LA Times Crossword 1 Dec 18, Saturday

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Constructed by: Frederick J. Healy
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 16m 58s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • GREATS (treats!)
  • EKBERG (Ekbert!)

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Early Greek lyric poet : SAPPHO

Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet born on the Greek island of Lesbos. Sappho was much admired for her work, although very little of it survives today. She was renowned for writing erotic and romantic verse that dealt with the love of women as well as men. It was because of this poetry that the word “lesbian” (someone from Lesbos) is used to describe a gay woman.

15. Respectful bow : SALAAM

The word “salaam” is an Anglicized spelling of the Arabic word for “peace”. The term can describe an act of deference, and in particular a very low bow.

18. Eastern religion : SHINTO

It is perhaps best not to describe Shinto as a religion, but more as a “spirituality of the Japanese people”, a spirituality that encompasses folklore, history and mythology. Having said that, “Shinto” translates literally as “Way of the gods”. Most people in Japan who are described as practicing Shinto, also practice Buddhism.

19. Novak Djokovic’s org. : ATP

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is an organization that looks out for the interests of male tennis professionals. The equivalent organization for women is the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

Novak Djokovic is a Serbian tennis player and former world No. 1 ranked player. Djokovic is quite the character on and off the court, earning him the nickname “Djoker”. He is also very popular on the talk-show circuit, all around the world. It helps that Djokovic is fluent in several languages.

23. Memorable Gregory Peck role : AHAB

Captain Ahab is the obsessed and far from friendly captain of the Pequod in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick”. The role of Captain Ahab was played by Gregory Peck in the 1956 John Huston film adaptation. Patrick Stewart played Ahab in a 1998 miniseries in which Peck made another appearance, as Father Mapple.

Gregory Peck was an iconic Hollywood actor, who hailed from La Jolla, California. Peck was recognized as a great actor as soon as he starting film acting in 1944. He was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for “The Keys of the Kingdom” (1944), “The Yearling” (1946), ‘Gentleman’s Agreement” (1947) and “Twelve O’Clock High” (1949). Peck finally won his Academy Award with the fifth nomination, for playing Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962).

27. California’s __ Verdes Peninsula : PALOS

The Palos Verdes Peninsula is part of the vast metropolis of Los Angeles. The peninsula’s shoreline is home to what’s left of a freighter called the Dominator, which ran aground there in 1961.

29. ’70s radical gp. : SLA

The Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) was founded in 1973 by an escapee from the prison system, Donald DeFreeze. The group’s manifesto promoted the rights of African Americans although, in the 2-3 year life of the group, DeFreeze was the only black member. Famously, the SLA kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst in 1974. Hearst apparently fell victim to what is called the Stockholm syndrome and became sympathetic to her captors’ cause. She joined the SLA and assumed the name “Tania”.

30. Singer Stefani et al. : GWENS

Gwen Stefani is the lead singer for the rock band No Doubt. She joined the band in 1986, focused on a solo career from 2004-2008, but is now back singing and working with No Doubt.

34. Scrooge types : CHEAPSKATES

The classic 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has left us with a few famous phrases and words. Firstly, it led to popular use of the phrase “Merry Christmas”, and secondly it gave us the word “scrooge” meaning a miserly person. And thirdly, everyone knows that Ebenezer Scrooge uttered the words “Bah! Humbug!”.

35. Fruity treat : BANANA SPLIT

The banana split was created in Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 1904. This particular sundae was the idea of David Stickler, a young apprentice pharmacist at the Tassel Pharmacy’s soda fountain.

36. Jazz guitarist Herb : ELLIS

Herb Ellis was a jazz guitarist who in the 1950s was a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio.

37. Terre dans la mer : ILE

In French, an “île” (island) is “terre dans la mer” (land in the sea).

38. Wetland birds : TERNS

Terns are a family of seabirds. They are similar to gulls, but more slender and more lightly built. Many species of tern are known for their long-distance migrations, with the Arctic tern migrating so far that it is believed to see more daylight in a year than any other animal.

