LA Times Crossword 11 Jan 23, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Tom Pepper & C.C. Burnikel
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Look Formal

Themed answers are common phrases with MAL- inserted at the start:

  • 17A Soft feathers on a croquet implement? : MALLET DOWN (MAL + “LET DOWN”)
  • 30A Negotiations over the ingredients of a milkshake? : MALTED TALKS (MAL + “TED TALKS”)
  • 47A Place to park one’s spiteful feelings? : MALICE SHELF (MAL + ICE SHELF)
  • 64A Karl’s years with the Utah Jazz? : MALONE TIME (MAL + ONE TIME)

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

Bill’s time: 7m 07s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Bit of pond growth : ALGA

Algae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they use photosynthesis to create sugars from light and carbon dioxide, but they differ in that they have simpler anatomies, and for example lack roots.

15 Anti-harassment movement : ME TOO

The use of the #MeToo hashtag initially was encouraged by actress Alyssa Milano in 2017 to draw attention to sexual assault and sexual harassment. Milano was acting in response to the growing number of allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. The use of the phrase “Me Too” in the context of sexual misconduct dates back to 2006. Social activist Tarana Burke started to use the phrase on the Myspace social network after a 13-year-old girl told her that she had been sexually assaulted. Apparently, Burke had no response at the time the girl confided in her, but later wished she had responded, “Me too”.

17 Soft feathers on a croquet implement? : MALLET DOWN (MAL + “LET DOWN”)

The very genteel game of croquet is played on lawns all over the world. It’s the game where mallets are used to hit wooden balls through hoops embedded in the grass. The name “croquet” is from French dialect and means “hockey stick”. The game originated in Brittany in France, and was popularized in Ireland in the 1830s.

19 Billions of years : EONS

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

22 Judi Dench and Helen Mirren, for two : DAMES

The title “Dame” in the British system of honors is the female equivalent to “Sir”, as used to address a knight. In days of old, the wife of a knight was given the title of Dame. Since the 17th century, the wife of a knight has been called “Lady”. So now, anyone with the title of Dame has earned the honor in her own right and not through marriage.

Dame Judi Dench is an outstanding English actress who has appeared for decades in her home country on stage and screen. Dench’s film career took off in the nineties with a relatively trivial role as “M” in the James Bond series of films. Since then she has played leading roles in several excellent movies including “Shakespeare in Love”, “Mrs. Brown”, “Notes on a Scandal” and “Philomena”.

Helen Mirren, one of my favorite English actresses, has played three different queens on film and television. She played Queen Elizabeth II on the 2006 film “The Queen”, the title role in the TV drama “Elizabeth I”, and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of the title character in the 1994 film “The Madness of King George”. Mirren won the “Triple Crown of Acting” for playing:

  • Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen” (winning Best Actress Oscar)
  • Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience” (winning Best Actress in a Play Tony)
  • Detective Jane Tennison in “Prime Suspect” (winning Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy)

23 Emeril catchword : BAM!

Emeril Lagasse is an American chef who was born in Massachusetts. Lagasse first achieved celebrity as executive chef in Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. Now famous for his television shows, his cuisine still showcases New Orleans ingredients and influences. Lagasse started using his famous “Bam!” catchphrase in order to keep his crew awake during repeated tapings of his show.

27 Proverb : SAW

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”.

30 Negotiations over the ingredients of a milkshake? : MALTED TALKS (MAL + “TED TALKS”)

Walgreens claims to have introduced the malted milkshake, back in 1922.

The acronym “TED” stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design”. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and the meetings are often led by big names such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED Talks”. There are also TEDx events, which are locally-run talks presented under license from TED.

35 CBS forensic franchise : CSI

The “CSI” TV show franchise uses hits from the Who as theme music:

  • “Who Are You” … “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
  • “Baba O’Riley” … “CSI: New York”
  • “Won’t Get Fooled Again” … “CSI: Miami”
  • “I Can See for Miles” … “CSI: Cyber”

36 Animated film about a bird from Brazil : RIO

“Rio” is a 2011 animated movie about a male blue macaw (Blu) that is brought to mate with a female blue macaw (Jewel) in Rio de Janeiro, hence the movie’s title. Fans can also see “Rio 2”, which was released in 2014.

40 Font flourish : SERIF

Serifs are details on the ends of characters in some typefaces. Typefaces without serifs are known as sans-serif, using the French word “sans” meaning “without” and “serif” from the Dutch “schreef” meaning “line”. Some people say that serif fonts are easier to read on paper, whereas sans-serif fonts work better on a computer screen. I’m not so sure though …

42 Rascal Flatts, e.g. : TRIO

Rascal Flatts was a country music trio that started performing together in 1999. The group got the name from someone watching them play together at a bar in Nashville, someone who had a band with that name in the 1960s. The trio wrote up a contract there and then on a napkin, and paid $5,000 for the name “Rascal Flatts”.

