, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: February 2021


Feb 28, 2021

Sunday February 28, 2021 Mark McClain

Theme:  "Start the Music" - The start of each theme entry is a music genre.

26A. Summer cottage, perhaps: COUNTRY RETREAT.

48A. Prior conviction, e.g.: RAP SHEET ENTRY.

64A. Iberian landmark that's an insurance company logo: ROCK OF GIBRALTAR.

84A. Personal exam?: SOUL-SEARCHING.

108A. Commonsense approach to behavior analysis: FOLK PSYCHOLOGY.

15D. Start celebrating: POP THE CORK.

70D. Topping for chicken enchiladas: SALSA VERDE.

We also have 52A. One of the ones that "say so much," in an Elton John hit: SAD SONG.

Often our first themer starts in Row 3. Today it starts in Row 4. Probably because it gave Mark the best result. If you have 7 theme entries with 15-letter middle, this is a great grid to emulate. Notice how he always uses the maximum word count? He always prioritizes clean fill rather than splash long entries.

Mark McClain


1. Short-legged hopper: TOAD.

5. Untidy types: SLOBS.

10. 25% of doce: TRES. 3 & 12 in Spanish.

14. Period: SPAN.

18. River in Tuscany: ARNO.

19. Tiny island nation near the equator: PALAU. Composed of more than 200 islands.

20. Slew: HEAP.

21. Mom-and-pop business: STORE. Just bought some Job's tears from a Korean grocery store. It's operated by a Korean couple. 

22. Fallon predecessor: LENO.

23. Became aware of, with "to": AWOKE.

24. Victor's wife in "Casablanca": ILSA. She really loved Rick though.

25. Cobbler fruit: APPLE. Do you guys have SweeTango in your local store? I like it better than Honeycrisp. Both were developed here in Minnesota.

29. Emotive speaker: ORATOR.

30. Fell in pellets: SLEETED. Is it common as a verb?

31. Result: AFTERMATH.

33. Musician's gift: EAR.

34. Fitness ratio: Abbr.: BMI. Body mass index.

36. Lake south of London: ERIE.

37. Have something: EAT.

40. Oklahoma's top crop: WHEAT.

44. Handle: SEE TO.

46. Dairy-based quaff: NOG. Eggnog. Also 54. Brewpub choices: ALES. 61. Drinking noise: SLURP. 102. Port alternative: MADEIRA. 106. Bar accessory: OPENER. 117. Champagne spec: BRUT. 34. Bud, for one: BEER. 74. Half of a dinner pairing: WINE. Cheers!

47. Phobia lead-in: ACRO.

55. Pitchers that can't throw?: EWERS. Nice clue angle.

56. Peachy-keen: A-OK.

58. Coronary chambers: ATRIA.

59. Name of the Baltimore Ravens' mascot: POE. Not as lovable as our TC Bear.

60. Programmer's problem, perhaps: LOOP.

63. Facebook count: LIKES.

68. Put back to zero: RESET.

71. Villainous look: SNEER.

72. Half a game fish: MAHI. I had mahi-mahi at Red Lobster ages ago.

73. Reverence: AWE.

76. Unfitting: INAPT.

77. Dusk, poetically: EEN.

78. Not treating nicely: BAD TO.

80. Fussbudget: PRIG.

81. Some fort components: PILLOWS. Our local Star Tribune often has a big ad from MyPillow. I'm amazed. 

87. One way to rest: EASY.

88. Zugspitze, e.g.: ALP.

90. With full force: AMAIN.

91. Senate staffers: AIDES.

92. Pioneering TV brand: RCA.

93. One covering the bases: TARP.

95. Online notes: IMS. Instant Messages.

96. Symbolic uncle: SAM.

98. The other way around: VICE VERSA. Great fill.

112. Showed the courage: DARED.

113. Credit union seizure: REPO.

114. Carpenter's machine: LATHE.

115. Concerning: IN RE.

116. "Let Me Ride" Grammy winner: DR DRE. Encountered quite a bit of legal issues.

118. One who shows the way: USHER.

119. Yemeni city: ADEN.

120. Leave in: STET.

121. AOL and Comcast: ISPS.

122. "Beau __": GESTE.