42. Caffeine-rich seed : KOLA

The nut of the kola tree has a bitter taste, and is loaded with caffeine. Despite the taste, the nut is habitually chewed in some cultures, especially in West Africa where the tree is commonly found in the rainforest. Here in the US we best know the kola nut as a flavoring used in cola drinks.

43. 1960 Random House acquisition : KNOPF

The publishing house Alfred A. Knopf was founded in 1915 and is based in New York City. Knopf places a distinctive emblem on the title page of the books that it publishes. That emblem is a borzoi dog shown in silhouette.

The Random House publishing house was founded in 1925 by Donald Klopfer and the marvelous Bennett Cerf of TV’s “What’s My Line”. Apparently, Klopfer and Cerf originally resolved to “publish a few books on the side at random”, and hence came up with the name “Random House”.

46. Web crawler, e.g. : BOT

A bot is computer program that is designed to imitate human behavior. It might crawl around the Web doing searches for example, or it might participate in discussions in chat rooms by giving pre-programmed responses. It might also act as a competitor in a computer game.

47. Hit the skids : GO TO POT

The phrase “go to pot”, meaning “fall into ruin”, has been around since the 1500s. Back then, it really meant go to (the) pot, i.e. be chopped up and boiled for food.

The term “skid row” is used to describe a run-down urban neighborhood. “Skid row” appears to have originated in the Pacific Northwest where a “skid road” was a wooden pathway used for “skidding” logs through forests and over bogs. The terms “skid road” and “skid row” came to be used for logging camps and mills, and then somehow was applied to run-down areas in cities up and down the west coast of North America. The related term “hit the skids”, meaning “fall into ruin”, has the same etymology, and embraces the concept of logs moving rapidly downhill on skids in a skid road.

49. Pressure meas. : PSI

Pounds per square inch (PSI) is a measure of pressure.

50. Designer Pucci : EMILIO

Emilio Pucci was an Italian fashion designer from Florence. Pucci had served as a torpedo bomber pilot during WWII for the Italian Air Force.

52. Traditional Dixie dessert : PECAN PIE

“Dixie” is a nickname sometimes used for the American South, and often specifically for the original 11 states that seceded from the Union just prior to the Civil War. It’s apparently not certain how the name “Dixie” came about. One theory is that it comes from the term “dixie” which was used for currency issued by banks in Louisiana. The 10-dollar bills had the word “dix” on the reverse side, the French for “ten”. From the banknote, the French speaking area around New Orleans came to be known as Dixieland, and from there “Dixie” came to apply to the South in general.

55. Reptile named for the warning sound it makes : RATTLER

The scales covering the tip of a rattlesnake’s tail are made of keratin, the same structural protein that makes up the outer layer of human skin, as well as our hair and nails. The rattlesnake shakes its tail vigorously to warn off potential predators, causing the hollow scales to vibrate against one another and resulting in that scary “rattle” sound. The rattler’s tail muscles “fire” an incredible fifty times a second to achieve that effect, demonstrating one of the fastest muscular movements in the whole animal kingdom.

57. Death Star “super” weapons : LASERS

In the “Star Wars” universe, a Death Star is a huge space station that is the size of a moon. A Death Star is armed with a superlaser that can destroy entire planets.

Down

1. Award-winning ESPN writer/reporter Jeremy : SCHAAP

Jeremy Schaap is a sportswriter and Emmy-winning TV reporter. At the 2005 Emmys, he won the Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Writing, an award named after Jeremy’s father, who was also a respected sportswriter.

2. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s first female inductee : ARETHA

I think Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, had a tough life. Franklin had her first son when she was just 13-years-old, and her second at 15. In 2008, “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked Franklin as number one in their list of the greatest singers of all time.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame can be visited on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was created in 1983 and started inducting artists in 1986. The Foundation didn’t get a home until the museum was dedicated in Cleveland in 1995. I had the great privilege of visiting the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago and really enjoyed myself. The magnificent building was designed by famed architect I. M. Pei.

