LA Times Crossword 5 Jan 19, Saturday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 23s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14. Teacher and student in one : AUTODIDACT

An autodidact is someone who is self-taught. The term “autodidact” comes from the Greek “autos” meaning “self” and “didaktos” meaning “taught”.

19. Red-and-white hat wearer : SANTA

The Santa Claus with whom we are familiar today largely comes from the description in the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, and from the 1863 caricature created by the political cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast is also responsible for locating Santa’s workshop at the North Magnetic Pole, a fact that he revealed to the world in a series of drawings in 1879.

22. Weed-gathering org. : DEA

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

We’ve been using the term “weed” to mean “marijuana” since the 1920s. Centuries prior to that, we started using “weed” for “tobacco”.

26. Rich beverage : NOG

It’s not really clear where the term “nog” (as in “eggnog”) comes from although it might derive from the word “noggin”, which was originally a small wooden cup that was long associated with alcoholic drinks.

35. Snow __ : WHITE

“Snow White” is a traditional German fairy tale that was published in 1812 in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. There is also a second, very different Grimms’ Fairy Tale called “Snow-White and Rose-Red”, not to be confused with its more famous cousin. In the latter tale, Snow-White and Rose-Red are sisters who get into trouble with a dwarf, but are rescued by a bear who turns into a prince.

37. Word from the Arabic for “friend” : SAHIB

“Sahib” is readily recognized as a term of address used in India, where it is used in much the same way as we use “mister” in English. The term was also used to address male Europeans in the days of the British Raj. The correct female form of address is “sahiba”, but in the colonial days the address used was “memsahib”, a melding of “ma’am” and “sahib”

40. Homophone for a word of permission : ALOUD

“Aloud” sounds like “allowed”.

42. Deceive on the ice : DEKE

A deke, also known as a dangle, is a technique used to get past an opponent in ice hockey. “Deke” is a colloquial shortening of the word “decoy”.

43. “Being so great, I have no __ to beg”: “King Richard II” : NEED

“King Richard the Second” is a play by William Shakespeare that explores the final two years of the life of King Richard II of England.

46. Timon of “The Lion King,” e.g. : MEERKAT

The meerkat (also called a “suricate”) is a mongoose-like mammal that is native to parts of Africa including the Kalahari and Namib Deserts

Timon and Pumbaa are a pair of characters in Disney’s 1994 animated film “The Lion King”. Timon is a meerkat, and was voiced by the great Nathan Lane. Pumbaa is a warthog, and was voiced by Ernie Sabella.

51. USN bigwig : ADM

Admiral (adm.)

53. Unskilled workers : PEONS

A peon is a lowly worker who has no real control over his/her working conditions. The word “peon” comes into English from Spanish, in which language it has the same meaning.

58. Hippie era activity : BE-IN

Just before 1967’s “Summer of Love” in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, a Human Be-In was held in the city’s Golden Gate Park. The Be-In is described as a “happening”, a gathering triggered by a new state law banning the use of LSD. The term “Human Be-In” is a play on “humanist sit-in”.

63. Strike zone, at times : LANE

That would be bowling.

64. Where love doesn’t conquer anything : TENNIS GAME

In tennis the score of zero is designated as “love”. Some people believe that this usage originates from the French “l’oeuf” (meaning “the egg”). The idea is that the written character “0” looks like an egg.

Down

1. Their 1943 manual said, “Be Ready To Take Over” : WACS

The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed in 1942, and the unit was converted to full status the following year to become the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). I like a quotation from the front of the WAC physical training manual from 1943: “Your Job: To Replace Men. Be Ready To Take Over.” Famously, General Douglas MacArthur referred to the WACs as his “best soldiers”, saying they worked harder, complained less and were better disciplined than men. The WACs were disbanded in 1978 and the serving members were integrated into the rest of the army.

2. Entertainment with swaying : HULA

The hula is a native dance of Hawaii that uses arm movements to relate a story. The hula can be performed while sitting (a noho dance) or while standing (a luna dance).

5. Cartoonist with an Edgar Award : ADDAMS

Chas Addams was a cartoonist. Addams didn’t draw a cartoon strip but rather individual cartoons, although many of his cartoons did feature regular characters. His most famous characters were the members of the Addams Family, who were published in single-panel cartoons between 1938 and 1988 in “The New Yorker”. The Addams Family moved onto the small and big screens starting in 1964.