123. Moms in a glade: DOES.


1. Barber's powder: TALC.

2. Lunch box treats: OREOS. Chinese packages. Chips Ahoy! on top. Oreos bottom.

3. Set aside: ANNUL.

4. Lorna of Brit Lit: DOONE.

5. Peloponnesian city-state: SPARTA.

6. Many a Grisham hero: LAWYER.

7. Prayer opening: O LORD.

8. Whip up a cake: BAKE. Thank God we have CrossEyedDave! The kid in black jacket.

9. Bird feeder cake: SUET.

10. Heist figure: THIEF.

11. Be empathetic: RELATE.

12. NBA's __ Conference: EASTERN.

13. Cruise ship feature: SPA.

14. Mar. honoree: ST PAT. Here's a memorable St Patrick's Day celebration. Dear Agnes lost two of her sisters since then.

L-R: Anne, Agnes, Eileen, Mary, and Peggy (March 17, 2019)

16. 1968 album containing "The Motorcycle Song": ARLO.

17. At no time, in old times: NE'ER.

21. __ Lee: SARA.

27. Saw things: TEETH.

28. Bonnie with 10 Grammys: RAITT.  Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

29. Luxury watch: OMEGA.

32. Jamaica's Ocho __: RIOS. OK, Google says it is "where world-class luxury and tradition collide. Ocho Rios is known for its breathtaking beaches, beautiful views, and a wide selection of shopping options great for high-class brands to charming souvenirs and special mementos."


35. __ wear: MEN'S.

38. Immortal army leader: ARNIE. Palmer.

39. Draped garments: TOGAS.

40. Sub alternative: WRAP.

41. Image in a religious painting: HALO.

42. Foil alternative: EPEE.

43. Pack animal: ASS.

44. Starting point: STEP ONE.

45. Colgate rival: ORAL B.

47. Moving around: ASTIR.

49. 1964 Civil Rts. Act creation: EEOC. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

50. "Return of the Jedi" beings: EWOKS.

51. MYOB word: YOUR. Mind Your Own Business.
53. __ Lama: DALAI.

57. "The Honeymooners" surname: KRAMDEN.

60. Popular long shot: LOTTO.

61. Title for Richard Starkey: SIR. Ringo Starr

62. Montana motto metal: PLATA. Oro y plata.

64. Email option: REPLY.

65. Professional charges: FEES.

66. Piazza de Ferrari city: GENOA.

67. God with a hammer: THOR.

68. Redder, perhaps: RIPER. My grandma used to have two persimmon trees. They were bitter if not ripe.

69. Computer that was retired in 1955: ENIAC.

73. Quite dry: ARID.

75. Poaching targets: EGGS.

78. Cartoon explosion sound: BLAM.

79. With no changes: AS IS.

80. Key letter: PHI.

82. Do a garden chore: WATER. Still lots of snow in our yard. But spring is coming. And all my three T's are back to the blog. I'm happy.

83. Czech or Serb: SLAV.

85. Inuit craft: UMIAK.  Feel cold just looking at this picture.

86. Stephen King's role as the minister in "Pet Sematary," e.g.: CAMEO. And 107. 86-Down, for one: PART.

89. Would rather have: PREFERS.

94. Support: PROP UP.

96. Sweet-smelling pouch: SACHET.

97. Hold fast: ADHERE.

99. Unmoving: INERT.

100. Give up: CEDE.

101. Places to put coins: SLOTS. 106. Santa Anita numbers: ODDS.

102. Enduring legends: MYTHS. You guys have heard a lot about mooncakes and Mid-Autumn Festival from me over the years. Here's the myth behind it. Most of the fancy mooncakes tins have Chang'e on the cover.

103. It ends with the burial of Hector: ILIAD.

104. Last movement of Beethoven's "Waldstein" Sonata, e.g.: RONDO.

105. Come to terms: AGREE.

109. Connect, in a way, with "in": PLUG.

110. RSVP convenience: SASE.

111. Strong desires: YENS.

113. MLB stat: RBI.


Feb 27, 2021

Saturday, February 27, 2021 Matthew Sewell

 Saturday Themeless by Matthew Sewell

Today's constructor is another in our long line of  PhDs - Matt Sewell. He is also part of the Minnesota Crossword Cabal and teaches literature and film at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Here are some comments from Matt:

Hello Gary, 

Thanks for inviting me to send some comments on this puzzle. My chief memory of its construction is of torturing myself over the SE; looking at my files, I see six different versions of that section (and those are just the ones I felt worth saving for consideration), each with its own balance of pros and cons. In a perverse way, that sifting process -- going  through scores of options to find the one that's just marginally better than the rest -- is a part of the craft that I really enjoy. Or at least I figure I *must* enjoy it, because I keep doing it! The puzzles I most admire are the ones where you can tell that the constructor never settled for 'good enough,' and that's what I strive for in my own. I hope solvers enjoy this one.