3. Check alternative : PAYPAL

PayPal is an e-commerce business that has been around since the year 2000, born out of a merger of two older companies: Confinity and X.com. PayPal performs payment processing for online vendors. The company was so successful that it was the first of the beleaguered dot.com companies to successfully complete an IPO after the attacks of 9/11. Then in 2002, PayPal was bought by eBay for a whopping $1.5 billion.

4. Many a GI : PVT

The lowest military rank of soldier is often called “private” (pvt.). The term 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.

5. Old Ritz rival : HI-HO

Sunshine Biscuits was an independent producer of cookies and crackers that produced Hi-Ho crackers in competition to the successful Ritz brand. In 1996, Sunshine was absorbed by the Keebler Company and Hi-Ho Crackers was on the list of brands that was discontinued because of the merger.

7. Lamb product : ESSAY

Charles Lamb was an essayist and poet from England. Lamb’s best-known works are “Essays of Elia” (1823) and “Tales from Shakespeare”, an 1807 children’s book that he co-authored with his sister Mary Lamb.

8. Memorable lion suit wearer : LAHR

Bert Lahr’s most famous role was the cowardly lion in “The Wizard of Oz”. Lahr had a long career in burlesque, vaudeville and on Broadway. Lahr also starred in the first US production of Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot”, alongside Tom Ewell.

9. 2001 biopic : ALI

“Ali” is a 2001 biographical movie about Muhammad Ali, with Will Smith in the title role. Among other things, the film is noted for its realistic fight scenes. The scenes were realistic because Smith was really being hit, as hard as his opponents could manage.

10. Burro’s baskets : PANNIERS

Panniers are baskets or bags that are carried in pairs, one on either side of a beast of burden or a vehicle such as a motorcycle. The term “pannier” comes from the Old French “panier” meaning “bread basket”. The idea is that a pannier would often be used to carry bread (“pain”, in French) and other provisions.

Our word “burro” meaning donkey comes from the Spanish word for the same animal, namely “burrico”.

11. Former GM cars : SATURNS

Saturn was a brand of automobile introduced by General Motors (GM) in 1985. The Saturn line was GM’s response to the increase in sales of Japanese imports, and was initially set up as a relatively independent division within the company. Saturn had its own assembly plant, and its own network of retailers.

17. Programmer’s problem : ENDLESS LOOP

An infinite or endless loop is a set of instructions in a computer program that repeats continuously because of a lack of a terminating condition. Such loops can cause a computer to freeze.

21. McCormick offering : BLACK PEPPER

McCormick is a manufacturer and distributor of spices and seasonings. The business was founded in Baltimore in 1889 by 25-year-old Willoughby McCormick, who initially operated out of a single room and a cellar, and sold his products door-to-door.

24. Gulf of __: Baltic Sea arm : BOTHNIA

The Gulf of Bothnia is the most northerly part of the Baltic Sea, and is located between Finland to the west and Sweden to the east.

The Baltic is a sea in northern Europe that is much less saline than the oceans. The lower amount of salt in the Baltic partially explains why almost half of the sea freezes over during the winter. In fact, the Baltic has been known to completely freeze over several times over the past few centuries.

28. Trees whose fruit yields a moisturizing butter : SHEAS

Shea butter is a common moisturizer and lotion used as a cosmetic. It is a fat that is extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. There is evidence that shea butter was used back in Cleopatra’s Egypt.

33. Bryan’s “Malcolm in the Middle” role : HAL

The actor Bryan Cranston is best known today for playing Walter White in the crime drama “Breaking Bad”. Prior to joining that incredibly successful show, Cranston play Hal in the sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle”. He also had a recurring role on “Seinfeld” from 1994 to 1997, as Jerry’s dentist Dr. Tim Whatley.

I’ve never actually sat down and watched the TV comedy “Malcolm in the Middle”. It ran on Fox from 2000 to 2006. Malcolm was played by Frankie Muniz, who gave up acting to pursue a career in motor racing.

