LA Times Crossword Answers 21 May 16, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: David Steinberg
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 14m 24s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … ADA (Ida), MAHAYANA (Mihayana)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

16. Lovelace whom many consider the first computer programmer ADA
Ada Lovelace’s real name was Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace. She was the only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the poet. Lovelace was fascinated by mathematics and wrote about the work done by Charles Babbage in building his groundbreaking mechanical computer. In some of her notes, she proposed an algorithm for Babbage’s machine to compute Bernoulli numbers. This algorithm is recognized by many as the world’s first computer program and so Lovelace is sometimes called the first “computer programmer”. There is a computer language called “Ada” that was named in her honor. The Ada language was developed from 1977 to 1983 for the US Department of Defense.

18. Solo on-screen HAN
Han Solo is the space smuggler in “Star Wars” played by Harrison Ford. Ford was originally hired by George Lucas just to read lines for actors during auditions for “Star Wars”, but over time Lucas became convinced that Ford was right for the pivotal role of Han Solo.

20. Milky Way source MARS
Having lived on both sides of the Atlantic, I find the Mars Bar to be the most perplexing of candies! The original Mars Bar is a British confection (and delicious) first manufactured in 1932. The US version of the original Mars Bar is called a Milky Way. But there is candy bar called a Milky Way that is also produced in the UK, and it is completely different to its US cousin, being more like an American “3 Musketeers”. And then there is an American confection called a Mars Bar, something different again. No wonder I gave up eating candy bars …

23. Tablet container ARK
According to the Book of Exodus, the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments are inscribed were placed in a chest called the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was built according to instructions given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai.

24. Coral Triangle tourist destination BALI
The geographic term “Coral Triangle” refers to a large marine area in the western Pacific Ocean. Included in the region are the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands.

26. Down a lot TOPE
“To tope” is to drink alcohol excessively and habitually.

30. Robot starter NANO-
Nanorobots (also “nanobots”) are tiny devices that range from 0.1 to 10 micrometers in size. The technology of nanorobotics is in its infancy, but it is hoped that nanobots might be used (for example) in medicine one day. The oft-cited application is the use of nanobots inserted inside the body to identify and destroy cancer cells.

38. Icy Hot competitor BENGAY
Bengay is sold as a painkilling heat rub, to relieve aching muscles. It was developed in France by a Dr. Jules Bengue (hence the name) and was first sold in America way back in 1898.

Icy Hot is a topical heat rub that is used to relieve muscular discomfort and pain from arthritis and rheumatism. The active ingredient doesn’t provide any heat or cold, but it does stimulate nerve receptors in the skin causing the user to experience a cool sensation followed by warmth.

41. Sushi bar delicacy ROE
Sushi is a Japanese dish that has as its primary ingredient cooked, vinegared rice. The rice is usually topped with something, most often fish, and can be served in seaweed rolls. If you want raw fish by itself, then you have to order “sashimi”.

43. Slam offering POEM
A poetry slam is a competition in which poets read their own work (usually), with winners being chosen by members of audience. Apparently the first poetry slam took place in Chicago in 1984. Now there is a Nation Poetry Slam that takes place each year, with representatives from the US, Canada and France.

45. Org. that monitors plants OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.

48. Nervous person? NELLIE
A nervous Nellie is someone easily upset and hesitant to act. The term comes from “Old Nell”, a name often used for a nag. “Nervous Nellie” was originally used to describe a highly-strung racehorse.

52. AIDS-fighting drug AZT
AZT is the abbreviated name for the drug azidothymidine, much used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. AZT was originally developed in the seventies as a potential treatment for retroviruses (cancer-causing viruses), although it was never approved for use in treatment. In 1984, it was confirmed that AIDS was caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), so scientists turned to known antiviral drugs in the search for a viable treatment. Burroughs-Wellcome came up with a treatment regime using AZT, and filed a patent in 1985. The patent was challenged in court but the patent expired anyway in 2005 without any decision being made. There are now at least four generic forms of AZT approved for sale in the US.