The Edgar Allan Poe Awards (the Edgars) are presented annually by the Mystery Writers of America. There are several categories of awards. For example, the Ellery Queen Award honors “writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry”. The Raven Award is presented to non-writers, who contribute to the mystery genre.

6. Podium fixture : MIC

“Podium” (plural “podia”) is the Latin word for “raised platform”.

7. Tokyo, long ago : EDO

“Edo” is the former name of the Japanese city of Tokyo. Edo was the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate, a feudal regime that ruled from 1603 until 1868. The shogun lived in the magnificent Edo Castle. Some parts of the original castle remain and today’s Tokyo Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor of Japan, was built on its grounds.

10. Patsy : SAP

“Sap” is slang for “fool, someone easily scammed”. The term arose in the early 1800s in Britain when it was used in “saphead” and “sapskull”. All these words derive from “sapwood”, which is the softwood found in tree trunks between the bark and the heartwood at the center.

The etymology of the word “patsy” meaning “fall guy” isn’t really understood. One colorful theory suggests that the term comes from an 1890s vaudeville character named Patsy Bolivar. Patsy always got the blame when something went wrong.

24. Ornamental shrubs : YEWS

The family of trees and shrubs known as yews propagate by producing a seed surrounded by soft, sweet and brightly colored aril. Birds eat the fruit and then disperse the seed in their droppings. The birds leave the seed undamaged, and so are unharmed by the potent poisons taxine and taxol that are found within the seed. The seeds are highly toxic to humans.

25. Common chord : TRIAD

A triad is a group of three, and specifically in music is a chord is made up of three notes.

27. ’60s music conspiracy theory : PAUL IS DEAD

As every conspiracy theorist worth his or her salt knows, Paul McCartney of the Beatles died in 1966, and was then replaced with a look-alike (and who was also, apparently, a “play-alike”). McCartney (presumably the fake one) poked fun at the urban legend by using the title “Paul is Live” for a 1993 live album. The cover of that album contains many references to the “Paul is dead” conspiracy theory.

28. Dating clarification : ANNO DOMINI

The designations Anno Domini (AD, “year of Our Lord”) and Before Christ (BC) are found in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The dividing point between AD and BC is the year of the conception of Jesus, with AD 1 following 1 BC without a year “0” in between. The AD/BC scheme dates back to AD 525, and gained wide acceptance soon after AD 800. Nowadays a modified version has become popular, with CE (Common/Christian Era) used to replace AD, and BCE (Before the Common/Christian Era) used to replace BC.

29. Smooth shift : SEGUE

A segue is a transition from one topic to the next. “Segue” is an Italian word that literally means “now follows”. It was first used in musical scores directing the performer to play into the next movement without a break.

31. IBM’s __ exhibit : THINK

“THINK” is a slogan that longtime IBM head Thomas J. Watson first used in 1911 while he was employed by the National Cash Register Company. Watcon brought the slogan with him to Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (later known as “IBM”) in 1914. “THINK” is now an IBM trademark, and it was used for IBM’s ThinkPad line of laptops. Many say that the Apple’s 1997 slogan “Think different” was a response to IBM’s “THINK”.

32. Like some big entrées : SHAREABLE

“Entrée” means “entry” in French. An entrée can be something that helps one get “a way in”, an interview for example perhaps helped along by a recommendation letter. In Europe, even in English-speaking countries, the entrée is the name for the “entry” to the meal, the first course. I found the ordering of meals to be very confusing when I first came to America!

38. Drones, e.g. : BEES

Drone bees and ants are fertile males of the species, whose sole role in life seems to be to mate with a queen.

41. 1856 Stowe novel : DRED

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s most famous and most successful work is “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. It was also her first novel. Her second was published in 1856: “Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp”.

47. Meal : REPAST

Our word “repast”, meaning “meal”. came to us via French (in which language “repas” is “meal”). Ultimately the term comes from the Latin “repascere” meaning “to repeatedly graze”.

54. Cartesian connection : ERGO

The great French philosopher Rene Descartes made the famous statement in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum”. This translates into French as “Je pense, donc je suis” and into English as “I think, therefore I am”.

Anything pertaining to the philosophy of the great Rene Descartes can described by the adjective “Cartesian”.