35. 19th-century women’s rights advocate Amelia : BLOOMER

Amelia Bloomer was a 19th-century women’s right advocate. Bloomer proposed a change in the dress standards for women so they would be less restricted in movement. In particular, she advocated the use of loose trousers gathered at the ankles, worn under a short skirt. The outfit became known as “the Bloomer Costume” and the pants were termed “Bloomers”, which is a word that we use to this day.

36. “La Dolce Vita” actress : EKBERG

Anita Ekberg is a Swedish model and actress, famous for her role on the big screen in the 1960 Fellini film “La Dolce Vita”. You might remember Ekberg cavorting in the Trevi Fountain in Rome in one famous scene, with the male lead, Marcello Mastroianni.

The title of the celebrated 1960 Federico Fellini film “La Dolce Vita” translates from Italian as “The Good Life”. There is a character in the film called Paparazzo who is a news photographer. It is this character who gives us our word “Paparazzi”, a term used for photographers who make careers out of taking candid shots of celebrities.

41. “M*A*S*H” actor David Ogden __ : STIERS

David Ogden Stiers was an actor best known for playing Major Charles Winchester III on the TV show “M*A*S*H”. Stiers was also quite the musician, and spent many of his later years as conductor of the Newport Symphony Orchestra in Newport, Oregon.

43. Screwballs : KOOKS

“Kooky” is a slang word meaning “out there, crazy”. The term has been around since the beatnik era, and it may be a shortened version of the word “cuckoo”.

The original screwball was a delivery in the sport of cricket. That term “screwball” was imported into baseball in the 1920s, and applied to an erratic baseball pitch. By the 1930s, a screwball was an eccentric and erratic person.

47. Prepared (oneself) for action : GIRT

“Girt” is the past participle of “to gird”.

The phrase “gird your loins” dates back to Ancient Rome. The expression describes the action of lifting “one’s skirts” and tying them between the legs to allow more freedom of movement before going into battle. Nowadays, “gird your loins” (or sometimes just “gird yourself”) is a metaphor for “prepare yourself for the worst”.

51. A.L. West team, in crawl lines : LAA

The Anaheim Angels baseball team are today more correctly called the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (LAA). The “Angels” name dates back to 1961 when the team was founded in the “City of Angels”, Los Angeles. When the franchise moved to Anaheim in 1965 they were known as the California Angels, then the Anaheim Angels, and most recently the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim. The Angels are also known as “the Halos”.

53. Some Windows systems : NTS

Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, 8 and 10; they’re all based on the Windows NT operating system. There is a common perception that Windows NT (WNT) takes its name from VMS, an earlier operating system developed by Digital Equipment Corporation. “WNT” is what’s called a “Caesar cypher” of “VMS”, as you just augment the letters of VMS alphabetically by one to arrive at WNT. Bill Gates disputes this derivation of the name, and in a 1998 interview stated that the NT originally stood for N-Ten and that the marketing folks at Microsoft revised history by changing it to “New Technology”.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Early Greek lyric poet : SAPPHO
7. Roll by : ELAPSE
13. Strong desire : CRAVING
15. Respectful bow : SALAAM
16. Friendly greeting : HEY THERE
18. Eastern religion : SHINTO
19. Novak Djokovic’s org. : ATP
20. Place to gas up for free? : OPEN BAR
22. Beer __ : NUT
23. Memorable Gregory Peck role : AHAB
25. How work may be done near a deadline : MADLY
26. Drain : TIRE
27. California’s __ Verdes Peninsula : PALOS
29. ’70s radical gp. : SLA
30. Singer Stefani et al. : GWENS
31. Reception for champions : THREE CHEERS
34. Scrooge types : CHEAPSKATES
35. Fruity treat : BANANA SPLIT
36. Jazz guitarist Herb : ELLIS
37. Terre dans la mer : ILE
38. Wetland birds : TERNS
42. Caffeine-rich seed : KOLA
43. 1960 Random House acquisition : KNOPF
45. Wild way to run? : RIOT
46. Web crawler, e.g. : BOT
47. Hit the skids : GO TO POT
49. Pressure meas. : PSI
50. Designer Pucci : EMILIO
52. Traditional Dixie dessert : PECAN PIE
54. Comment : REMARK
55. Reptile named for the warning sound it makes : RATTLER
56. Stars : GREATS
57. Death Star “super” weapons : LASERS

