LA Times Crossword Answers 14 Jul 2018, Saturday

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Constructed by: Andrew J. Ries
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 14s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Critical measurements in “Apollo 13” : AMPS

A major plotline in the 1995 docudrama “Apollo 13” concerns the restarting of the Command Module systems with only minimal power available.

“Apollo 13” is a great film, and supposedly one that is historically and technically accurate. The film is an adaption of mission commander Jim Lovell’s book “Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13”. I am going to have to put that book on my Christmas list …

14. Common pace for a slugger : TROT

That would be baseball.

22. Serious reading? : RIOT ACT

The Riot Act was a British law that was in force from 1715 to 1967. According to the Riot Act, government entities could declare any gathering of twelve or more people “unlawful”. Our expression “read the Riot Act to” is derived from the requirement for the authorities to read out the Riot Act proclamation to an unlawful assembly before the Act could be enforced.

24. B-complex vitamin : NIACIN

Niacin is also known as vitamin B3. A deficiency of niacin causes the disease pellagra. Pellagra is often described by “the four Ds”, the “symptoms” being diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia and death.

The B vitamins were originally thought to be just one vitamin, which was labeled vitamin B. It was then discovered vitamin B was in fact made up of eight distinct vitamins, which today are given distinct numbers (B1, B6, B12 etc). Supplements often contain a mixture of all eight, a combination known as vitamin B complex.

26. Old fad items packed in boxes with breathing holes : PET ROCKS

The Pet Rock lives on in history even though the fad really only lasted about 6 months, in 1975. It was enough to make Gary Dahl a millionaire though. His next idea, a “sand farm”, didn’t fly at all.

33. Convertible’s spot : DEN

That would be a convertible sofa, I think.

34. Help for ones seeing stars? : TELESCOPES

The first patent application for a telescope was filed in 1608 in the Netherlands to eyeglass maker Hans Lippershey. However, research has shown that there is some evidence that telescopes were built before 1608, perhaps as early as the mid-1500s. But it is clear that reports of Lippershey’s design spread quickly around Europe. By 1609, Galileo had built his own telescope and started to explore the night sky.

36. Macabre rock genre : DEATH METAL

Death metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music. Let me check for some death metal titles in my music collection here … nope … none …

38. Where odds are posted: Abbr. : OTB

Off-track betting (OTB) is the legal gambling that takes place on horse races outside of a race track. A betting parlor can be referred to as an OTB.

43. Negri of silents : POLA

Pola Negri was a Polish actress, and the first star to be invited from Europe to develop a career in Hollywood. Most of her success came in the silent era, but she was able to make the transition to the talkies. Her off-screen life attracted the attention of the gossip columnists who rejoiced in her affairs with the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino.

45. Starter starter? : HORS

An hors d’oeuvre is the first course in a meal. “Hors d’oeuvre” translates from French as “apart from the work”, really meaning “not the main course”.

46. “Nattering nabobs” veep : AGNEW

Vice President Spiro Agnew used the following lines in a speech to the California Republican state convention in 1970:

In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own 4-H Club — the ‘hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.’

Agnews’ “nattering nabobs of negativism” were members of the media.

Spiro Agnew served as Vice-President under Richard Nixon, before becoming the only VP in American history to resign because of criminal charges (there was a bribery scandal). Agnew was also the first Greek-American to serve as US Vice President as he was the son of a Greek immigrant who had shortened the family name from Anagnostopoulos.

50. Many a head shop garment : TIE-DYE

Paraphernalia used in the consumption of cannabis and tobacco are sold in retail outlets known as head shops.

53. Reddit VIP : MOD

Moderator (mod)

Reddit.com is a networking and news website that started up in 2005. It is essentially a bulletin board system with posts that are voted up and down by users, which determines the ranking of posts. The name “Reddit” is a play on “read it”, as in “I read it on Reddit”. One popular feature of the Reddit site is an online forum that is similar to a press conference. Known as an AMA (for “ask me anything”), participants have included the likes of President Barack Obama, Madonna, Bill Gates, Stephen Colbert and Gordon Ramsay. President Obama’s AMA was so popular that the high level of traffic brought down many parts of the Reddit site.

