LA Times Crossword 22 Oct 22, Saturday

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Constructed by: Mary Lou Guizzo & Brooke Husic
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 14m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Lone star group? : PANS

To pan something is to criticize it harshly.

13 Marshmallow bird : PEEP

Peeps are marshmallow candies, usually in the shapes of chicks and bunnies, primarily sold around the Easter holiday. Peeps were introduced in 1952 by a Russian immigrant called Sam Born whose company “Just Born” makes the candies to this day. The original candies were yellow and hand-shaped to look like little chicks, hence the name “Peeps”.

14 “Let Me Down Slowly” singer-songwriter Benjamin : ALEC

Alec Benjamin is a singer-songwriter from Phoenix. Although he writes and performs songs primarily in English, he also records some of those English-language songs in Mandarin Chinese.

15 NAACP __ Awards : IMAGE

The NAACP Image Awards are presented annually to recognise people of color in the worlds of film, television, music and literature. The first awards were presented in 1967, and the ceremony usually takes place in Los Angeles.

18 Colorful bulb : TULIP

Tulip festivals are held in a few cities around the world. The largest of these is the Canadian Tulip Festival that is held every year in the capital city of Ottawa. The tradition of growing tulips in Ottawa really started at the end of WWII. The Dutch royal family presented the city with 100,000 tulip bulbs as an act of thanks for having sheltered Princess Juliana and her children while the Nazis occupied the Netherlands. The first Canadian Tulip Festival took place in 1953.

19 Achebe novel whose title comes from a Yeats poem : THINGS FALL APART

“Things Fall Apart” is a 1958 novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. It is set in Nigeria and deals with the changes that came with the invasion of Nigeria by Europeans, primarily from Britain. “Things Fall Apart” is regarded today as a seminal work, and is read and studied all over Africa and around the world. It is the most widely read book in the whole of African literature. The title is a quotation from the poem “The Second Coming” by W. B. Yeats.

22 Part of an opening line? : … SESAME

In the folk tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, the title character is a poor woodcutter who discovers the magic phrase “Open sesame!” that opens the thieves’ den.

23 Rat tail? : TEE

The letter at the tail end of the word “rat” is a letter T (tee).

24 Sportswear brand : FILA

Fila was originally an Italian company, founded in 1911 and now based in South Korea. Fila was started in Piedmont by the Fila brothers, primarily to make underwear that they sold to people living in the Italian Alps. The company started to focus on sportswear in the seventies, using tennis-great Bjorn Borg as their major endorser.

26 Cosmetic invented for the movie industry in 1930 : LIP GLOSS

Lip glass is a cosmetic used to give shine to the lips. It was developed in 1930 by beautician Max Factor Sr., who intended it for use by actresses in black-and-white movies. That glossy look was embraced by the general public.

28 Sondheim’s “Sweeney __” : TODD

“Sweeney Todd” was originally a 1936 film, later a 1973 play, then a 1979 musical, and then a movie adaptation of the musical in 2007. After Sweeney Todd has killed his victims, his partner in crime Mrs. Lovett helped him dispose of the bodies by taking the flesh and baking it into meat pies that she sold in her pie shop. Ugh!

Stephen Sondheim won more Tony Awards than any other composer, a total of eight. He had a long list of stage (and big screen) successes including “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”, “A Little Night Music”, “Sweeney Todd” and “Into the Woods”. Sondheim was a big fan of crosswords and had a whole series of cryptic crosswords published in “New York” magazine in the sixties.

29 Address to a fella : GUV

“Guv” is an informal word used in the UK, and a shortened form of “governor”. It is usually a friendly address to a man, sort of like our “Mac” or “Dad”.

31 Masala chai, e.g. : SPICED TEA

Masala chai is an Indian drink made with black tea (the “chai) and mixed spices (the “masala”).

36 Procedural that spun off from “JAG” : NCIS

NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The service gives its name to the CBS TV show “NCIS”, a spin-off drama from “JAG” in which the main “NCIS” characters were first introduced. The big star in “NCIS” is the actor Mark Harmon. “NCIS” is now a franchise, with spin-off shows “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “NCIS: New Orleans”.

The legal drama “JAG” is named for the highest ranking uniformed lawyer in the US Navy, the Judge Advocate General. Apparently the show was created as a cross between “Top Gun” and “A Few Good Men”.

40 Mollusk considered a living fossil : NAUTILUS

The marine creature called a nautilus (plural “nautili”) is referred to as a “living fossil”, as it looks just like the spiral-shelled creatures that are commonly found in fossils. The spiral shape is a great example of the Fibonacci series defining a natural phenomenon, as the spiral is a Fibonacci spiral, described by the famous series of numbers. The nautilus moves using jet propulsion, by ingesting water at one end and then squirting it out at the other.

