LA Times Crossword 8 Sep 18, Saturday

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Constructed by: Ryan McCarty
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 12m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Way to get up in Gotham : BATROPE

Batman and Robin are unique among their superhero compatriots in that they have no special powers, just a whole load of cool gadgets. Batman is sometimes referred to as the Caped Crusader, Robin as the Boy Wonder, and the pair as the Dynamic Duo.

“Gotham” had been a nickname for New York City long before it was picked up by comic books as a setting for Batman tales. The term was coined by Washington Irving in a periodical that he published in 1807. Irving was lampooning New York politics and culture, and lifted the name from the village of Gotham in Nottinghamshire, England. The original Gotham was, according to folklore, inhabited by fools.

8. Obeyed a laryngologist : SAID “AH”

The voice box or larynx is where pitch and volume of sound are manipulated when we talk. The structure called the Adam’s apple that protrudes from the human neck is formed by the thyroid cartilage that surrounds the larynx. The Adam’s apple of males tends to increase in size during puberty, so the feature tended to be associated more with males in days gone by, perhaps leading to the name “Adam’s” apple. A doctor specializing in treating the larynx is a laryngologist.

14. Ones on the left : LIBERALS

The concept of left-right politics started in France during the French Revolution. When members of France’s National Assembly convened in 1789, supporters of the King sat to the President’s right, and supporters of the revolution to the President’s left. The political terms “left” and “right” were then coined in the local media and have been used ever since.

18. Furniture wood named for its color : RED ELM

The slippery elm is a species of elm native to North America that is also known as the Red Elm. The inner bark of the slippery elm can used in a medicinal tea. Elm bark tea is said to ease a sore throat or irritated stomach.

20. Activewear shoe brand : AVIA

The Avia brand name for athletic shoes was chosen as “avia” is the Latin word for “to fly”, and suggests the concept of aviation. Avia was founded in Oregon in 1979.

22. Fig. targeted in some hacks : SSN

Social Security number (SSN)

24. Knight clubs : MACES

A mace is a relatively simple weapon in essence. It is a heavy weight on the end of a handle that is used to deliver powerful blows on an opponent’s body.

26. “Oye Como Va” songwriter Puente : TITO

After serving in the navy in WWII for three years, musician Tito Puente studied at Juilliard, where he got a great grounding in conducting, orchestration and theory. Puente parlayed this education into a career in Latin Jazz and Mambo. He was known as “El Rey” as well as “The King of Latin Music”.

“Oye Como Va” is a song written by Tito Puente in 1963. The best-known recording is the cover version by Santana released in 1970.

27. Superman and Supergirl : ETS

Kara Zor-El is Superman’s cousin, and is also known as Supergirl. Supergirl’s father and Superman’s father were brothers.

28. Crony of Captain Bildad, in “Moby-Dick” : PELEG

The Pequod is the ship that figures in Herman Melville’s classic novel “Moby-Dick”. The ship is owned by a consortium of the citizens of Nantucket Island, including Captains Ahab, Bildad and Peleg.

The full title of Herman Melville’s novel is “Moby-Dick; or, The Whale”. Note that the convention is to hyphenate “Moby-Dick” in the title, as that was how the book was first published, in 1851. However, there is no hyphen in the name of the whale “Moby Dick” as reproduced throughout the text.

29. Jaguar spot? : CAR AD

Auto manufacturer Jaguar started out as a manufacturer of sidecars for motorcycles back in 1922, when the company was known as the Swallow Sidecar Company (SS for short). The company changed its name to Jaguar after WWII, because of the unfortunate connotations of the letters “SS” in that era (i.e. the Nazi paramilitary organization).

30. 2014 title role for Mia Wasikowska : MADAME BOVARY

Madame Bovary” is 2014 film adaptation of the 1856 novel of the same name by Gustave Flaubert. The title character is played by Australian actress Mia Wasikowska.

“Madame Bovary” is the most famous novel written by Gustave Flaubert. The title character is a doctor’s wife named Emma Bovary, who lives a luxurious life beyond her means and has many adulterous affairs. The novel had a rousing reception, first being attacked by public prosecutors as obscenity, which I am sure later helped it to become a bestseller.