58. “Hello” balladeer : ADELE

“Hello” is a 2015 song by English singer Adele that won her three Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance.

61. Rich veins : LODES

A lode is a metal ore deposit that’s found between two layers of rock or in a fissure. The mother lode is the principal deposit in a mine, usually of gold or silver. “Mother lode” is probably a translation of “veta madre”, an expression used in mining in Mexico.

62. Medium skill : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

Down

1. __ skiing : ALPINE

Alpine skiing is also known as downhill skiing.

3. Round fabric pattern element : POLKA DOT

A polka dot pattern is one featuring an array of filled circles, usually of the same size and color. There doesn’t seem to be any connection between the name of the pattern and the polka dance, other than both the dance and the pattern gaining popularity around the same time, in the late nineteenth century.

5. Hunt in “Mission: Impossible” films : ETHAN

It was Tom Cruise’s idea to adapt the “Mission: Impossible” television series for the big screen, and it became the first project for Cruise’s own production company. Tom Cruise took on the starring role of Ethan Hunt, the point man for the Impossible Missions Force (IMF).

6. Brand with a leporine mascot : TRIX

Trix is a corn-based breakfast cereal that has been around since 1954, produced by General Mills. Ads for the cereal featured Trix Rabbit, who would try hard to get hold of bowls of the cereal. He would always get caught though, and be admonished with, “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!” With 46% sugar content, the rabbit probably wouldn’t have liked it anyway …

The adjective “leporine” means “resembling or relating to a hare or rabbit”. The term comes from the Latin “lepus” meaning “hare”.

10. Fastened anew, as a corset : RELACED

A corset is a close-fitting undergarment that is stiffened with a material such as whalebone. Corsets are more usually worn by women, to shape the body. The word “corset” is a diminutive of the Old French “cors” meaning “body”.

11. Sandwich component? : KNUCKLE

“Knuckle sandwich” is a slang phrase describing a punch in the mouth with a clenched fist.

12. “Boss of the Plains” apparel brand : STETSON

Boss of the Plains was a style of hat created by Hat manufacturer John B. Stetson in 1865. Stetson was from New Jersey, and set up his hat production business in Philadelphia. His focus was on the needs of cowboys and Western settlers, whose headwear at the time was generally impractical. The Boss of the Plains was lightweight, had a wide brim to protect from the sun, and was waterproof.

28. Smallest Battleship pieces : DESTROYERS

Battleship is a remarkably fun guessing game that I used to play as a child. Back then we would play it just using pencil and paper, although these days kids are more likely to play an electronic version of the game.

35. Looie’s underling : SARGE

A “looie” (lieutenant) has a higher rank than a “noncom” (noncommissioned officer) such as a “sarge” (sergeant).

37. Metaphor for a potential crisis : LAND MINE

A land mine is an explosive device that is usually buried just under the surface of the surface of the ground. The term “land mine” has its roots in the old practice of military “mining”, in which tunnels were dug under an enemy, and deliberately collapsed. Those military mines developed over the years until it was more common to fill the mine with explosives in order to create even greater destruction.

39. “The Wizard of Oz” plot twist–literally : TORNADO

In the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”, the tornado scene ended up costing more money than any other special effect in the whole film. The tornado itself was a 35′ tall muslin sock suspended from a gantry that could move the “twister” during the shoot. The bottom of the sock could also be moved, as it was attached to a rod below the sound-stage. Fuller’s earth was poured into the sock and was blown around by compressed air creating the dust storm effect, and hiding the muslin sock.

42. First artist whose first six albums debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 : BEYONCE

Beyoncé Knowles established herself in the entertainment industry as the lead singer with the R&B group Destiny’s Child. She launched her solo singing career in 2003, two years after making her first appearance as an actor. In 2006 she played the lead in the very successful movie adaptation of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls”. Beyoncé is married to rap star Jay-Z. She is also referred to affectionately as “Queen Bey”, a play on the phrase “the queen bee”.

44. Genetic variant : ALLELE

A gene is a section of a chromosome that is responsible for a particular characteristic in an organism. For example, one gene may determine eye color and another balding pattern. We have two copies of each gene, one from each of our parents, with each copy known as an allele.