42 Comedian Cenac : WYATT

Wyatt Cenac is a comedian and writer from New York City who was raised in Dallas. Cenac worked for three years as a writer for the TV show “KIng of the Hill” before joining “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” as writer and correspondent.

43 Feature of a fitted blouse : DART

A blouse is a loose-fitting shirt, particularly one worn by women or children. The term “blouse” is French, and originally described a peasant’s smock.

44 On the __ : LAM

To be on the lam is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. “On the lam” is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word “lam” also means “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, scram”.

46 Stadium cry : ICE-COLD BEER HERE!

The Greek word “stadion” was a measure of length, about 600 feet. The name “stadion” then came to be used for a running track of that length. That “running track” meaning led to our contemporary term “stadium” (plural “stadia”).

50 Himalayan cryptid : YETI

The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology, and a cryptid is a creature or plant that isn’t recognized by the scientific community, but the existence of which has been suggested.

51 Vehicles that may roll over : IRAS

A rollover IRA is a subtype of traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The funds for a rollover IRA come from another qualified plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b) account.

52 Trunks : TORSI

“Torso” (plural “torsi”) is an Italian word meaning “trunk of a statue”, and is a term that we imported into English.

53 __ queen : DRAG

The etymology of the term “drag”, as used in the transvestite world, seems to be unclear. It perhaps relates to the tendency of a transvestite’s skirts to drag along the ground in days of old (although why they just didn’t hitch up their skirts is beyond me!).

55 Jennies, e.g. : ASSES

A female donkey/ass is known as a jenny and a male is known as a jack, or sometimes “jackass”. We started using the term “jackass” to mean “fool” in the 1820s.

57 Hurdle for a future Ph.D. : GRE

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

Down

2 Amended : REVISED

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”.

3 Court coup : OPEN-AND-SHUT CASE

A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss-German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”. We also use the abbreviated “coup” to mean “sudden, brilliant and successful act”.

4 Not retro yet : PASSE

“Passé” is a French word, meaning “past, faded”. We’ve imported the term into English, and use it in the same sense.

5 First letter of the Urdu alphabet : ALIF

Urdu is one of the two official languages of Pakistan (the other being English), and is one of the 22 scheduled languages in India. Urdu partly developed from Persian and is written from right to left.

7 Haul : SCHLEP

Our word “schlep” (sometimes “schlepp”) means “carry, drag”. “Schlep” comes from Yiddish, with “shlepen” having the same meaning.

8 Ford whose debut album was “Out for Blood” : LITA

Lita Ford was the lead singer for the Runaways. She later became famous for her solo work, although I’ve never heard of her outside of crosswords, I must admit …

10 Lassitude : MALAISE

A malaise is a general but undefined feeling of discomfort or illness. The term “malaise” ultimately comes from Old French with the prefix “mal-” meaning “bad” and “aise” meaning “ease”.

“Languor”, “lassitude”, “lethargy” and “listlessness” are such lovely words, all l-words meaning “lack of physical energy, torpor”.

11 Some zoomers with an emo aesthetic : E-GIRLS

E-girls and e-boys (maybe “e-kids”) may spend a lot of time on social media, especially TikTok, hence the use of the prefix “e-”.

12 Commuter syst. that crosses the Delaware : SEPTA

Public transportation in and around Philadelphia is managed by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

The Delaware River rises in the Catskill Mountains in New York and empties into Delaware Bay on the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, it passes through the cities of Trenton and Camden in New York, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, and Wimington and Dover in Delaware. The river was named for Englishman Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr. He was appointed the first governor of the Virginia colony. In turn, the river gave its name to the Lenape people, and eventually the US state.

13 Tended a lab? : PET-SAT

The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814. The breed comes in three registered colors: black, yellow and chocolate.

20 BBC clock setting : GMT

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the time at the Prime Meridian, the meridian that runs through Greenwich in London.

21 Staccato opposite : LEGATO

Staccato (stac.) is a musical direction signifying that notes should be played in a disconnected form. The opposite of staccato would be legato, indicating long and continuous notes played very smoothly.

26 “Star Trek” captain Jean-__ Picard : LUC

When Gene Roddenberry was creating the “Star Trek” spin-off series “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, I think he chose a quite magnificent name for the new starship captain. “Jean-Luc Picard” is imitative of one or both of the twin-brother Swiss scientists Auguste and Jean Felix Piccard. The role of Picard was played by the wonderful Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart.