Mia Wasikowska is an Australian actress. Wasikowska’s breakthrough role was playing the title character in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010. The only movie I’ve seen her in though is 2011’s “Jane Eyre”, a pretty good adaptation of the Charlotte Brontë classic, I thought …

35. Onetime members of the Winnebago Nation : OTOES

The Winnebago people of Nebraska takes their name from the Fox River that flows below what is now called Lake Winnebago in eastern Wisconsin. The muddy water of the river led to the people nearby being named “winepyekoha” in the Potawatomi language, which translates as “person of the dirty water”.

40. Pickup line? : RAMS

Chrysler put ram hood ornaments on all of its Dodge branded vehicles starting in 1933. When the first line of Dodge trucks and vans were introduced in 1981, they were named “Rams” in honor of that hood ornament.

41. River critter : OTTER

Male and female otters are known as dogs and bitches, with the offspring called pups. Males and females are are sometimes referred to as boars and sows. A collection of otters is a bevy, family, lodge or perhaps a romp. When in water, a collection of otters can be called a raft.

42. Pair of British puzzles? : ZEDS

The letter named “zed” has been around since about 1400, and derives from the Greek letter zeta. The spelling and pronunciation “zee”, used in America today, first popped up in the 1670s. The spelling and pronunciation “zed” is still used in Britain and Ireland.

There is a pair of letters Z (zee) in the word “puzzles”.

43. Minolta Maxxum, e.g. : SLR

Single-lens reflex camera (SLR)

Minolta was a Japanese manufacturer of cameras and related products. Minolta was founded in 1928 to make cameras using imported German technology. One of the company’s most memorable products was the world’s first integrated autofocus 35mm SLR camera. Minolta merged with Konica in 2003, forming Konica Minolta.

44. “Dragonwyck” novelist Seton : ANYA

“Anya Seton” was the pen name of Ann Seton, an author of historical romances from New York City. Seton’s 1944 novel “Dragonwyck” was released into theaters in 1946 and starred Gene Tierney and Walter Huston.

45. Film with Manny the Mammoth : ICE AGE

“Ice Age” is a 2002 animated film that has spawned a whole series of movies: “Ice Age: The Meltdown” (2006), “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” (2009) and “Ice Age: Continental Drift” (2012).

51. Offers? : HITMEN

A hitman might off (kill) his mark.

52. They’re free of charge : NEUTRONS

The neutron is a subatomic particle with no charge that was discovered by British physicist James Chadwick in 1932.

53. Disc golf starting point : TEE PAD

Disc golf is also known as Frisbee golf, and sometimes even Frolf. Believe it or not, disc golf predates the introduction of the Frisbee. The first game was played at a school in Bladworth, Saskatchewan in 1926. The participating schoolkids threw tin lids into circles drawn on a course they created in the school grounds. They named the game “Tin Lid Golf”.

54. WikiLeaks editor : ASSANGE

Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks, the website that is notorious for publishing information that governments and individuals would rather remain secret. Assange is currently in England and lost an appeal to avoid extradition to Sweden to face charges of sexual assault. Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London seeking political asylum in 2012. He was granted that asylum and now lives at the embassy.

Down

7. Drug company founder Lilly : ELI

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.

8. One-piece garments : SARIS

The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

9. Bailiwick : AREA

“Bailiwick” is a word dating back to the mid-1600s. The term originally meant “district of a bailiff”.

11. Second section of Verdi’s “Requiem” : DIES IRAE

“Dies Irae” is Latin for “Day of Wrath”. It is the name of a famous melody in Gregorian chant, one that is often used as part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.

13. Sacred song collection : HYMNODY

The singing and composition of hymns is known as hymnody. The “hymnody” is also used for a collection of hymns.

15. Tomorrowland attraction : SPACE MOUNTAIN

Space Mountain is a roller coaster that’s a little unusual in that it is located indoors. Riders get to experience the thrills in the dark.

21. Australian food spread : VEGEMITE

Vegemite is a spread made from spiced-up brewers’ yeast extract. I’m told that it resembles Marmite, a spread that I used to eat as a kid back in Ireland. I’m also told that Vegemite has a flavor similar to beef bouillon.