50. Annoying sort : TWERP

“Twerp” and “pipsqueak” are both terms used for someone who is insignificant and contemptible.

52. Numbered work : OPUS

The Latin for “work” is “opus”, with the plural being “opera”. We sometimes also use the plural “opuses” in English.

56. __ Miss : OLE

“Ole Miss” is the nickname for the University of Mississippi. The name “Ole Miss” dates back to 1897, the first year a student yearbook was published. The graduating class held a competition to name the yearbook and “Ole Miss” emerged as the winner. The name stuck to the yearbook, and also as a nickname for the school itself. The University of Mississippi sports teams have been known as the Rebels since 1936. Prior to 1936, they were known as the Mississippi Flood.

57. “I. Am. Speechless.” : WOW

So am I …

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Critical measurements in “Apollo 13” : AMPS
5. “Yada, yada, yada”: Abbr. : ETC
8. They may be wrapped at restaurants : FORKS
13. China neighbor : LAOS
14. Common pace for a slugger : TROT
16. “__ you special” : AREN’T
17. In a big stack : PILED HIGH
19. Assessor’s decision : VALUE
20. Kind : ILK
21. Car wash option : WAX
22. Serious reading? : RIOT ACT
24. B-complex vitamin : NIACIN
26. Old fad items packed in boxes with breathing holes : PET ROCKS
27. Conclude with : END ON
28. Achieves : DOES
29. New job requirement, perhaps : RELO
30. “That makes sense” : GOOD REASON
33. Convertible’s spot : DEN
34. Help for ones seeing stars? : TELESCOPES
36. Macabre rock genre : DEATH METAL
38. Where odds are posted: Abbr. : OTB
41. Modern capture? : SCREENGRAB
43. Negri of silents : POLA
45. Starter starter? : HORS
46. “Nattering nabobs” veep : AGNEW
48. Track runners : TROLLEYS
50. Many a head shop garment : TIE-DYE
51. Don’t forget about : INCLUDE
52. Have in hand : OWN
53. Reddit VIP : MOD
54. One you usually don’t want to meet : MAKER
55. Makeshift branch hanger : ROPE SWING
58. “Hello” balladeer : ADELE
59. Miss a syllable or two, say : SLUR
60. Formerly : ONCE
61. Rich veins : LODES
62. Medium skill : ESP
63. Invader from below : WEED

Down

1. __ skiing : ALPINE
2. Sending out : MAILING
3. Round fabric pattern element : POLKA DOT
4. Compass dir. : SSE
5. Hunt in “Mission: Impossible” films : ETHAN
6. Brand with a leporine mascot : TRIX
7. Tooth not examined by a dentist : COG
8. Solid, in a request : FAVOR
9. Speaker : ORATOR
10. Fastened anew, as a corset : RELACED
11. Sandwich component? : KNUCKLE
12. “Boss of the Plains” apparel brand : STETSON
15. Golfing groups : THREESOMES
18. Gradually goes down : DWINDLES
23. “Come on in!” : IT’S OPEN!
25. Whispered sweet nothings : COOED
26. They take things the wrong way : POACHERS
28. Smallest Battleship pieces : DESTROYERS
31. Connected with : REACHED
32. Bottom-line positives : NET GAINS
35. Looie’s underling : SARGE
37. Metaphor for a potential crisis : LAND MINE
38. Best-case : OPTIMAL
39. “The Wizard of Oz” plot twist–literally : TORNADO
40. Denied access, on social media : BLOCKED
42. First artist whose first six albums debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 : BEYONCE
44. Genetic variant : ALLELE
47. Squeezed (in) : WEDGED
49. Casting array : LURES
50. Annoying sort : TWERP
52. Numbered work : OPUS
56. __ Miss : OLE
57. “I. Am. Speechless.” : WOW

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19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 14 Jul 2018, Saturday”

  1. LAT: 15:11, no errors. WSJ: 22:47, no errors.

    Newsday’s “Saturday Stumper”: unfinished (and, after two hours spent on it last night, barely begun)! Maybe it’s just me (as I did have kind of a trying day yesterday), but I think this outing from Erik Agard is the hardest puzzle I’ve encountered in several years. I intend to make a fresh start later and see what happens.

