LA Times Crossword Answers 12 May 2018, Saturday

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Constructed by: Greg Johnson
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14. Inventory evaluation acronym : LIFO

In the world of accounting, inventory might be managed on a FIFO or LIFO basis. FIFO stands for first-in, first-out. LIFO stands for last-in, first-out.

17. Mtn. stats : ALTS

Altitude (alt.)

18. Superstitious warning : DON’T JINX IT

A jinx is a charm or a spell, and the word “jinx” comes from an older word “jyng” from the 17th-century. A “jyng” was another word for the wryneck, a type of bird much used in witchcraft.

22. Word in Montana’s motto : ORO

“Oro y Plata” means “gold and silver”, and is the state motto of Montana. The motto was written in Spanish, solely because “it had a nice ring to it”.

23. Pre-Columbian stoneworker : INCA

The Inca people emerged as a tribe around the 12th century, in what today is southern Peru. The Incas developed a vast empire over the next 300 years, extending along most of the western side of South America. The Empire fell to the Spanish, finally dissolving in 1572 with the execution of Tupac Amaru, the last Incan Emperor.

24. Apollo’s place : HARLEM

The Apollo Theater in the Harlem district of Manhattan, New York was opened in 1914 as Hurtig and Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater. The original facility was a whites-only venue. When it was opened to African Americans in 1934, the name was changed to the Apollo.

25. Word with window or rum : BAY …

A bay window is a window that projects outside, beyond the wall. The resulting space inside the wall forms a “bay” inside a room.

Bay rum is a distillate from rum and the leaves of the Indian bay tree that is used as a cologne or aftershave. Bay rum has been used since the 16th century, initially by sailors in the West Indies who found that it masked the natural “scent” they exuded after months at sea. Initially it was just the dry leaves that was used on the skin, and then the leaves were soaked in rum to extract the essential oils.

26. Beach bird : GULL

Gulls are a family of seabirds that is most closely related to terns. Some species of gull can be quite clever. For example, they can reportedly use pieces of bread as a bait to catch goldfish in ponds. Others can be quite fearless, and have been known to land on the backs of whale and peck out pieces of flesh.

31. Want-ad letters : EEO

“Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

41. Phi-psi link : CHI

The Greek letter “chi” is the one that looks like our letter X.

50. Sneak : WEASEL

To weasel out of something is to back away from a prior commitment. The association of weasels with the concept of not being trusted might have arisen from the behavior in which a weasel sucks out the contents of an egg while leaving the shell virtually intact.

52. Phnom __ : PENH

Phnom Penh (also “Pnom Penh”) is the capital of Cambodia, and has been so since the French colonized the country in the late 1800s. The city’s name translates from the Khmer language as “Hill of Penh”.

53. Single dose? : DAT

Inn the vernacular, “dis” (this) and “dat” (that) might be described collectively as “dose” (those).

55. Bush 43, for one : EX-GOVERNOR

Future president George W. Bush declared his bid for the governorship of Texas in 1994, at the same that his brother Jeb Bush started his first campaign to become governor of Florida. George W. won his race, whereas Jeb had to wait another four years.

59. Spaghetti Western director Sergio : LEONE

Sergio Leone was an Italian film director, and someone very much associated with the genre known as “Spaghetti Westerns”. Perhaps most famous of Leone’s westerns were the so-called “Man with No Name” trilogy that starred Clint Eastwood. The three films are:

  • “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964)
  • “For a Few Dollars More” (1965)
  • “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966)

62. Vicks brand : SINEX

Vicks Sinex is a nasal decongestant with the active ingredient Oxymetazoline. Oxymetazoline is a little scary to me. Although it opens up nasal passages effectively, excessive use can lead to dependence in which the nasal passages remain blocked without further doses of the drug.

63. Page with views : OP-ED

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

64. Sailing group : TARS

A jack tar, or just “tar”, was a seaman in the days of the British Empire. The term probably arose due to a sailor’s various uses of tar back then, including waterproofing his clothes and using tar in his hair to slick down his ponytail.

Down

2. Specialized painting surface : OILPAPER

Oilpaper is paper that has been treated with oil so that it is translucent and waterproof.

4. German wine valley : MOSEL

In Germany, there are thirteen regions that are officially defined as producers of “quality wines”. The best known of these regions is Mosel, which takes its name from the Moselle River. Mosel is the most prestigious region, but only the third largest in terms of production. And most of that production comes from the Riesling grape.

