, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: Saturday, September 23, 2023 by Matthew Stock and Caitlin Reid


Sep 23, 2023

Saturday, September 23, 2023 by Matthew Stock and Caitlin Reid

 Saturday Themeless by Matthew Stock and Caitlin Reed

Matthew gave me a jolt of dΓ©jΓ  vu when he informed me he has taken a step back from teaching 8th grade math in Gainesville, FL and is going to pursue a degree in counseling. I kept teaching but did get a Masters degree in counseling after teaching math a few dozen years ago! He said he reached out to Caitlin, who lives in Santa Ana, CA, online and they have collaborated on several puzzles. Matthew said she is a joy to work with.

I had a pleasant journey around Matthew's and Caitlin's puzzle and finished up in the NW corner where UPDO (not chic), SLOW LORIS (such a common adjective), LIKE SO (wrong demonstration idea by me) and PLAICE (??) just wouldn't come to me. We were at a concert and I had a picture of the grid on my phone and UPDO hit me out of nowhere while waiting for the curtain. I rushed home afterwards and obtained a satisfying "got 'er done!"


1. High fashion?: UPDO.

5. Gramps alternative: PAPA - My proudest alias!

9. Scratches, e.g.: FLAWS - Claws works as a verb but this called for a noun

14. Large-eyed primate with a toxic bite: SLOW LORIS.

16. Medium for delivering course corrections: RED INK - Some want to banish RED INK for grading because it is threatening and intimidating. 


20. Phrase heard during a demonstration: LIKE SO.

21. Frozen drinks: ICEES.

22. Hip-hop pioneer Kool __ Dee: MOE.

23. Tops: ACES.

24. Quite a lot: HEAPS.

25. "The thing with feathers," per Dickinson: HOPE.

26. Come into: GET.

27. Ready to play: CUED - Dr. Johnny Fever getting a song CUED up on a turntable on WKRP

29. Percocet, codeine, etc.: OPIATES.

31. Cry for attention?: TEN-HUT.

33. "That wasn't exactly honest": I LIED.

34. Working capital, in a way: TRADE SECRETS 


36. Get new life out of: REUSE.

37. Tarator ingredient: TAHINI.

38. Clouseau player: SELLERS - Ya gotta love this clip! 

40. Hudson of "Glass Onion": KATE - Lower left in the big hat. 92% at Rotten Tomatoes

41. Kitty: POT πŸ˜€ Two names for money that has been bet

44. Like some holiday sweaters: UGLY.

45. Pocket protector?: MISER πŸ˜€

47. Rebecca in the Basketball Hall of Fame: LOBO.

48. Furrow: RUT - RUTS from the Oregon Trail in western Nebraska

49. Could or could not: MIGHT.

50. Goes around in circles: TWIRLS.

52. Snack with which one could be caught red-handed?: FLAMIN' HOT CHEETOS.

55. __ solution: SALINE.

56. Happy place: CLOUD NINE.

57. Show again: RE-AIR - I love the RE-AIRINGs of this show. It is like a time capsule.

58. Spare __: KEYS - Ours are hidden where no one can find them. πŸ˜™

59. Yields to gravity: SAGS.


1. Symbol on a space suit, for short: US FLAG - These 12 wore that symbol on the Moon.

2. "The carp play the harp / The __ play the bass": "Under the Sea" lyrics: PLAICE - I have never heard of this fish but it is pronounced "plays" which rhymes with bass and so...

3. List for a trial period?: DOCKET πŸ˜€

4. Baby bumps?: OWIES πŸ˜€

5. Sport that's a lot of horsing around: POLO πŸ˜€

6. Is for two: ARE.

7. Part of a fictional flight plan: PIXIE DUST.

8. Rescue org.: ASPCA.

9. Nonconformist: FREE SPIRIT - As a student, they can be a delight or a nightmare for a teacher

10. Not so much: LESS.

11. Subway car decor: ADS.

12. Handheld Nintendo devices: WIIMOTES - I laughed out loud when I said this out loud and finally saw the pun for a WII remote!!

13. Did some digging: SNOOPED.

15. "__ MaΓ±anitas": Mexican birthday song: LAS.

17. Strike zone bottom: KNEES.

19. Credit report blot: REPO.

24. "lol": HE HE.

25. Tortuga's country: HAITI.

27. Cut off: CEASE.

28. "The Incredibles" villain likely inspired by Marvel Comics' Mole Man: UNDERMINER - A clever name.