I'm grateful to Rich and the editing team for their improvements. Wish I'd thought of that clue for 56 Across!


Matt and I were on the same wavelength as I kept up a very good 61. Clip: PACE and finished in record time for a Saturday. 


1. From __: faintly: AFAR.

5. Demanding quality: RIGOR - Talk about requiring RIGOR

10. Yamaha's Grizzly and Kodiak, briefly: ATVS - Here's a $10,000 Grizzly

14. Francis used a Jeep Wrangler as one in 2015: POPE MOBILE.

16. Creep up on: NEAR.

17. Distortion for a cause: PROPAGANDA - Goebbels was a master at it

18. "Santa Claus and His Works" artist, 1866: NAST - Thomas NAST went from illustrations of the Civil War to creating the modern image of Santa Claus

19. Cloud-based access provider?: ST PETER - In the song Sixteen Tons Tennessee Ernie Ford sang, "SAINT PETER doncha call me cause I can't go. I owe my soul to the company store"
20. Silver Spring, Md., is part of it: DC AREA - It's a half-hour drive north of the Washington Monument 

22. Places to learn perspective: ART SCHOOLS - I remember my art teacher showing how Brunelleschi made a drawing of the Dumo in Florence with perspective

25. "Given what we know ... ": AS IT IS.

28. Likely to carry: LOUD 

29. Sanctions: OKS - Sanctions is a contronym because it can also mean to not OK

32. Its co-founder said, "I do get disappointed that so many members spend so much time solving puzzles": MENSA - Cool clue

33. French toast word: SANTE.

34. Dandy: FOP.

35. Irregular, as a job: ODD - ODD Job was Auric Goldfinger's servant

36. Most provocative: RACIEST.

38. Unsettle: JAR.

39. Backpacker's chain: REI - Recreational Equipment Incorporated will sell you this Rooftop Sparrow for 3,000 
40. Bucks: CLAMS 

41. Provençal sauce: AIOLI.

43. Often eponymous period: ERA - Baseball had a "Dead Ball ERA" from 1900 - 1919 where the ball was much softer and one ball lasted the whole game. Then along came this guy named Ruth...

44. Engage: HIRE.

45. Feign interest in: PLAY AT - Joann watching TV golf with me 

46. Pick-up artists?: NEAT FREAKS - Oscar got so mad at NEAT FREAK Felix he threw his pasta against the wall

49. Dish from Valencian for "frying pan": PAELLA Here ya go!

51. To whom Brando said, "I coulda been a contender": STEIGER - Rod

55. Longtime morning host: RIPA.

56. One of several coming out together: LITTER MATE - How's this for a box 'o cute?

59. Fix, in a way: EDIT.

60. Arch supports: INNER SOLES - These $9 Wal~Mart INNER SOLES got rid of my plantar fasciitis just as well as the $50 pair a physical therapy place sold me

62. Gets in the game: ANTES - Wednesday ANTE was clued as "Stud fee"

63. Sprawling: VAST - Boeing's assembly plant north of Seattle is the largest building on Earth. Workers use bicycles to get around


1. Cell lineup: APPS - I have a great, free golf APP on my iPhone cell

2. Stronghold: FORT.

3. Per: A POP - Mother-in-law's Eliquis costs $500 A POP. She has to pay for the first scrip every January 

4. Wins again: REPEATS - Not so for the KC Chiefs

5. Writer's resource: ROGETS - Really, you can't think of another adjective for this overworked word?

6. Bridge beams: I-BARS - A condensed I-BEAM

7. Negroni need: GIN and...

8. Worn out: OLD.

9. Screen displays: READOUTS - When the service module on Apollo 13 blew up 200,000 miles from Earth, the NASA flight controllers couldn't believe their READOUTS showing triple failures

10. Year's record: ANNAL - Tom Brady, shown here with 
11. Emotional oxymoron: TEARS OF JOY, will go down in the ANNALs of football history as the Greatest Of All Time.