26. Smiley formerly of PBS : TAVIS

Tavis Smiley was the host of his own talk show “Tavis Smiley” on PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service) and “The Tavis Smiley Show” on PRI (Public Radio International). PBS suspended Smiley indefinitely in 2017 in the wake of accusations of sexual misconduct with subordinates.

34. Soup often served with sour cream : BORSCHT

Borscht is a beetroot soup that originated in Ukraine. Borscht can be served both hot and cold.

39. Sub-Saharan menace : TSETSE

The tsetse fly is responsible for the transmission of sleeping sickness, and is also responsible for transmission of trypanosomiasis, a disease caused by a parasitic protozoan.

42. Eyeball-bending critter : ZEBRA

The term “zebra” comes from an old Portuguese word “zevra” meaning “wild ass”. Studies of zebra embryos show that zebras are basically black in color, with white stripes that develop with growth. Before this finding, it was believed they were white, with black stripes.

50. Org. featured in TV’s “Weeds” : DEA

“Weeds” is a Showtime television series that originally aired from 2005 to 2012. “Weeds” is a comedy-drama about a mother of two who has to turn to growing and selling marijuana to support her family after her husband dies.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Way to get up in Gotham : BATROPE
8. Obeyed a laryngologist : SAID “AH”
14. Ones on the left : LIBERALS
16. In a showy way : ARTILY
17. Aptly named barbell brand : IRON GRIP
18. Furniture wood named for its color : RED ELM
19. “Hah!” : TOLD YA!
20. Activewear shoe brand : AVIA
22. Fig. targeted in some hacks : SSN
23. Humble abodes : HUTS
24. Knight clubs : MACES
26. “Oye Como Va” songwriter Puente : TITO
27. Superman and Supergirl : ETS
28. Crony of Captain Bildad, in “Moby-Dick” : PELEG
29. Jaguar spot? : CAR AD
30. 2014 title role for Mia Wasikowska : MADAME BOVARY
32. Works that are up and down? : TRAGICOMEDIES
34. Where some get sloshed at sea? : BOOZE CRUISES
35. Onetime members of the Winnebago Nation : OTOES
36. Put to rest : INTER
37. Put up : BET
40. Pickup line? : RAMS
41. River critter : OTTER
42. Pair of British puzzles? : ZEDS
43. Minolta Maxxum, e.g. : SLR
44. “Dragonwyck” novelist Seton : ANYA
45. Film with Manny the Mammoth : ICE AGE
47. Escape __ : CLAUSE
49. “Yeah, right” : I DOUBT IT
51. Offers? : HITMEN
52. They’re free of charge : NEUTRONS
53. Disc golf starting point : TEE PAD
54. WikiLeaks editor : ASSANGE

Down

1. Buoyant : BLITHE
2. Ventilate : AIR OUT
3. Hardware with crosspieces : T-BOLTS
4. Rips : RENDS
5. Frenzied revelry : ORGY
6. Accident scene arrival : PARAMEDIC
7. Drug company founder Lilly : ELI
8. One-piece garments : SARIS
9. Bailiwick : AREA
10. “__ better be good!” : IT’D
11. Second section of Verdi’s “Requiem” : DIES IRAE
12. League’s best : ALL-STARS
13. Sacred song collection : HYMNODY
15. Tomorrowland attraction : SPACE MOUNTAIN
21. Australian food spread : VEGEMITE
25. Eagerness : ALACRITY
26. Smiley formerly of PBS : TAVIS
28. House helpers : PAGES
29. One with app-titude? : CODER
30. Confusing tourist attractions : MAZES
31. “Don’t kid around!” : BE SERIOUS!
32. Real whopper : TOTAL LIE
33. Hotel door posting : ROOM RATE
34. Soup often served with sour cream : BORSCHT
37. Pummel : BEAT ON
38. Bed border : EDGING
39. Sub-Saharan menace : TSETSE
41. Without stopping : ON END
42. Eyeball-bending critter : ZEBRA
44. Between ports : ASEA
46. Stops shooting : CUTS
48. Masked worker, perhaps : UMP
50. Org. featured in TV’s “Weeds” : DEA

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11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 8 Sep 18, Saturday”

  1. LAT: 19:29, no errors, but I struggled with the three long horizontal entries in the center. Newsday: 35:15, no errors; not too difficult. WSJ: 30:03, no errors; as usual, my least favorite puzzle of the week (mostly because the PDF seems to be formatted for a legal-size sheet of paper, so that, when printed on a letter-size sheet, it shrinks enough to be very difficult to read).