54. Rough stuff TWEED
Tweed is a rough woolen fabric very much associated with Scotland in the UK, and County Donegal in Ireland. The cloth was originally called “tweel”, the Scots word for “twill”. Apparently a London merchant misinterpreted some handwriting in the early 1800s and assumed the fabric was called “tweed”, a reference to the Scottish River Tweed, and the name stuck …

55. Low-cost pub ZINE
Fanboys (and fangirls) are fans, but fans of a very specific subject in a particular field. So, someone might be a fan of home computing, but an Intel fanboy would have an enthusiasm for CPUs made by Intel. A fanzine (also “zine”) is a fan publication with a very limited circulation, dealing with a very specific subject matter. Fanzines are usually desktop published and distributed electronically or as photocopies.

56. “__ bien” ESTA
“Este bien” is Spanish for “it’s okay”.

57. Storage unit? BIT
In the world of computers, a “bit” is the basic unit of information. It has a value of 0 or 1. A “byte” is a small collection of bits (usually 8), the number of bits needed to uniquely identify a character of text. The prefix mega- stands for 10 to the power of 6, so a megabyte (meg) is 1,000,000 bytes. And the prefix giga- means 10 to the power of 9, so a gigabyte (gig) is 1,000,000,000 bytes. Well, those are the SI definitions of megabyte and kilobyte. The purists still use 2 to the power of 20 for a megabyte (i.e. 1,048,576), and 2 to the power of 30 for a gigabyte.

58. Vaping devices E-CIGARETTES
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, delivering the 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 …

61. “Wheel of Fortune” purchase AN I
Contestants have been spinning the “Wheel of Fortune” since the game show first aired in 1975.

63. Mo. for which tanzanite is a birthstone DEC
Here is the “official” list of birthstones by month, that we tend to use today:

January: Garnet
February: Amethyst
March: Bloodstone or Aquamarine
April: Diamond
May: Emerald
June: Pearl or Moonstone
July: Ruby
August: Sardonyx or Peridot
September: Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
October: Opal or Pink Tourmaline
November: Topaz or Citrine
December: Turquoise or Zircon (also now, Tanzanite)

64. Comics-derived danger alert SPIDEY SENSE
“Spidey sense” is a phrase used to describe one’s intuition or instinct, especially when sensing something that might be dangerous. The term arises from the comic book hero Spider-Man’s ability to sense danger before others.

Down
1. Yoga variety HATHA
Hatha yoga is a yoga system developed in 15th century India. Traditional Hatha yoga is a more “complete” practice than often encountered in the west, involving not just exercise but also meditation and relaxation.

3. Well-lit? STINKO
To be “stewed” or “lit” is to be drunk.

6. Certain queen’s domain DRAMA
That would a “drama queen” …

7. Steamed cantina food TAMALE
A tamale is a traditional dish from Central America composed of a starchy dough that is steamed or boiled in a wrapper made from a corn husk or banana leaf. The dough is called masa, and can include many different ingredients including meat, cheese fruit and vegetables.

9. Ink deliverers NIBS
“Nib” is a Scottish variant of the Old English word “neb”, with both meaning the beak of a bird. This usage of “nib” as a beak dates back to the 14th century, with “nib” meaning the tip of a pen or quill coming a little later, in the early 1600s.

10. WWII arena ETO
European Theater of Operations (ETO)

11. Basil’s wife on “Fawlty Towers” SYBIL
“Fawlty Towers” might just be the world’s greatest sitcom, popular on both sides of the Atlantic. It was written by, and starred, John Cleese and his then-wife Connie Booth. There were two series, one broadcast in 1975, and the other in 1979. There have been three attempts to remake the series in the US, one of which starred John Larroquette as Basil Fawlty, but none of the remakes worked at all.

12. Buddhism branch MAHAYANA
The Buddhist tradition has two major branches. The Theravada is “the School of the Elders”, and the Mahayana is “the Great Vehicle”. The Theravada is the older of the two schools, whereas the Mahayana split from the Theravada around the 1st century CE.