5. Billboard #1 song in 1975 and 2001 : LADY MARMALADE

“Lady Marmalade” is a song that was most famously recorded by Labelle in 1975. A 2001 cover version by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink was also very successful, released from the soundtrack of the film “Moulin Rouge!”. The song is noted for its suggestive chorus “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?”, which translates from French as “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?”

6. Mil. address : APO

Army post office (APO)

7. Vader enemy : KENOBI

Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the more beloved of the “Star Wars” characters. Kenobi was portrayed by two fabulous actors in the series of films. As a young man he is played by Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, and as an older man he is played by Alec Guinness.

Darth Vader is (to me) the most colorful antagonist in the “Star Wars” universe. Born as Anakin Skywalker, he was corrupted by the Emperor Palpatine, and turned to “the Dark Side”. IN the original films, Darth Vader was portrayed by English bodybuilder David Prowse, and voiced by actor James Earl Jones. Jones asked that he go uncredited for the first two “Star Wars” films, feeling that his contributions were insufficient to warrant recognition. I disagree …

10. Lesser component of “The Legend of Zelda,” say : MINIGAME

“The Legend of Zelda” is a video game. Apparently, it’s very successful …

19. “Let every heart prepare him room” song : JOY TO THE WORLD

“Joy to the World” is a very popular Christmas carol that dates back to the early 1700s. The hymn’s lyrics were written by Isaac Watts and are based on lines in the Bible’s Book of Psalms and Book of Genesis. The music for the version that we hear most often today was composed by Lowell Mason in the mid-1800s.

21. Greek goddess of the harvest : DEMETER

In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest. Her Roman equivalent is Ceres.

29. Mata Hari portrayer : GRETA GARBO

Famously, Greta Garbo lived a life of seclusion in New York City after she retired from the entertainment business. Commentators often associated her need for privacy with a line she uttered in the great 1932 movie “Grand Hotel”. Her character Grusinskaya the Russian ballerina said, “I want to be alone (…) I just want to be alone”.

“Mata Hari” is a 1931 film starring Greta Garbo in the title role. “Mata Hari” was a huge hit for MGM, and for Garbo. It is usually given the credit for popularizing the legendary stories surrounding the exotic dancer and WWI spy.

“Mata Hari” was the stage name used by Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, born in the Netherlands in 1876. After an unsuccessful and somewhat tragic marriage, Zella moved to Paris in 1903 where she struggled to make a living. By 1905 she was working as an exotic dancer and using the name Mata Hari. She was a successful courtesan, notably moving in various circles of high-ranking military officers. She apparently worked as a double agent, both for the French and the Germans. When Mata Hari was accused by the French of passing information to the enemy, she was tried, found guilty and executed by firing squad at the height of WW1, in 1917.

35. Tribe that sold horses to Lewis and Clark : SHOSHONE

The Shoshone Native American tribe comprises four cultural groups:

  • The Eastern Shoshone in Wyoming
  • The Northern Shoshone in southeastern Idaho
  • The Western Shoshone in Nevada and northern Utah
  • The Gosiute in western Utah and eastern Nevada

One of the more celebrated Shoshone people was Sacagawea, the woman who traveled thousands of miles with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, serving as a guide and interpreter.

38. Nocturnal travel guide : POLE STAR

Because the orientation of the Earth’s axis shifts, albeit very slowly, the position of north relative to the stars changes over time. The bright star that is closest to true north is Polaris, and so we call Polaris the “North Star” or “Pole Star”. 14,000 years ago, the nearest bright star to true north was Vega, and it will be so again in about 12,000 years time.

44. Former Soviet premier Kosygin : ALEXEI

Alexei Kosygin was leader of the Soviet Union after Nikita Khrushchev. He served during the Cold War from 1964 to 1980. Kosygin resigned from office in October of 1980, and was succeeded by Nikolai Tikhonov. Kosygin’s retirement was prompted by poor health, and indeed, he passed away just two months after stepping down.