Down

1. Award-winning ESPN writer/reporter Jeremy : SCHAAP
2. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s first female inductee : ARETHA
3. Check alternative : PAYPAL
4. Many a GI : PVT
5. Old Ritz rival : HI-HO
6. Afternoon hr. : ONE PM
7. Lamb product : ESSAY
8. Memorable lion suit wearer : LAHR
9. 2001 biopic : ALI
10. Burro’s baskets : PANNIERS
11. Former GM cars : SATURNS
12. Doesn’t act well : EMOTES
14. Stage makeup staple : GREASEPAINT
17. Programmer’s problem : ENDLESS LOOP
21. McCormick offering : BLACK PEPPER
24. Gulf of __: Baltic Sea arm : BOTHNIA
26. Modern poster : TWEETER
28. Trees whose fruit yields a moisturizing butter : SHEAS
30. Catch on : GET IT
32. Bolted : RAN
33. Bryan’s “Malcolm in the Middle” role : HAL
34. Use a certain two-handed signal : CALL TIME
35. 19th-century women’s rights advocate Amelia : BLOOMER
36. “La Dolce Vita” actress : EKBERG
39. Flow in small waves : RIPPLE
40. More inclined to pry : NOSIER
41. “M*A*S*H” actor David Ogden __ : STIERS
43. Screwballs : KOOKS
44. Kind of point : FOCAL
47. Prepared (oneself) for action : GIRT
48. “Catch ya later” : TA-TA
51. A.L. West team, in crawl lines : LAA
53. Some Windows systems : NTS

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31 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 1 Dec 18, Saturday”

  1. LAT: DNF, 31:54, 1 error, the completely messed up upper left undone. Either all Natick crossings and in the case of 2D and 3D, poorly edited as well, causing me to not even be able to guess at any of it. Worst grid I remember seeing in the LAT for a Saturday, ever. Sad in a way, as the rest of the grid was pretty fun, save the Natick at 22A-10D which caused the error.

    WSJ: 46:53, no errors. Difficult. Newsday: DNF, 33:01, 6 errors. The usual questionable cluing endemic to late week grids, but mostly not too bad.

    Got about half of yesterday’s Croce done, we’ll see if I manage to finish it…

  2. LAT: 17:18, no errors. The upper left took some time, but mostly because I’d never heard of Mr. “SCHAAP” and, at first, I couldn’t remember Mr. Djokovic’s area of expertise.

    Newsday’s “Saturday Stumper”: 32:11, no errors; for me, a relatively easy one except for the entire upper left corner, where I got stuck for about ten minutes. (Oddly enough, I then got interrupted by a fifteen-minute phone call, during which I stopped the clock; when I returned, all issues had resolved themselves and I finished in another three minutes.)

    WSJ: 28:32, no errors; a relatively easy squint-fest except that I’d never encountered the concept of a “FARM TEAM” or a French word meaning “square” (but a medical exam came to the rescue).

    Always a relief to have the Saturday puzzles in my rear-view mirror … 😜.

    @Jeff … I’m expecting a full report about “extra añejo” tequila! … 🤪

  3. Tough puzzle but messed up only two letters at the intersection of Palos, Bothnia, and Shias. Didn’t know a whole lot of clues, did a lot of guessing, and ended up better than I had thought I would.

    1. This crossword stinks as there is no pleasure when the clues are bad and the solutions so difficult. I suppose Frederick Healy feels good about himself when he can stump the masses rather offer a pleasurable challenge.