    1. Okay … so, after spending at least another two hours on it, I finished the “Saturday Stumper”, with no errors (and, of course, no cheating of any kind), for a total of at least four hours. I think being tired when I started it was at least part of the problem, but the cluing is indeed difficult (in a few places, to the point of being questionable). If others here do it, I’d be very interested in their opinions. In any case, I’m glad to have it in my rear view mirror. … 😜

      @Jeff … I joke a lot about wanting to win a WSJ mug, but, in truth, I don’t know what I’d do with it. Do you suppose I could sell on eBay for megabucks? … 😜

      1. @Dave
        I usually try these things, but you know the usual outcome. I haven’t spent that much time with it, so I’ll see if I can get more than the 4 entries I got now. Though, the last few days have been pretty busy, including today (still got a Thursday puzzle I haven’t done!), so I might not get that much time on it before my late week batch of NYT puzzles becomes available.

        @Jeff
        I’ve been trying for almost 3 years now on the WSJ contest, among others. I wonder a lot of times if they have mail/spam filters that preemptively delete my e-mail domain. Given the number of people that enter every week, it’s almost an illusory chance. But then again, if I did have one, I’d probably keep it. Or put it on my ebay shop – basic WSJ mugs are selling for $25 on there right now. Depends on whether they have a provision against resale of the crossword specific mug variety, since it’s a contest item and not technically for sale.

        1. @Dave
          I did about par for the course on the Newsday (DNF). I think it’s tougher than the last few, but nothing incredibly out of the park compared to average.

          1. Thanks, Glenn. I’ve more or less decided I was having a rough day. I did the puzzles late in the day after letting my son and grandson (and, to be honest, my own ego) convince me to tackle an amusement park thing that would have been easy for me 10 or 20 years ago, but was a bit too much for me now. Fun, but another eye-opener that I’m not the man I used to be. (At least I escaped with no injuries … 😁.)

  2. 20:59. Agree that this was a little easier than most Saturday grids. I did have a few missteps – SCREENshot and “omg” (before WOW) that I had to overcome.

    I’ve told this story here before, but I like it enough I’ll do it again. I had the pleasure of meeting Gene Kranz (the flight director for and Ed Harris character in Apollo 13) on a flight from Houston to Boston. He was going up for a signing of his book “Failure is Not an Option” (2000) at UMass – Boston. He stood up, it caught my attention, and I recognized him immediately. I introduced myself, shook his hand and continued to pick his brain for much longer than common courtesy should allow. He was as accomodating as could be and did confirm several lines from the movie.

    The next day I had to be in Boston, Rhode Island, and Hartford before heading back to Boston. I think it was the same day (or week?) as the Boston Marathon so getting around was tough. I managed to get a hard bound copy of his book signed just as the signing ended…. and that was eventually destroyed in the flood after Hurricane Harvey. Sigh.

    Best –

  3. Fairly easy Saturday, finished in about an hour with two errors. I had REACtED and POLu. The first problem was because I had RElAtED before the slightly better answer that I ended up with. I wavered between Pola/Polu and ended up with the wrong one.

    This was a funny puzzle that just filled in with bursts of answers after checking some crosses.

    Anyway, off to bed to get up really, really early – for me – for the WC final. Like both teams, so just looking for a good match 🙂

  4. Greetings y’all!! 🙃
    Fuzzle!! No errors on a relatively easy Saturday. Funny — felt proud at finishing a Saturday, but I just KNEW before coming here that I’d hear in many of the comments how easy it was….🙄 I did have SCREEN SHOT before GRAB but I fixed it pretty soon.

    Go Croatia!! 🇭🇷 I too will watch the world cup final, altho I’ll record it and watch after my book klub meeting. I’ll be greeting my guests thus: “HI!! If you know who won don’t tell me!!” 😊

    Dirk! I watched that TYGA video Jeez…Cruel and unusual punishment!! I like a LOT of music– I respect a lot of music that I may not care for — but this was PAINFUL!! 😣

    Be well ~~🌺🌼🌻

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