  2. LAT: Well over an hour but finished it. Didn’t know much at all at the start, but after a few hits things started to gel. Even so, I often spent time trying to figure out how the answer fit the clue. “Hitmen” for “Offers” was a real doozy. A great, challenging puzzle!

  3. LAT: 21:02, no errors. Much easier than yesterday. WSJ: 35:33, 6 errors. Annoying as usual. Newsday: 43:08, no errors.

    @Jeff, @others
    To address your question about yesterday’s puzzle, there are in fact quality considerations that come into play with most puzzles. These quality issues are fair game to talk about – no one is “attacking the constructor” in any way when this happens. The editor is the one that usually determines such things in making the choice to run something. Those quality considerations are (by and by) why this puzzle is catching so much ire. The theme is what makes or breaks most puzzles and this one pretty much broke this puzzle.

    17-A. [Skin tone achieved via pure will?] – SELFMADETAN.
    24-A. [Ballet performance on skis?] – SLATDANCE.
    37-A. [TV show destined for early cancellation?] – BROADCASTTEDIUM.
    51-A. [Horse chatter?] – STALLTALK.
    62-A. [Lame justification for the letter substitution in four puzzle answers?] – EMPTYEXCUSE.

    1. Let’s start with the revealer. How does that lead to the thought of a T to M substitution? One can eventually figure it out, but it’s not that intuitive. Furthermore, there are other more suitable possibilities there that use the word “EMPTY” in some way.

    2. There’s not a good logical lead-in between the clues and the answers (when I use the word “nonsense” in describing a puzzle, this is what I usually mean). 24-A and 62-A fit the description – and is why 24-A was brought up so much yesterday. How does the clue equate to the answer on that one? Can it be explained with it making complete sense?

    3. While you are right that substitution themes are common-place, this one was inconsistently executed. Note that in well executed substitution themes, only one letter has a possibility of being switched. For 37-A and 51-A, there are two Ts. Why is one and not the other switched? Why aren’t both switched?

    While crossword puzzles are generally the antithesis of crisp clear communication, there are general boundaries, and IMO those got crossed in that puzzle.

    1. @Glenn –
      I stand by my comments yesterday. The puzzle and the theme are fine. You’re welcome to dislike it, if it makes you happy

  4. Several stops and starts but it was at least an hour but more lmportantly no errors unlike that rediculous NYT 0804.
    Car ad had me till the end as did bat rope

  5. 24:18. The bottom went considerably faster than the top. Several missteps up top, and I think by the bottom I was more used to this setter’s sense of humor. I would call this a clever puzzle.

    “Offers” for HIT MEN wins the prize of the day.

    Best –

  6. Ran out of steam a bit over an hour. Had about 20 errors with most in the NW and SW corners. Peeked at BATROPE, PAGES and BORSCHT and was able to finish with no further troubles.

    Had MADAMEBOVARY and …COMEDIES and …CRUISES

    At least I got LIBERALS without any help! I would have liked “Offers” for HITMEN if I would’ve gotten it.

  7. Hi every buddy!!🙃

    No errors on an excellent Saturday puzzle. Last to fall was the D in CAR AD!! Didn’t know HYMNODY and finally had to run the alphabet to get it….luckily D means I only had to go four letters in. 🐆

    Re yesterday’s “Concert souvenir” = TEE: FWIW, I STILL have a tee shirt from Elton John’s concert at the Hollywood Bowl, and that concert took place exactly 45 years ago yesterday, on September 7, 1973!!!😮 I was 15!! Magical night. During his encore Elton tossed tee shirts out to the audience and i got one!! 😄 Our parents drove us there and picked us up afterwards— hard for me to imagine now.

    Be well~~🎼

    1. Carrie, if you would like to relive that very night go to google. The entire concert on 9/7/73 is waiting for you. (Elton John Hollywood Bowl 1973)😎🎤🎼🎹

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