional alien race : LORDS
10 Units for Newton: Abbr. : YDS
11 Silver adornment? : PIRATE HAT
12 Electronic synthesizer whose name comes from the Japanese for “tadpole” : OTAMATONE
13 Account : TALE
15 Had rhythm : PULSED
20 Restoration playwright Aphra __ : BEHN
22 Friendly introduction? : ECO-
24 Words from the willing : I CAN
26 Name on many a foundation : ESTEE
28 Goes (for) : OPTS
29 An end to reason? : -ABLE
30 Digital service provider : NAIL SALON
31 Center piece? : NAVEL RING
33 1983 album with the hits “China Girl” and “Modern Love” : LET’S DANCE
35 Accepts responsibility for : OWNS
38 Internet company solicitations? : E-VITES
39 Basic tops : TEES
40 Conifer goo : PINE SAP
41 Sleep lab test: Abbr. : EEG
44 Feeling worse : SICKER
46 Lake whose name means “the lake” in Washo : TAHOE
48 “Big Three” summit site where Chekhov wrote “Three Sisters” : YALTA
49 30-Down treatment, for short : PEDI
51 No longer due : PAID
53 Ginger or ginseng : ROOT
54 Peut-__: French “perhaps” : ETRE
56 Sharp products : TVS
57 Knee part studied in an MRI : ACL

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 3 Sep 22, Saturday”

  1. No errors. NE corner took longer. Cute twist with Long John Silvers and PIRATE HAT.
    still don’t know what a ESSIE is but I don’t do PEDIs so there. Also didn’t know SELENATORS or OTAMATONE but crosses helped.

  2. Got out error free but not without a whole lot of misfills first: terN for LOON, wifI for PEDI, mAILdemON for NAILSALON, PINEtAr for PINESAP, sagE for WISE, and possibly even more!

  3. LAT: More than an hour but surprisingly (for me) no errors. I pretty much agree with Anon Mike’s comments. The NE corner in particular caused me a lot of trouble.

  4. I don’t understand what Bill’s comment on 10 Down (YDS) had to do with Sir Isaac Newton. I thought the clue was referring to the yardage stats of Cam Newton, the quarterback.

  5. Always considered Michelangelo a second-rater compared to Leonardo but I never dared suggest his true milieu was a sewer so it’s nice to know the reference here was Ninja Turtles. Also learned something new with OTAMATONE and found the relevant link provided by Bill very funny.

  6. Ants aren’t critters. C’mon. And the secondary reference to Michelangelo was poor. Ninja Turtle milieu would have been tough but not unfair. Anyway. . . Happy Labor Day weekend to you all

  7. Bill, thank you very much for the Nessun Dorma clip. It is one of my favorite arias and hearing it always chokes me up. This time there were tears. Sadly, no-one of my ken knows the least bit about Turandot nor Puccini nor Nessun Dorma, so sharing with any of them would be a futile gesture. Poor me. Apparently, it flummoxed Bill as well. Did you notice the sun rising in the west today??

    PhilH: I got the YDS, but wondered what the hell Isaac Newton had to do with yards! Thanks for clearing that up

  8. 20:28

    Lots of misdirection led to lots of changes.
    CAT->POT, TWO->TIE, TERN->LOON, DONOR->ESTEE, PINETAR->PINESAP, EKG->ECG->EEG (I can never keep those straight), PCS->TVS.

    @PhilH, I agree. YDS for Cam Newton makes a lot more sense than Isaac.

    Today, I learned about ELIE Saab, the OTAMATONE, and Aphra BEHN.

  9. 34:01 with one look up for Aphra Behn. False starts were: PUMPED>PULSED, TEAS>ROOT, COMICACTOR>VOICEACTOR.

    New: SELENATORS, ELIE Saab, SEDERPLATE, Time LORDS, OTOMATONE, Aphra BEHN, ESSIE, Peut-etre.

    There were several areas that took a lot of thought, but the top section, side-to-side, was the most difficult for me. The thought stemmed from clue words that had multiple meanings and nothing (or not much) too help clarify (e.g., Kitty, Nap, Needle, keys, Crown, foundation).

    I, too, only had Isaac Newton in mind for 10D. Only YDS fit, but I did not realize Cam Newton until reading comments here. I think @Bill missed on that one.

  10. Just a bit too tough for me today; took 49:26 with 4 “check-grids” but only had errors on 2 of them. Total of 5 errors, I think, all in the NE corner. Should’ve spent another 5-10 minutes, and I would’ve had it. Went with roti instead of PITA and didn’t know PETES or BEHN.

    Still, fairly enjoyable Saturday for a change.

  11. Too much obscurity and distance for my tastes. The “Newton Debate” above here is a prime example of my first sentence.

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