  4. This grid would have flowed much more smoothly had I not first written in “S Loren” instead of Ekberg for 36 Down. And another self induced wound was my overly confident inking in of SDS for 29 Across. Having been a young adult during that era I should have recalled that the Students for a Democratic Society were much more a 60’s rather than a 70′ s phenomena. But finally finished without any errors.

  5. I found this to be so vaguely clued as to be impossible. Even the crosses were so “could-be-anything” that it quickly became an exercise in frustration and futility. DNF, obviously; less than half, in fact.

    1. The old “It ain’t just me” feeling will have to be my consolation prize for wasting my time on this joyless hot mess of a puzzle. Worst LAT Saturday puz since I don’t know when.

  6. With all of these negative comments, I guess I should feel proud of myself for completing the puzzle with no errors. Take that, Bill! Clearly it is not always such for me, but I really am tired of the “sour grapers”. There is no God-given right to find every puzzle a cinch. Sometimes they’re just harder!

    1. I agree. I found this one relatively easy once I got going. Only had to look up Schaap and Elbert, which is good going for me on a Saturday. Some Saturdays have been much harder than this. Finished in under an hour! Pleased with myself.

  7. 23:25 with a large asterisk next to that time. I cheated down in the lower left when I didn’t know BLOOMER, EMILIO or EKBERG (i.e. I looked up EKBERG and EMILIO). I also had one amusing error – PANgIERS crossing Beer gUT – in the upper right. I’m a fan of Jeremy SCHAAP as well as his father, Dick SCHAAP, so the upper left was ok.

    I don’t mind being defeated by one of these puzzle every once in a while. Some people finish them so they aren’t impossible. I see it as just a learning experience and my crossword abilities (such as they are) being stretched. What’s wrong with that? No one grades these. This won’t give me a bad grade on my report card that will keep me from getting into college. Just my take on puzzle like these. Now if this happened daily…..

    I even know where the word BLOOMERS comes from now. Also liked the tidbit on David Ogden Stiers.

    Dave –
    I’ll commence with my extra anejo research when I arrive in Puerto Vallarta on Tuesday…

    Best –

  8. Ugh. Where to start? This PPP* fest is simply awful.
    To say that half the answers were PPPs would be an exaggeration, but not a wild one.
    Start at, say, the very beginning with 1A and 1D and continue with the whole damn NE quadrant … SAPPHO, HIHO, PALOS, and on and on, from AHAB to ARETHA, and ATP (huh?), despite the marvelous clue tip Novak Djokoviv (who?).
    Head counterclockwise ’til you’re disgusted, and exhausted from wrestling with the likes of EKBERG and ELLIS. And LAA. And BLOOMER, and … never mind. And never mind the cluing, which warrants a screed of its own. I won’t continue this venting marathon.
    Except to say😏, the next time I see Mr. Healy’s byline and imagine him with a stack of old People magazines, TV guides, maps, and dusty reference works and textbooks, I definitely won’t GIRT; I’ll grab my KOLA nuts and run.

    * People/Products/Places and other proper nouns.

    1. You obviously have no clue regarding sports or popular culture. While this is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s likewise no reason to cast aspersions, however subliminally, at those of us who have such knowledge! I’m sure you’re a whiz at theater and obscure French films, but please stop the petty carping. It’s just a puzzle! By the way, I think you meant you definitely won’t GIRD.

  9. 45 min. and one error(two by Bills standard) I had gut for nut .
    A ton of references to “my notes”
    I kind of agree with the consensus. Egos sometimes get the best of us all including puzzle makers

  10. I struggled only completing about 60 or so percent. I had a hunch my day of reckoning was near after completing every puzzle this week except todays brain buster.
    Eddie

  11. I knew there was no way I could figure the whole thing w/o crosses, so I Googled when needed – 6 times. SCHAAP, ATP, CALLTIME, and non-sports: STIERS (always hated that show), BOTHNIA (someone has a lithp?), KNOPF.