12. Pottery wheel product: VASE - Name this movie (*answer below)

13. Mex. title: SRTA.

15. Like Amazonian society: MATRIARCHAL - China's last surviving MATRIARCHAL society

21. Some WWII message transmitters: CODE TALKERS.

23. Certain horse race: CLAIMER  - Races for second line horses

24. Tweaks: HONES - What a blogger does before they post

25. It may lead to un matrimonio: AMORE - Italian for matrimony. "
Quando la luna incontra i tuoi occhi come un grande pezzo di pizza, questo è AMORE" (When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's AMORE)

26. Ritual Jewish feast: SEDER - A common feast for us crossworders to fill in 

27. The Mahabharata, e.g.: INDIAN EPIC - It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their successors. Oh, that Mahabharata!
30. Billabong Zoo resident: KOALA  - In 
Port Macquarie NSW, Australia

31. Sail-extending pole: SPRIT.

33. Red Baron attire, Snoopy-style: SCARF.

37. Carrier to Malta: ALITALIA.

42. 1994 sci-fi memoir: I ASIMOV - A clever play on his first initial 

45. Derby dads: PATERS - If you're a dad NNW of London

47. Thrill: ELATE.

48. Cosmetic counter name: ESTEE.

49. Make ready: PREP - Lee Marvin's famous scene as Kid Shelleen 

50. Musical with the song "Another Pyramid": AIDA Here ya go!

52. Bash: GALA.

53. Seine summers: ETES - Any guesses on what classic song would have this first line in French:  L
'ETE et la vie est facile? **Answer below

54. Catch one's breath: REST.

57. Overnight spot: INN.

58. March Madness network: TNT - The NCAA knows that betting on the March Madness basketball tournament is essentially illegal but they love how it drives the TV ratings.

* Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze are the potters in the movie Ghost 

** Summer time and the living is easy

Feb 26, 2021

Friday, February 26, 2021, Peter Koetters

 Title: Shake that booty

Peter who has had 13 of his 16 major puzzle publications with the LAT, is back after zero 2020 puzzles in one of the papers. I blogged his FIRST and a few others over the years. Today is a simple scramble with the three-letter second word of the phrase being anagrammed to create a different and visually amusing picture. This seemed easy for a Friday but I got lots of sleep while Oo was working. We had some funny ones.

17A. Beneficial tree tapping?: HEALTH SAP. HEALTH SPA. As a Floridian, we have many spas around here; we used to take the sap from the maple trees and boil a whole bunch to make maple syrup. Of course, those who spend a fortune on all those TV ads promising eternal youth...

29A. Wildebeest with a habit?: SMOKING GNU (10). Who knew? 
I do not think they can shoot, but it seems unlikely- for the original words -SMOKING GUN. I do like the picture of cultured wildebeest.

47A. Hoop site?: END OF AN EAR (10). End of Era, not a simple earring.

11D. Hawaiian wedding accessory?: WHITE LEI. Oh my, there are so many inappropriate comments I could make and upset for our current PG-rated blog, but it is a fun twist on a WHITE LIE.  No pictures needed.

37A. Top for a Japanese dish?: SUSHI BRA. Another challenge, but the internet is always there. We also have so many sushi bars in SoFla. Oo works at 9 Face Sushi Cafe
And a reveal:

61A. Reversed, in a way ... and a hint to the creation of five puzzle answers: INSIDE OUT(9). Meh, unnecessary and not helpful for me. But the interspersed 7 letter fill really helped me in getting this done. They are EMINENT, I LOST IT, INHERIT, MATINEE,  REALITY, RIHANNA, and ROTUNDA. 

Now that we have sussed the theme and identified the longer, fill, let's go.


1. It's found in a lock ... or a loch: OAR. A most enjoyable play on words to start the action. 

4. Founder of one of Israel's Twelve Tribes: JUDAH. Jacob's first wife, Leah, bore him six sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. Two other tribes, Gad and Asher, were named after sons born to Jacob and Zilpah, Leah’s maidservant. Two additional tribes, Dan and Naphtali, were named after the sons of Jacob born of Bilhah, the maidservant of Rachel, Jacob’s second wife. Rachel bore Jacob two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. In modern Judaism, it is the descendants of Aaron - the Cohanim and Levites who survived to matter with everyone else part of ISRAEL. Confused yet?

9. Multilevel marketing giant: AMWAY. Is it a PYRAMID SCHEME, there are many pro and con links all taking to multi-level marketing "businesses." Tell me your experiences.

14. "WALL-E" FX: CGIComputer-Generated Imagery; in the joy of blogging, I had the pleasure of the flipbook- the beginning generated movement.

15. __ territory: ENEMY. Not all meanings are related to war. Ask Cubs and White Sox fans.

16. Lake near Squaw Valley: TAHOE. Still one of the most beautiful places on earth. 

19. Leaning: ATILT. A dreaded "A" word.

20. Vex: RILE. Vex comes from the Latin VEXARE to disturb, and they said those six years of Latin study would never come in handy.