14. Mystery woman JANE DOE
Although the English court system does not use the term today, “John Doe” first appeared as the “name of a person unknown” in England in 1659, along with another unknown, Richard Roe. The female equivalent of John Doe is Jane Doe, with the equivalent to Richard Roe being Jane Roe (as in Roe v. Wade, for example).

24. Where an engineer may retire BERTH
An engineer on a train or a ship might retire to a berth for a nap or a good night’s sleep.

27. Artery problem POTHOLE
A main road can be described as an “artery”.

34. Arrogant sort SNOOT
“Snoot” is a variant of “snout” and is a word that originated in Scotland. The idea is that someone who is “snooty”, or snouty, tends to look down his or her nose at the rest of the world.

36. Team member in “Moneyball” ATHLETIC
Michael Lewis wrote his book “Moneyball” about the way Billy Beane built up the Oakland Athletics baseball team by bringing on board players who were “undervalued”, getting the maximum benefit from his limited payroll budget. I must admit I know nothing about baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Moneyball”, as well as the film adaptation with Brad Pitt playing Beane.

37. “Eldorado” group ELO
ELO of course stands for the Electric Light Orchestra, a symphonic rock group from the north of England. ELO’s manager was Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy).

40. Part-human mythological creature DEMIGOD
In Greek mythology, a demigod was a half-god, the offspring of one parent who was a god and one parent who was human. The list of demigods includes the Greek Heracles and the Celtic hero Cú Chulainn.

47. Ancient cacao bean traders AZTECS
The flowers of the cacao tree grow in clusters directly on the trunk, and on older branches. The pollinated flowers turn into ovoid cacao pods, each of which contain 20-60 seeds or beans. The seeds are used as the main ingredient in chocolate.

49. TED talk subjects IDEAS
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”.

51. Encyclopedia Brown’s first name LEROY
The “Encyclopedia Brown” series of children’s books feature the exploits of boy detective Leroy Brown. The books were written by Donald J. Sobol, starting in 1963.

55. Italian tubes ZITI
Tubular pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends. “Penne” is the plural of “penna”, the Italian for “feather, quill”.

56. Sera is a form of it ETRE
In French, the verb “être” means “to be”, and “il, elle, on sera” means “he, she, one will be”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Librarians might use them HUSHED TONES
12. Lt. col.’s inferior MAJ
15. Sci-fi concept ANTIGRAVITY
16. Lovelace whom many consider the first computer programmer ADA
17. Whatchamacallit THINGAMABOB
18. Solo on-screen HAN
19. Trail, perhaps HUNT
20. Milky Way source MARS
21. Camera product IMAGE
23. Tablet container ARK
24. Coral Triangle tourist destination BALI
25. Left rolling in the aisles SLAYED
26. Down a lot TOPE
28. __ other EACH
30. Robot starter NANO-
31. Pay dirt ORE
33. Hassle NUISANCE
35. First instrument for many RATTLE
38. Icy Hot competitor BENGAY
39. Keep secret WITHHOLD
41. Sushi bar delicacy ROE
42. __ pedal: guitar accessory ECHO
43. Slam offering POEM
45. Org. that monitors plants OSHA
48. Nervous person? NELLIE
50. Fail to beat the heat MELT
52. AIDS-fighting drug AZT
54. Rough stuff TWEED
55. Low-cost pub ZINE
56. “__ bien” ESTA
57. Storage unit? BIT
58. Vaping devices E-CIGARETTES
61. “Wheel of Fortune” purchase AN I
62. Amusing editor, at times AUTOCORRECT
63. Mo. for which tanzanite is a birthstone DEC
64. Comics-derived danger alert SPIDEY SENSE