46. Hand-wiping item : WET NAP

Wet nap is a term commonly used for a “wet wipe”, a manufactured paper tissues that comes pre-moistened. They are often provided after a meal at some restaurants after a finger-food dish, or perhaps as a refresher on an airplane. I think the “nap” is short of “napkin”, and that “Wet-Nap” is a brand name.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Bubbly stuff : FOAM
5. Skiing venue : LAKE
9. “Got it, man!” : I’M HIP!
14. Inventory evaluation acronym : LIFO
15. Very top : APEX
16. Babysitter, maybe : NIECE
17. Mtn. stats : ALTS
18. Superstitious warning : DON’T JINX IT
20. Quick : SPEEDY
22. Word in Montana’s motto : ORO
23. Pre-Columbian stoneworker : INCA
24. Apollo’s place : HARLEM
25. Word with window or rum : BAY …
26. Beach bird : GULL
27. One with secrets to tell : SPY
28. Some judicial officials : MAGISTRATES
31. Want-ad letters : EEO
32. Get one’s signals crossed, say : ERR
33. Creative writing assignment : POEM
34. Assurance of honesty : TRUST ME
36. “That’s a little better” : IT HELPS
40. Forced-air system output : HEAT
41. Phi-psi link : CHI
42. Astounded reaction : OOH!
43. Workplace dispute negotiator : LABOR LAWYER
47. When repeated, a football chant : OLE!
48. Cry of dismay : ALAS!
49. What candles may represent : AGE
50. Sneak : WEASEL
52. Phnom __ : PENH
53. Single dose? : DAT
54. Most unusual : ODDEST
55. Bush 43, for one : EX-GOVERNOR
58. Kitchen addition? : -ETTE
59. Spaghetti Western director Sergio : LEONE
60. Cry out loud : BAWL
61. An earring may be shaped like one : PEAR
62. Vicks brand : SINEX
63. Page with views : OP-ED
64. Sailing group : TARS

Down

1. Undesirably rapid hardening of concrete : FLASH SET
2. Specialized painting surface : OILPAPER
3. Words spoken with a gentle hand gesture : AFTER YOU
4. German wine valley : MOSEL
5. Billboard #1 song in 1975 and 2001 : LADY MARMALADE
6. Mil. address : APO
7. Vader enemy : KENOBI
8. Loaded with heat : EXTRA SPICY
9. Pasta ending : -INI
10. Lesser component of “The Legend of Zelda,” say : MINIGAME
11. Six-sided fastener : HEX NUT
12. Winter hangover? : ICICLE
13. Flower girl’s tossings : PETALS
19. “Let every heart prepare him room” song : JOY TO THE WORLD
21. Greek goddess of the harvest : DEMETER
29. Mata Hari portrayer : GRETA GARBO
30. Brought back to work : REHIRED
35. Tribe that sold horses to Lewis and Clark : SHOSHONE
37. Leaves in a chest : LOOSE TEA
38. Nocturnal travel guide : POLE STAR
39. Stray protection : SHELTERS
43. Places for pins : LAPELS
44. Former Soviet premier Kosygin : ALEXEI
45. Hit hard : BANG ON
46. Hand-wiping item : WET NAP
51. Well-rehearsed : ADEPT
56. Bug : VEX
57. Be behind : OWE

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18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 12 May 2018, Saturday”

  1. LAT: 52 minutes, 1 semi-dumb error. Weird grid, but my usual problem with the harder ones as it took about 25 minutes of that to even get a start on that grid. Weird again that it almost played like a themed grid, in terms of the number of words (68) being pretty high in comparison to the usual. WSJ: 32:33, no errors. About as routine one can get with one of these grids.

  2. LAT: Upper left particularly hard but solvable. One letter wrong, so two clues missed (just a bit): the first o in oro. Entered an a instead. Still feel good because I finished in under an hour.

  3. LAT: 22:52, no errors. I actually zipped through most of this puzzle in what seemed like record time and then came to a dead stop for several minutes in the upper left, where FLASH SET and OIL PAPER were new to me and it took me forever to think of MOSEL (which should have been a gimme).

    WSJ: 28:05, with one stupid error. Early on, I misread a clue, scratched my head, shrugged, and moved on, leaving a square unfilled … and I never went back to fix it. The Saturday WSJ is actually my least favorite puzzle of the week. In the first place, it’s intrinsically a bit of a slog; moreover, I print it out from the PDF they provide on Friday afternoon and the lay-out is such as to waste a lot of paper, reducing both the squares of the grid and the clues to a size that makes them hard to read. (If I waited until Saturday morning, I could print a better version from the PUZ file on “crosswordfiend.com”, but I’m an impatient old man. So I guess it’s my fault, huh? … ?)

    Newsday’s Saturday Stumper: 39:27, no errors, and a bit easier than usual.

  4. LAT: 22:52, no errors. Finished most of it in short order, but got hung up for a long time in the upper left, where FLASH SET and OIL PAPER were new to me and MOSEL took forever to come to mind.