29 Benefits act of 1944 : GI BILL

What we commonly refer to as the GI Bill is more correctly called the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944.

33 Some French? : DES

The word “some” translates into French as either “du” with masculine nouns or “de la” with feminine nouns. That said, both masculine and feminine nouns in the plural use “des” to mean “some”. Further, both masculine and femine nouns that start with a vowel use “de l’” for “some”.

34 Vocations : CAREERS

A vocation is a calling, particularly a spiritual calling. More generally, it can be a person’s occupation. “Vocation” comes from the Latin “vocare” meaning “to call”, which in turn comes from the Latin “vox” meaning “voice”.

38 Go over again : ITERATE

The verb “to iterate” means to repeat over again. The verb “reiterate” means the same thing. One might suspect that “reiterate” is one of those words that has crept into the language due to repeated (reiterated?!) misuse. Well, that’s not quite the case, but close. Back in the 1400s, “iterate” meant “repeat”, and “reiterate” meant “repeat again and again”. We’ve lost the distinction between those two definitions over time.

40 Ballpark snack served in a helmet : NACHOS

The dish known as “nachos” was supposedly created by the maître d’ at a restaurant called the Victory Club in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. The name of the maître d’ was Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya.

41 The People’s Princess : LADY DI

Just after Diana, Princess of Wales died in a car accident, then Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed the nation. In so doing, he described her as “the People’s Princess”. That description resonated with many, and is still used today when referring to “Lady Di”.

42 “All the Light We Cannot See” backdrop : WAR

American author Anthony Doerr won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his 2014 novel “All the Light We Cannot See”. The book is all about a blind French girl and a German boy who meet in occupied France during WWII.

43 Judge-y remarks? : DICTA

“Dictum” (plural “dicta”) is a legal term describing a statement by a court as part of a judgment.

45 Neutral tone : BEIGE

Our word “beige” comes from the Old French “bege”, a term that applied to the natural color of wool and cotton that was not dyed.

47 Redding who wrote “Respect” : OTIS

Otis Redding is often referred to as the “King of Soul”, and what a voice he had. Like so many of the greats in the world of popular music it seems, Redding was killed in a plane crash, in 1967 when he was just 26 years old. Just three days earlier he had recorded what was to be his biggest hit, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”.

“Respect” is a song by Otis Redding, and one that he recorded himself in 1965. It became a hit when Aretha Franklin made her famous cover version in 1967. The Redding and Franklin versions have different storylines though, and different musical “feels”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Address to a fella : BRO
4 Lone star group? : PANS
8 Green fruit : LIMES
13 Marshmallow bird : PEEP
14 “Let Me Down Slowly” singer-songwriter Benjamin : ALEC
15 NAACP __ Awards : IMAGE
16 One hanging out along the wall? : EAVE
17 [Not again!] : [SIGH!]
18 Colorful bulb : TULIP
19 Achebe novel whose title comes from a Yeats poem : THINGS FALL APART
22 Part of an opening line? : … SESAME
23 Rat tail? : TEE
24 Sportswear brand : FILA
25 Ain’t equivalent? : AREN’T
26 Cosmetic invented for the movie industry in 1930 : LIP GLOSS
28 Sondheim’s “Sweeney __” : TODD
29 Address to a fella : GUV
30 Suffix with gazillion : -AIRE
31 Masala chai, e.g. : SPICED TEA
34 __ Rub: anti-chafing product : CHUB
35 Jazz intro? : NEO-
36 Procedural that spun off from “JAG” : NCIS
40 Mollusk considered a living fossil : NAUTILUS
42 Comedian Cenac : WYATT
43 Feature of a fitted blouse : DART
44 On the __ : LAM
45 Cupcakes-to-be : BATTER
46 Stadium cry : ICE-COLD BEER HERE!
49 Dirty sort of person : CHEAT
50 Himalayan cryptid : YETI
51 Vehicles that may roll over : IRAS
52 Trunks : TORSI
53 __ queen : DRAG
54 Makes : NETS
55 Jennies, e.g. : ASSES
56 Dot on a map : ISLE
57 Hurdle for a future Ph.D. : GRE