    Had “amok” before RIOT, Pfc before PVT.

    @Jeff – love BEERgUT.

  12. Wow! After reading these posts, I think I know what it was like to be in Anchorage during the recent earthquake! … 🤪

  13. Someone pointed out elsewhere that there’s 16 occurrences of double letters in this grid (as in “AA” in “SCHAAP”). I can’t think that this was coincidence. So like any other grid where the constructor attempts something at the cost of a solvable grid, it’s likely as was said that “Egos sometimes get the best of us all including puzzle makers”.

    1. “Egos sometimes get the best of us all including puzzle makers”.

      Or perhaps “Egos, like grapes, get sour when bruised.”

      1. Well said, Tony! … 😜

        My ego is a little bruised right now (or it’s about to be): I have had a love/hate relationship with sudokus ever since they came out. I can do them, but apparently I’m as slow as molasses in January. (I even wrote a Fortran program to do them; I always joke that I did it so that I would never again have to do one myself, and I’m not entirely kidding.) Recently, I started doing a few again (in the vain hope that I might have gotten better), but an old climbing buddy and I compared solve times and he’s doing them six times faster than I am! So we’re going to get together and compare techniques, and my guess is that he can look at a sudoku and somehow understand it in a gestalt way that I cannot.

        Each of us has a particular set of strengths and weaknesses and I think it’s wise to accept them for what they are … 😳.

  14. Tough 1.5 hr slog with – miraculously – only 2 errors. I fizzled with “Memorable Gregory Peck role” where I chose rHAm…as, I dunno, a shortened Rhamses, since it wasn’t memorable for me. I’ve read ESPN occasionally during the World Cup, but never really noted the writer’s names, so SCHArP seemed reasonable. In retrospect, with _HA_, I really should have gotten Ahab.

    Also had to change Sds to SLA, amO_ to RIOT, EMeLIO and GIRd. Fortunately I knew Panniers, since I had bought some for my motorcycle, and Anita Ekberg and Paypal among other key clues. Didn’t know Ellis or Bloomer, but when Call Time and Remark finally appeared, they just seemed to fit.

    Okay, it took a while but it mostly came together. Fortunately the paper finally arrived today and I wasn’t tempted by the on-line red letters.

  15. People!!! Cool it!!😞
    I didn’t mind this puzzle, tho no, I couldn’t finish it without cheating. Got about 75% done….yet I disagree that this was poorly edited or too obtuse for a Saturday.

    Anonymous, are you a man? ARETHA and SAPPHO were gimmes for me, and I’ve at least heard of Amelia BLOOMER (tho I still needed crosses to complete that one.) Of course, it shouldn’t matter whether one is male or female — some knowledge of accomplished women should be commonplace, IMO. Therefore, these answers are NOT out of place for a Saturday. And we all have different information that we draw on.

    There were many items here that I DIDN’T know, but that’s to be expected on the LAT’s most difficult day….AND IT’S A PUZZLE!! IT’S NOT A TEST!!!

    Whatevs….

    Be well~~🍻

  16. I agree but I don’t think too many humans on the planet can solve this puzzle without guessing at a few answers. So I am either a DNF or finish with a bunch of errors. Honestly I won’t bother wasting more than a certain amount of time on a puzzle because it just becomes unsatisfying.

    The problem is that you are not going to find too many people who know (off the top of their head) all of :
    SAPPHO
    Jeremy SCHAAP
    Amelia BLOOMER
    Gulf of BOTHINA
    EMILIO Pucci
    PALOS Verdes Peninsula
    David Ogden STIERS
    Herb ELLIS
    Novak Djokovic is a tennis player
    and that Gregory Peck played AHAB
    and a bunch of other intersprinkled stuff (McCormick !)
    So there will be a lot of guessing and filling !!

    1. You’ll find NO ONE who knows them all. It’s a puzzle!
      And it doesn’t seem necessary to tear apart every bit of it AND lambast the constructor, as some earlier commenters did.

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