    WSJ: 28:05, but with an error: Early on, I misread a clue, scratched my head, left one square blank, and never went back to fix it. I must say that the Saturday WSJ is my least favorite puzzle of the week. It tends to be a bit of a slog and if, like me, you print a copy from the PDF that comes out Friday evening, what you get is a version that wastes a lot of paper, squeezing the squares of the grid and the clues down to a size that makes them hard to read. (If I waited until Saturday morning, I could use a PUZ version from “crosswordfiend.com” to create a better PDF, but I’m an impatient old man … ?.)

    Newsday’s Saturday Stumper: 39:27, no errors, and a bit easier than usual.

  5. @Bill … I have made two previous attempts to post comments this morning, and both disappeared without a trace. Is there a problem with the site?

    1. @Dave Kennison
      I’m not exactly sure why your comments didn’t appear, although I can tell you that they were indeed nabbed by my spam protector. I’m not sure why that happened, but I’ve “unspammed” them in the hope that doing so will prevent similar messages being treated the same way. Apologies, Dave.

      1. Thanks, Bill … I’m going to do a couple of experiments to see if I can figure out what it was that caused my messages to be treated as spam (but I will do it on last week’s blog so as to avoid any further posts here).

      2. And … posting a copy of one of this morning’s failures to last week’s blog seemed to work just fine, so … end of experiment, for the moment … maybe Murphy was working overtime this morning … ?

  6. Okay … since the above post made it, let me make a third try:

    LAT: 22:52, no errors. I zipped through most of this puzzle and then got hung up for a long time in the upper left, where FLASH SET and OIL PAPER were new to me and it took me forever to remember MOSEL (which should have been a gimme).

    WSJ: 28:05, but with an error: Early on, I misread a clue, scratched my head, left one square blank, moved on, and never went back to fix the problem. The Saturday WSJ is actually my least favorite puzzle of the week: at best, it tends to be a bit of a slog and if, like me, you print it from the PDF they provide on Friday afternoon, you get a version that wastes a lot of paper, squeezing the squares of the grid and the clues down to a size that makes them difficult to read. I could download a PUZ version from another site on Saturday morning and make a better PDF from that, but I’m an impatient old man … 🙂 .

    Newsday’s Saturday Stumper: 39:27, no errors, and a bit easier than usual.

    1. @Bill … I just did a test which seems to indicate that what prevented my first two versions of the above post from getting through was a reference to a particular web site. I speculate that the reference was triggering some kind of spam filter. The reference was to “crosswordfiend(dot)com”. Is there an easy way to determine which site references will work and which won’t?

    2. >you print it from the PDF they provide on Friday afternoon, you get a version that wastes a lot of paper

      The WSJ Saturday puzzle is laid out to be printed on legal sized paper (8.5″x14″) for some odd reason. Scrunch it down 3 inches, and you get what was described.

      Newsday Saturday was my usual: 3 or 4 isolated entries, no start on the grid and me throwing the print out in frustration.

  7. @Bill … The only difference I can see between the two versions of the above post that didn’t make it and the one that did is that, in the third, I removed a reference to “crosswordfiend.com” (replacing it with “another site”). I’m sending this to see it perhaps that reference was triggering some kind of spam filter.

  8. I had trouble with the NW also. Tried ‘cola’ & ‘soda’ and never thought of ‘foam’. But got though the rest without too much blood on the paper!

  9. 31:02. I guess we all had our sticky spots in this one. The SE gave me the most trouble. I also thought I was sunk when I saw I had to get 2 songs on those long down answers. But I remembered JOY TO THE WORLD and just guessed from the letters LADY MARMALADE…although at first I thought that cannot possibly be right.

    The Soviet Premier bifurcated its powers. Lenin and Stalin were premieres but around 1960 it was the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet who really ruled the Soviet Union. Brezhnev (twice), Chernyenko, Andropov, Gromyko and eventually Gorbachev had that title.

    Packing today getting ready for the full move on Tuesday. I don’t know if I’ll get to the NYT today or tonight. I had to do Thursday and Fridays last night just to get caught up.

    Best –

  10. Tough Saturday for me; got everything in the West and most of the middle, but lots of gaps in the SE and some in the NE. Gave up after an hour + a bit.

    At least everything that I’d filled in was correct, except rHo, which should have been CHI.

    Had to quit since I finally got my Game of Thrones season 7 DVD set from the library and I want to watch some of it tonight.

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