43 Casting director? : ANGLER

We use the verb “to angle” to mean “to fish” because “angel” is an Old English word meaning “hook”.

45 “Shea Butter Baby” singer-songwriter Lennox : ARI

“Ari Lennox” is the stage name of R&B singer Courtney Salter. In choosing her stage name, Salter was influenced by a character named Mary Lennox in the 1993 movie version of “The Secret Garden”.

46 Day-__ paint : GLO

“Day-Glo” is a registered trademark used for an ink or paint that glows when exposed to a black light in a darkened room. When Day-Glo paint is viewed in daylight, the colors can look particularly vivid because they respond to UV light present in sunlight.

51 Drop out of the conversation? : ELIDE

To elide is to pass over, omit or slur a syllable when speaking.

52 Stately tree : ELM

The Ulmus laevis deciduous tree that is native to Europe is commonly referred to as the European white elm, spreading elm and stately elm.

56 SoFi Stadium NFL player : RAM

SoFi Stadium is an arena in Inglewood, California just a few miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). It is the home of two NFL teams: the LA Rams and the LA Chargers.

63 Landing spot for a cannonball : POOL

That would be a swimming pool.

64 Karl’s years with the Utah Jazz? : MALONE TIME (MAL + ONE TIME)

Karl Malone is a retired professional basketball player who was nicknamed “the Mailman”. Malone played most of his career with the Utah Jazz, from 1985 to 2004.

67 Honeycrisp, for one : APPLE

The honeycrisp apple cultivar was developed at the University of Minnesota and released to the market in 1991. Among other traits, it is known for its juiciness. Apparently, more cells are ruptured, releasing juice, when biting into a honeycrisp compared to other apples.

69 Private employer? : ARMY

The lowest military rank of soldier is often a private (pvt.). The term “private” comes from the Middle Ages when “private soldiers” were hired or conscripted by noblemen to form a “private army”. The more generic usage of “private” started in the 1700s.

70 Sauce for gnocchi : PESTO

Pesto sauce is more completely called “pesto alla genovese”, i.e. pesto from Genoa. A traditional recipe calls for crushed garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil leaves, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Yum …

Gnocchi are small dumplings in Italian cuisine that can be made from various ingredients including potato, my personal favorite. The name “gnocchi” might be derived from the Italian “nocchio” meaning “knot in wood”.

71 Sandogasa, beanie, etc. : HATS

A “sandogasa” is a traditional Japanese hat made from bamboo.

A beanie is a knitted, close-fitting hat with no brim. The name probably comes from the slang term “bean” meaning “head”.

Down

1 __ mater : ALMA

The term “alma mater” is used to describe a school from which one has graduated. It can also describe a school’s song or hymn.

3 View from Florida’s west coast : GULF

The Gulf of Mexico is a notorious site for oil exploration. There are about 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells on the Gulf’s seabed.

4 Embrace spontaneity, in a way : AD LIB

“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage, the phrase is usually shortened to “ad-lib”. On the stage, the concept of an ad lib is very familiar.

5 Clock-setting std. : GMT

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

A meridian is a line of longitude, and the Prime Meridian is that line of longitude defined as 0 degrees. The Prime Meridian is also called the Greenwich Meridian as it passes through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich in southeast London. Of course the line of longitude that is used to represent 0 degrees is an arbitrary decision. 25 nations formally decided in 1884 to use the Greenwich Meridian as 0 degrees as it was already a popular choice. That is all except the French, who abstained from the vote and used the Paris Meridian as 0 degrees on French charts for several decades.

8 Neckwear worn by Matt Smith on “Doctor Who” : BOW TIE

English actor Matt Smith is perhaps best known for playing the title character in the BBC sci-fi phenomenon “Doctor Who” from 2010 to 2013. He also played a young Prince Philip on the Netflix show “The Crown” opposite Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II.

10 Ring-necked state bird of South Dakota : PHEASANT

The common pheasant is native to Asia and parts of Europe. The same bird is usually referred to as the ring-necked pheasant in North America. The ring-necked pheasant is the state bird of South Dakota, even though it is not native to the state, and not native to the whole continent.

12 Baby photographer Geddes : ANNE

Anne Geddes is a portrait photographer from Australia, now based in New York City, who is known for her photographs of babies and infants. One of the secrets of her success in working with babies is to have them pose in the morning, when they are well rested. She also limits each sitting to about 30 minutes, ending before the model gets fussy. Clever …

13 Loch in tabloid photos : NESS

The Loch Ness monster has been talked about for centuries, but modern interest started in 1933 when a spate of sightings was reported. Those sightings don’t seem to have stopped, with photographs really sparking the imagination.