55. Name of five Norwegian monarchs : OLAV

Of the many kings of Norway named Olaf/Olav (and there have been five), Olaf II is perhaps the most celebrated, as he was canonized and made patron saint of the country. Olaf II was king from 1015 to 1028 and was known as “Olaf the Big” (or “Olaf the Fat”) during his reign. Today he is more commonly referred to as “Olaf the Holy”. After Olaf died he was given the title of “Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae”, which is Latin for “Norway’s Eternal King”.

56. Northwestern U.S. city : NOME

In 1899, the Alaska city of Nome was briefly known as Anvil City by locals to avoid confusion with the nearby city of Cape Nome. However, the US Post Office refused to approve the change, and so the name was immediately changed back to Nome.

61. 23andMe test subject : DNA

23andMe was the first company to offer direct-to-consumer genetic testing, doing so in 2007. Initially, 23andMe offered a test that determined a subject’s predisposition to a list of specific genetic traits, including baldness and blindness. The company now offers a cost-effective ancestry DNA test as well.

62. Frequently complex traffic pattern: Abbr. : CIR

Circle (cir.)

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. “Everything is ruined!” : WHAT A MESS!
10. Felipe’s assent : SI SI
14. Teacher and student in one : AUTODIDACT
16. On __ streak : A HOT
17. Gray day feature : CLOUD COVER
18. Buds : PALS
19. Red-and-white hat wearer : SANTA
20. Units : ONES
22. Weed-gathering org. : DEA
23. “Put your wallets away” : MY TREAT
26. Rich beverage : NOG
27. They need receivers : PASSERS
30. A parade may require one : DETOUR
32. Well-judged : SANE
33. Word before stand or hold : WITH-
35. Snow __ : WHITE
36. Mounted, in a way : HUNG
37. Word from the Arabic for “friend” : SAHIB
39. Unemployed : IDLE
40. Homophone for a word of permission : ALOUD
42. Deceive on the ice : DEKE
43. “Being so great, I have no __ to beg”: “King Richard II” : NEED
44. Cattle drive figures : RIDERS
46. Timon of “The Lion King,” e.g. : MEERKAT
48. Panamanian pronoun : ESO
49. Back : ENDORSE
51. USN bigwig : ADM
52. Bad lot : DOOM
53. Unskilled workers : PEONS
58. Hippie era activity : BE-IN
60. Site for old wheels : USED CAR LOT
63. Strike zone, at times : LANE
64. Where love doesn’t conquer anything : TENNIS GAME
65. Remove an apostrophe from, say : EDIT
66. It may be the best thing to do when you’re stuck : START OVER

Down

1. Their 1943 manual said, “Be Ready To Take Over” : WACS
2. Entertainment with swaying : HULA
3. Very much : A TON
4. Praise extravagantly : TOUT
5. Cartoonist with an Edgar Award : ADDAMS
6. Podium fixture : MIC
7. Tokyo, long ago : EDO
8. Drinks it all in : SAVORS THE MOMENT
9. View : SCENE
10. Patsy : SAP
11. “You could’ve fooled me” : I HAD NO IDEA
12. Exclusive source : SOLE OUTLET
13. Words of concord : IT’S AGREED
15. Step : TREAD
21. Hearty fare : STEW
24. Ornamental shrubs : YEWS
25. Common chord : TRIAD
27. ’60s music conspiracy theory : PAUL IS DEAD
28. Dating clarification : ANNO DOMINI
29. Smooth shift : SEGUE
31. IBM’s __ exhibit : THINK
32. Like some big entrées : SHAREABLE
34. Backpack carrier : HIKER
38. Drones, e.g. : BEES
41. 1856 Stowe novel : DRED
45. Muzzle : SNOUT
47. Meal : REPAST
50. Specifications on vials : DOSES
54. Cartesian connection : ERGO
55. Name of five Norwegian monarchs : OLAV
56. Northwestern U.S. city : NOME
57. Analog of -ist : -STER
59. 64-Across need : NET
61. 23andMe test subject : DNA
62. Frequently complex traffic pattern: Abbr. : CIR

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21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 5 Jan 19, Saturday”

  1. LAT: 32:13, no errors. Pretty typical for LAT Saturday. WSJ: 19:33, no errors. Newsday: DNF after 1:17:18 after messing up the upper left hand corner (11 errors total) – which I probably should have gotten. With these things, it’s hard to know what you have right or not, given the high level of manufactured difficulty present in late week puzzles.