Down
1. Yoga variety HATHA
2. Fine after an accident UNHURT
3. Well-lit? STINKO
4. “Gimme a __” HINT
5. Noodle variety EGG
6. Certain queen’s domain DRAMA
7. Steamed cantina food TAMALE
8. Like a certain female artery OVARIAN
9. Ink deliverers NIBS
10. WWII arena ETO
11. Basil’s wife on “Fawlty Towers” SYBIL
12. Buddhism branch MAHAYANA
13. Company offering many promotions AD AGENCY
14. Mystery woman JANE DOE
22. Watches over MANAGES
24. Where an engineer may retire BERTH
25. Less forward SHIER
27. Artery problem POTHOLE
29. Bear fruit? CUB
32. Secretly unite ELOPE
34. Arrogant sort SNOOT
35. Beverage used in Chinese cuisine RICE WINE
36. Team member in “Moneyball” ATHLETIC
37. “Eldorado” group ELO
39. Soured WENT BAD
40. Part-human mythological creature DEMIGOD
44. Threat MENACE
46. Get cracking HASTEN
47. Ancient cacao bean traders AZTECS
49. TED talk subjects IDEAS
51. Encyclopedia Brown’s first name LEROY
53. Discretion TASTE
55. Italian tubes ZITI
56. Sera is a form of it ETRE
59. Tea holder CUP
60. Halting syllables ERS

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8 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 21 May 16, Saturday”

  1. LAT: This one took a lot of time with me thinking I couldn't get a foot into it, but for some reason fell pretty quickly an hour or so after looking at it (zero errors). Don't know why that happens or if it's a normal occurrence.

    WSJ: Pretty straightforward grid with few problems in solving it. My usual Natick-style errors (74A-61D, 109A-84D). But who knew it would be so hard to spell PARAPHERNALIA correctly? Kind of droll themers in this one that mostly went down first, which kind of makes the straightforwardness of this a knock.

    Sunday LAT: This is one that will frustrate those that especially hate the waterboarding of the English language, at least in my view. Highly unusual as of late for this to remain unsolved as it has been. But I'll get ample time to try and comment on it tomorrow.

  2. The Natickian quality of some the answers, such as the Yoga and Buddhism branches is going to cause me to engage in activity only found in crossword land: I am going to tope until stinko!

  3. I really liked some of the clues in this: Bear fruit? Certain Queens domain, & First instrument for many.

    It was hard but not as demoralizing as I find most Saturday puzzles.
    So happy Bill's grid is there to explain and check answers

    Happy weekend everyone!

  4. I too really liked this puzzle, but it also took me longer than usual. I had to look up 2 answers, but that was enough for me to finish. But technically DNF then. MAHAYANA might be the most impressive answer I've ever gotten completely by crosses. I had the same I/A dilemma Bill had where it crossed ADA, but I guessed A simply because it looked more correct. How's that for a scientific guess?

    Got a lot of the long answers quickly today, but HUSHED TONES took me a while because I kept wanting to put "pint" instead of HINT. Gives a HINT to where my head is…

    Interesting story about ADA Lovelace. I had no idea about any of that.

    Best –

  5. Great puzzle but DNF. Loved a lot of the clues: Bear fruit, Amusing editor, Slam offering, Fine after an accident, First instrument. Didn't like Where an engineer may retire.

    -Dirk

  6. Been a poet for 60 years and published one book of poems but have never heard of a "poetry slam". Guess I don't get around too much, right? "AUTOCORRECT" was too cutesy for me.

  7. YAY! FINISHED SUCCESSFULLY!! I'm sorry, Dirk — I'm in the lead 5 to 3 now (but who's counting…!!)
    I can't believe I got this thing. Very tough! Started earlier and came back to it a coupla times. Had LEROR right up till last call, and I'm glad I changed it. My Saturday approach is working: for now. I shouldn't be smug…I'll get trounced by the puzzle gods next week ?

    @anonymous poet: I've only been to one poetry slam and that's enough. I appreciate anyone's creative attempt, but there are so many mediocre writers out there, and I think they're easily found wherever there's a makeshift stage and a cheap microphone.

    When I played music I went to a lot of open mike nights. Most people paid little attention to the performers, just waiting until it was their own turn to get up and sing two songs. I had fun with it tho, and it was good practice. And they weren't slams.
    I always enjoy AUTOCORRECT suggestions. Just now, writing "and they," I guess I left out the space between the two words, and AUTOCORRECT wanted me to put ANESTHESIOLOGIST. LOL!!
    Be well~~®

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