“Tabloid” is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs Wellcome) for a “small tablet of medicine”, a name that goes back to 1884. The word “tabloid” had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in “tabloid journalism”, which described newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.

22 Spreadsheet contents : DATA

Our word “data” (singular “datum”) comes from the Latin “datum” meaning “given”. The idea is that data are “things given”.

24 Color akin to brick : MARS RED

The surface of the planet Mars has a very high iron oxide content, so Mars is red because it is rusty!

26 Common email attachment : PDF FILE

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993. PDF documents can be shared between users and read using many different applications and platforms, making them more universally accessible than documents saved by one particular program.

28 Yoga position : ASANA

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word that translates literally as “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

29 Leeway in a negotiation, say : WIGGLE ROOM

Our word “leeway” meaning “spare margin” is nautical in origin. A vessel’s leeway is the amount of drift motion away from her intended course that is caused by the action of the wind.

32 Text at a bat mitzvah : TORAH

A Jewish girl becomes a bat mitzvah at 12 years of age, the age at which she becomes responsible for her actions. Boys become bar mitzvahs at 13. The terms translate into English as daughter and son of the commandments.

33 Whale food : KRILL

Krill are small, shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the oceans. Krill feed on plankton, and in turn, krill are the main part of the diet of larger animals such as whales, seals and penguins. There’s an awful lot of krill in the world, an estimated 500,000,000 tonnes of it. That’s about twice the biomass of humans on the planet!

39 Prozac maker : ELI LILLY

Eli Lilly is the largest corporation in the state of Indiana. Founder Eli Lilly was a veteran of the Union Army in the Civil War, and a failed Mississippi plantation owner. Later in life he returned to his first profession and opened a pharmaceutical operation to manufacture drugs and sell them wholesale. Under Lilly’s early guidance, the company was the first to create gelatin capsules to hold medicines and the first to use fruit flavoring in liquid medicines.

The most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the US (in 2010 anyway) are:

  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Desyrel (trazodone)
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)

41 Ring of Kerry’s isl. : IRE

County Kerry is located in the southwest of Ireland. It is a popular tourist destination, largely because it is home to the town of Killarney. Killarney is a jumping off point for the famous Ring of Kerry and the Lakes of Killarney. Kerry’s county town is Tralee, home to the world-famous Rose of Tralee festival.

44 Vaping device : E-CIG

An electronic cigarette (also called an “e-cigarette”) is a battery-powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled in a process called “vaping”, delivering nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke. But, that may not be so …

48 Brightly colored wrap : SERAPE

“Serape” is the English pronunciation and spelling of the Spanish word “zarape”. A zarape is like a Mexican poncho, a soft woolen blanket with a hole in the middle for the head. Most serapes have colorful designs that use traditional Mayan motifs.

53 Stick in a book : MATCH

A strike-anywhere match will ignite if struck against almost any dry, hard, rough surface. The match head comprises two chemicals that are necessary for ignition. In order to minimize the chances of accidental ignition of matches, the safety match was developed. The safety match is safer because the match head only includes one of the chemicals necessary for ignition. The second chemical is included in a special striking surface provided with the matches, usually along the side of a matchbox.

54 Animal rescue org. : SPCA

Unlike most developed countries, the US has no umbrella organization with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.

57 Austrian peaks : ALPS

There are eight Alpine countries:

  • Austria
  • Slovenia
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Germany
  • Monaco
  • Italy

60 __ monster : GILA

A Gila monster is a venomous lizard found in the southwestern US and northern Mexico, and is the only venomous lizard native to America. Gila monsters move along at a snail’s pace so aren’t normally a danger to humans. The name “Gila” is a reference to the Gila River Basin in the American Southwest, where the Gila monster was prevalent.

65 Opposite of paleo- : NEO-

The prefix “paleo-” means “prehistoric, primitive”. It comes from the Greek word “palaios” which means “old, ancient”. The prefix “neo-” would be the opposite, meaning “new, recent”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Bit of pond growth : ALGA
5 Snatches : GRABS
10 Map out : PLAN
14 Earsplitting : LOUD
15 Anti-harassment movement : ME TOO
16 Perfect gradually : HONE
17 Soft feathers on a croquet implement? : MALLET DOWN (MAL + “LET DOWN”)
19 Billions of years : EONS
20 Stick on : AFFIX
21 Bow (out) : OPT
22 Judi Dench and Helen Mirren, for two : DAMES
23 Emeril catchword : BAM!
25 “No thanks” : I PASS
27 Proverb : SAW
30 Negotiations over the ingredients of a milkshake? : MALTED TALKS (MAL + “TED TALKS”)
35 CBS forensic franchise : CSI
36 Animated film about a bird from Brazil : RIO
37 Some unauthorized creations : FAN ART
38 All the __ : RAGE
40 Font flourish : SERIF
42 Rascal Flatts, e.g. : TRIO
43 Casting director? : ANGLER
45 “Shea Butter Baby” singer-songwriter Lennox : ARI
46 Day-__ paint : GLO
47 Place to park one’s spiteful feelings? : MALICE SHELF (MAL + ICE SHELF)
50 Bracket shape : ELL
51 Drop out of the conversation? : ELIDE
52 Stately tree : ELM
54 Herb piece : SPRIG
56 SoFi Stadium NFL player : RAM
59 Psyched : EAGER
63 Landing spot for a cannonball : POOL
64 Karl’s years with the Utah Jazz? : MALONE TIME (MAL + ONE TIME)
66 Unflappable : COOL
67 Honeycrisp, for one : APPLE
68 Video snippet : CLIP
69 Private employer? : ARMY
70 Sauce for gnocchi : PESTO
71 Sandogasa, beanie, etc. : HATS