21. Come into: INHERIT. Part of my current business, probating estates and seeing who inherits, a word that comes from - you guessed it - the Latin INHEREDITARE. I could go on.

23. Willing subject?: ESTATE. A pun lost because of its juxtaposition making it a really obvious fill.

26. Renowned: EMINENT. Not to be confused with IMMINENT.

32. Wells' Weena et al.: ELOI. Would like another picture of Yvette Mimeux?

33. Mississippi river to the Mississippi River: YAZOO. The Yazoo River was named by French explorer La Salle in 1682 as "Rivière des Yazous" in reference to the Yazoo tribe. It is created by the Tallahatchie River Yalobusha River to form the Yazoo River. Remember the bridge?

34. The Aire runs through it: LEEDS. Alex, rivers for $2,000. LINK

35. Common online interruptions: ADS.

38. Domed building: ROTUNDA. Recently in the news, sadly this ONE.

41. "Give or take" ending: ISH.

42. Actress Tierney: MAURA.

44. Projectionist's stack: REELS.

46. Otherwise: ELSE.

52. One-named "Unapologetic" singer: RIHANNA.

54. Pang: TWINGE.

55. "That completely overwhelmed me!": I LOST IT. It has happened to me 4 times in my life. My father, who I adore, and who was a remarkable man was a rageholic and I have at least a piece of that genetic code.

58. Favorable points: PROS. let's argue the Pros and Cons.

59. Range: AMBIT. ambit (n.) late 14c., "space surrounding a building or town; precinct;" 1590s, "a circuit;" from Latin ambitus "a going round, a circuit, circumference." 

64. Garçon's handout: CARTE. A French waiter gives you a menu. 

65. Go on the stump: ORATE. An 1848 dictionary mentioned "to stump it" was a phrase "borrowed from the backwoods," as it referred to speaking from atop a tree stump.

66. Oklahoma native: OTO. Native American tribe.

67. Binge-watching mealtime aids: TRAYS. So you can sit in the tv room.

68. Not cool at all: NERDY.

69. Mint holder: TIN

1. Earth tones: OCHRES. A word I learned watching my father oil paint.

2. Fair-hiring problem: AGEISM. No problem here though we are trending younger.

3. Venetian marketplace: RIALTO. An interesting HISTORY.

4. Contrail source: JET. This is a trail of condensed water from an aircraft or rocket at high altitude, seen as a white streak against the sky. 

5. John Irving alma mater: Abbr.: UNH. He not only went to the University of New Hampshire, but that is where he was BORN.

6. Lucy's guy: DESI. Do you love Lucy? 

7. "__ Called Ove": 2015 film: A MAN. Based on a novel by Swedish author Fredrik Backman which Tom Hanks has optioned to do an English language version.

8. Honky-tonk line?: HYPHEN. Such a cute clue.

9. Big name in games: ATARI. The first.

10. Play before supper: MATINEE. Another cute clue, not stickball in the backyard.

12. Early internet co.: AOL. I still have my AOL account among my five accounts.

13. Still: YET. Again. 

18. Needing caulking: LEAKY. Maybe that is what I need...

22. LiMu __: ad bird: EMU. Feel free to vent here; not my favorite. 

24. Prom queen topper: TIARA. I would have guessed Prom King but there were not enough letters.

25. Carmaker Ferrari: ENZO. The namesake creation. 

27. Subtle approvals: NODS.

28. Morticia, to Gomez: TISH
30. Came down with: GOT. Hopefully no COVID.

31. Melon, e.g.: GOURD. have you ever tried WIKIDIFF?
MELON VS. GOURD all melons are gourds but not all gourds are melons unless you are using eupemisms.

34. Bochco series: LA LAW. 63D. 34-Down actress: DEY.

35. OAS part: Abbr.: AMER.

36. Surrealist friend of García Lorca: DALI.

39. Prefix with con: NEO.

40. Dexterous: DEFT.

43. "Survivor" genre: REALITY. There is precious little reality in reality TV.

45. Wading bird: SNIPE. Didn't we have this?

47. Half of nine?: ENS.

48. One with an anthem: NATION.

49. Plant deeply: ENROOT. meh.

50. Rainforest rodent: AGOUTI.

51. Lie atop: REST ON. See 24D, supra.

53. Score in a score: NOTES. Lovely play on words.

56. Memo intro: IN RE.

57. Old despot: TSAR.

59. Pretend to be: ACT.

60. Deface: MAR.

62. "__ be fun!": IT'D. Was it? I had a great time