  2. LAT: 12:51, no errors. WSJ: 20:39, no errors. Newsday: 42:15, no errors. Still chagrined about my one stupid error on yesterday’s Croce … but I’ll probably get over it … in a year or two … 🤪.

    @Mary … “Autodidact” is one of those words I’ve been aware of forever, without knowing quite what it means.

    @Jennifer Hunt … I talked to my oldest brother last night; he lived in Mason City from birth (1934) to age 14 (1948) and didn’t recognize any of the family names you mentioned. My sister has not reported in yet; she lived there from age 11 (1961) to about age … 25 (1975)? … (I think). Do you live close to Mason City now or have you moved away, like me? I have another brother (now 82) who still lives on the family farm near Floyd, but have not talked to him recently; if I do, I will ask him about your family. Again … it’s a small world …

    1. I grew up in Chicago but we made many a road trip to visit family in Mason City. I’m now living in Appleton, Wisconsin but have a soft for the Hawkeyes! Thanks for checking…

  3. Started off like a house of fire but 27,28,29, and 32 down did me in.
    I filled in autodidact with crosses but had no idea what it was.
    Someone said they did this puzzle in ten minutes? WOW

  4. My ink overs are an excellent example (the epitome?) of the 1 Across answer of “What a mess”. But finished without final errors I did (as Yoda might have said). The lower left corner/side also had me hung up for awhile until suddenly, Paul’s demise came into my mind and that got the rest of the problem children sorted out.

    1. @Steve … The suffix “-ster” is used to “denote a person engaged in or associated with a particular activity or thing” (as in “gangster”.) So it’s similar to the suffix “-ist” (as in “materialist”). (I’m sure there are better examples, but those are the two that came to mind.)

  5. Thought an “autodidact” was a car that taught you how to drive

    As far as the Norway discussions I’m sure the British Saxons of the Dark Ages weren’t pining for more imigrants from Norway.

    Another close but no cigar Saturday puzzle.

  6. 23 mins, 50 sec and 4 errors in the SW corner. This one was full of truly iffy clues, a good example of “manufactured difficulty”. Not one of my favorites, by any stretch.

    This was a decidedly low-quality week for the LAT puzzle. I hope our editor and his contributors get the holidays out of their systems, and actually show up for work again next week.

  7. 30:58. Agree that this has been a bit of a tough week by LAT standards. I knew the word “didactic” so AUTODIDACT just made sense to me. I didn’t know about the PAUL IS DEAD conspiracy, but I figured it out. Elvis didn’t fit there which is what I thought of first.

    Best –

  8. I grew up in Chicago but we made many a road trip to visit family in Mason City. I’m now living in Appleton, Wisconsin but have a soft for the Hawkeyes! Thanks for checking…

  9. Is Jennifer Hunt also Anonymous? Same message posted at the same time
    of the day. If so, nice to know you.

    We didn’t try today, only saw a very few on our screening.
    We had a comparatively poor week as well and hope next week
    will have some that fit our eye better. We will try, in any case.

  10. Pretty tough Saturday for me; took about 1 1/4 hrs with no errors, but lots of write-overs. I knew it’d be tough but at least fair, without too many personal pronouns or teevee stuff.

    Had to change AlOt to ATON, laUd to TOUT, itsonme to MYTREAT, atop to HUNG and reveRSE to iNveRSE to ENDORSE. The SW corner was a doozy and that leaked into the DRED/DOOM middle where the “D” was the last to fall. Didn’t know about that book. So, if a strike zone is a LANE, is that good for the batter or pitcher?

    @Gideon – Sahhib is Arabic, but also used in India. In Arabic its supposed to mean companion and in Hindi it is used as a term of respect for a man.

  11. Hi folks!!😎

    No errors on a fun Saturday Wechsler! 😍 Almost gave up a coupla times and I’m glad I persevered.

    Had the same things as you, Dirk! LAUD before TOUT and IT’S ON ME before MY TREAT!

    Also I had WIDE for “strike zone, at times,” and I stuck with that for too long. Finally saw the PAUL IS DEAD and fixed that section.

    I remember, as a kid, we’d play the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever” at 45 rpm to hear John say “I buried Paul.” It was so eerie that we’d forget to switch back to 33 and the next song, “Penny Lane,” would start all sped up!!😯

    Be well ~~🎸

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