Down

1 Come to the rescue : BE A HERO
2 Amended : REVISED
3 Court coup : OPEN-AND-SHUT CASE
4 Not retro yet : PASSE
5 First letter of the Urdu alphabet : ALIF
6 Figures whose squares are positive : NEGATIVE NUMBERS
7 Haul : SCHLEP
8 Ford whose debut album was “Out for Blood” : LITA
9 “No, really, you decide!” : I’M UP FOR ANYTHING!
10 Lassitude : MALAISE
11 Some zoomers with an emo aesthetic : E-GIRLS
12 Commuter syst. that crosses the Delaware : SEPTA
13 Tended a lab? : PET-SAT
20 BBC clock setting : GMT
21 Staccato opposite : LEGATO
26 “Star Trek” captain Jean-__ Picard : LUC
27 Tell tales : LIE
29 Benefits act of 1944 : GI BILL
32 Place : PUT
33 Some French? : DES
34 Vocations : CAREERS
37 Hospitality professional : CATERER
38 Go over again : ITERATE
39 Go over again, say : STRESS
40 Ballpark snack served in a helmet : NACHOS
41 The People’s Princess : LADY DI
42 “All the Light We Cannot See” backdrop : WAR
43 Judge-y remarks? : DICTA
45 Neutral tone : BEIGE
47 Redding who wrote “Respect” : OTIS
48 Abbreviation for a name dropper? : ET AL

24 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 22 Oct 22, Saturday”

  1. Lita Ford played guitar in the Runaways but was not (always) the lead singer.

    her biggest hits in the USA were “Kiss Me Deadly” and “Close My Eyes Forever” (Both 1988, the latter a duet with Ozzy Osbourne).

  2. Too many lookups for me to claim I solved this one! I did make
    a lot of good guesses and ended up with no errors. But don’t feel
    good about it.

  3. LAT: 50 minutes but 3 incorrect letters causing 3 incorrect answers. Had B-girls, instead of never-heard-of E-girls; Rita instead of Lita; and stupidly Limbs instead of obvious Limes. All in all a good, fair Saturday puzzle.

  4. DNF; gave up. I decry questionable cluing, 33D, 18A- sorry, but tulip bulbs are not colorful-; obscurities, at least to this tired old man, 19A, 34A; trivia, 5D, 24A; pop culture, 8D, 11D, 42A.

    I deem solving a puzzle a success when I learn at least something worth knowing. My time spent on today’s puzzle was wasted…

  5. I understand that the Saturday puzzle is (generally) the most difficult puzzle of every week, but this one was over the top and much too obscure (either clues or answers) for this solver.

  6. Two of us working together took over an hour. Learned legato is the opposite of staccato. Otherwise, a waste of a good hour.

  7. I pretty well ditto Engineer’s and Steve’s comments. (If I said more about this Saturday slog, I might not sound like a nice GUV, guys.)

  8. 15:36 1 lookup for the first letter of the Urdu alphabet, ALIF.

    I felt pretty pleased with myself for getting NEGATIVENUMBERS right away, but it didn’t help as much as I hoped.

    It’s good to see WYATT Cenac. I liked his show “People of Earth”.

    I liked having two “go over again” clues that neither answer started with RE-.

  9. Worst puzzle I’ve seen in months. Useless clues, esoterica, and fills that few people even know anything about. Hope to never see these names on another by-line, as I will surely pass on it and save myself some time.

  10. Crashed and burned.
    Had NEGATISE MEMBERS for 6D.
    MAO for 35A …
    GUS for 29A…
    NAUTILES for 40A

    Still don’t know what DART is.

    Just a real toughie for me.

    1. Dart is a sewing term. A dart shapes a garment by strategically nipping in the fabric. The fold is triangular, which is probably where the name comes from. They’re common in women’s clothing — the bustline in blouses and dresses and at the waistline of skirts and trousers.

  11. I’m not quite sure what the new editors are looking to achieve with the Saturday puzzle. Frustration? Irritation? Diminishing readership? Oh, for the likes of Merle Reagle. Challenges with cleverness, not impossible factoids.

  12. DNF. Top middle did me in. Had Mavs for
    Lone star group (Dallas Mavericks) and
    Things fell apart from there. Got everything
    else though surprisingly. I liked the long
    answers but it took two constructors for
    this dreck? Or because of…
    “guv”….really?

  13. Got a lot below a line stretching from the NE to the SW, plus a some parts elsewhere, before I called it a day. Took 1:12:29 with numerous “check-grids” to get to the finish.

    Even after looking at the answers, I don’t think I could’ve finished this one…maybe finish about 90%.

    Although, I really liked the “Cupcakes-to-be” clue, which I got after a second or two 🙂

    1. This a 1-star review. There is only one (a lone) star, and you use it to pan something that you didn’t like.

  14. I realize I’m coming to this late, but I wanted to point out the problem with the cluing of 6 Down. “Figures whose squares are positive.” Yes, this fits for negative numbers, but it also fits for positive numbers.

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