Down

1 __ mater : ALMA
2 Be a couch potato : LOAF
3 View from Florida’s west coast : GULF
4 Embrace spontaneity, in a way : AD LIB
5 Clock-setting std. : GMT
6 Give the decor a face-lift : REDO
7 Resting on : ATOP
8 Neckwear worn by Matt Smith on “Doctor Who” : BOW TIE
9 Male offspring : SON
10 Ring-necked state bird of South Dakota : PHEASANT
11 Has tremendous influence : LOOMS LARGE
12 Baby photographer Geddes : ANNE
13 Loch in tabloid photos : NESS
18 Final, e.g. : EXAM
22 Spreadsheet contents : DATA
24 Color akin to brick : MARS RED
26 Common email attachment : PDF FILE
27 “Buzz off!” : SCRAM!
28 Yoga position : ASANA
29 Leeway in a negotiation, say : WIGGLE ROOM
31 Falsehood : LIE
32 Text at a bat mitzvah : TORAH
33 Whale food : KRILL
34 Seat at the bar : STOOL
39 Prozac maker : ELI LILLY
41 Ring of Kerry’s isl. : IRE
44 Vaping device : E-CIG
48 Brightly colored wrap : SERAPE
49 Escape in a hurry : FLEE
53 Stick in a book : MATCH
54 Animal rescue org. : SPCA
55 Not great : POOR
57 Austrian peaks : ALPS
58 Lose feathers : MOLT
60 __ monster : GILA
61 Give off : EMIT
62 Counts at a gym : REPS
64 Diagram at a visitor center : MAP
65 Opposite of paleo- : NEO-

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 11 Jan 23, Wednesday”

  1. Messed up 41D. Had ILE. should have known better. Didn’t know 45A either but IRA sounds better than ALI but I wasn’t sure.

  2. Anon: Same here because I didn’t know ARI.
    Mary: Same here but I wouldn’t qualify it as kind of lame. I thought it was very lame.
    Finished with but one or two (depending on how you look at it) error(s): ARI/ILE.

  3. 9:16 – no errors or lookups. False starts: LOLL>LOAF, ADAPT>ADLIB.

    New: “Shea Butter Baby,” ARI Lennox, “sandogasa,” “Ring of Kerry.”

    Figured out the theme at 47A with three solved at that point. Themes aren’t necessary, but can help with solving.

    “Ring of Kerry” just sounded Irish (IREland), and so that’s how I got ARI.

  4. 7 mins 40 sec, no errors. Didn’t make so much of a mess like yesterday. Decent enough grid, at least guileless. The theme, though was an incredible REACH. Come on, that is **tortured**.

  5. This was a strange puzzle for me. Working across the top, most of the answers were logical ad fairly easy. I was then able to “walk down” the entire East half of the puzzle, across the bottom and finish going up the West side. It was relatively easy for me with no errors or lookups.

    The theme never dawned on me. When I got to 17A, I knew that “mallet” and “down” were part of the answer so, I just figured the other 3 were just 2 word clues requiring 2 word answers, and it worked out fine.

  6. I also went with INE/ANI. Wouldn’t have noticed that one letter in the middle of the puzzle if others hadn’t mentioned it.
    I struggled over MALTEDTALKS because I crossed it with PaFFILE. Don’t ask, but PAF files do, or did, exist. Another part of my problem was I wasn’t sure if the theme was M or MA. Finally dawned on me to try MAL. Sheesh

  7. Miraculously I had no errors. I don’t time myself because sometimes I have to sleep on the answers. 41D left me scratching my head. I just guessed that I needed an ‘R’ in the middle. I was totally lost on the theme.

  8. Tricky but doable Wednesday; took 11:52 with no peeks or errors. Didn’t get the banner at the end and I remembered I didn’t really like InE/AnE junction. After a bit, I went with IRE since I knew Kerry was in Ireland, and got the banner. Didn’t really understand the clue until I looked it up on a map.

    I kinda like MALICE SHELF and MALTED TALKS!

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