30. "The Handmaid's Tale" executive producer Chaiken: ILENE Her IMDB entry

31. White Claw rival: TRULY.

32. Whistler on the range: TEA KETTLE πŸ˜€

34. Clear sign: TELLTALE - When Aaron Rodgers had to be carted off the field after the third play of the game this year, it was a TELLTALE sign he was severely injured.

35. Arctic __: CHAR.

36. Frequent patron: REGULAR - Yeah, I thought of him too!

38. Goes over board?: SURFS πŸ˜€ Two words for over board indicates someone who is over a board and not overboard. 

39. Eye roll accompanier, maybe: SIGH.

41. "The Merchant of Venice" heroine: PORTIA - The traditional PORTIA and an updated one set in Las Vegas

42. Like most mozzarella sticks: OBLONG.

43. Flings: TOSSES.

46. Flabbergast: SHOCK.

47. Bank claims: LIENS.

49. __ fridge: MINI.

50. Q.E.D.: THUS.

51. Unite beneath a chuppah, e.g.: WED.

53. Emma's "La La Land" role: MIA - Ms. Stone

54. Demure: COY.


Subgenius said...

I still don’t know what “plaice “ is but figured “pl” was more likely than “pn” so it was probably a “slow” loris instead of a “snow” loris so I dodged that bullet. The only other two words I’ll mention are “tea kettle “ and “hope”, both of which came to me immediately and helped me solve this very challenging puzzle. Anyway, FIR, so I’m happy.

Anonymous said...

I also have no idea what Plaice is. I did not FIR. I came reasonably close, but the NE part of the grid ultimately did me in.

Anonymous said...

On a happier note, hopefully the Atlanta Braves will get their 100th win this weekend. My dog Chipper certainly hopes they do.

Anonymous said...

This puzzle was extremely difficult, completely off the scale for an LAT Saturday. I enjoy a hard puzzle and wish all Saturdays were like this one, but I expect most will find it unfair and justifiably so.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Too much of a slog. Sorry.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

DNF, filling 41 entries before TITT. 39 were correct.

Today is:
AUTUMNAL EQUINOX (now the nights are longer than the days up here)
DOGS IN POLITICS DAY (more dogs than presidents have occupied the White House)
RESTLESS LEGS AWARENESS DAY (if your leg is restless, it may attract the dog)
NATIONAL SNACK STICK DAY (ZoΡ‘ loves her Pup-A-Roni sticks)
NATIONAL TEAL TALK DAY (spread the word about the symptoms of ovarian cancer)
NATIONAL GREAT AMERICAN POT PIE DAY (I’ve been told that pot makes one crave pie)

It may have been here, but somewhere I read / heard that the best way to hide a key is to get a bunch of look-alike keys (that don't open your lock) and hide them in the usual places (over the door, under the mat, under a distinct rock, etc.) A crook will give up after a couple of tries.

I was trying to think of a three-letter word for "graffiti" for my subway car decor. Never once thought about a three-letter version of "poop," but these days it might have been applicable. (BMS, maybe?)
I knew LORIS, but had blanks where SNOW belonged. DW and I watch a lot of Secrets of the Zoo.

We're in a lull for a few hours before Ophelia dumps a final soaking in the late morning. Looks like we'll have a dry day for our 2-week camping trip departure tomorrow.

Thanks to Gary for the fun review, and congrats to all who FIRed this Saturday Stumper.

Memforest said...

A bit more crunch than last week, and clever clueing, but I'll take the FIW. Enjoyed the puzzle, but I guess I don't know my Dickinson from a doorknob, and Wiimotes are foreign to me, even though I have a Wii in the house and 7 or 8 Wii Remotes! That was especially devious, because SWITCHES fit perfectly and it took a while to give that up, but Kool Moe Dee was lodged in the far reaches of my brain and asserted itself.

Ophelia is storming up the coast, and it's windy here in Virginia but nothing like a hurricane - - I'll take the much needed rain!

Big Easy said...

TEN HUT!!! Another FIW for me. The NW was the last area to correctly fall in 'PLACIE', a fish I've never heard of but it rhymed. My mistake was the spelling of my Nintendo hand held devices, which guessed Wii TOTES, not WIIMOTES. Sorry Chairman; never heard of Kool MOE Dee. I knew the 'Dry' Tortugas were in Florida but had to guess HAITI for the other Tortuga, which gave me a false HOPE that I would FIR.

LORIS I knew of it, but I was 'slow' on getting SLOW, new to me.
Tarator- never heard of but TAHINI fit.
Ditto for 'Glass Onion' and KATE, Rebecca LOBO, UNDERMINER, ILENE Chaiken, & FLAMIN' HOT CHEETOS (only the orange colored ones)

Do those who plan to use PIXIE DUST ever GET 'Temptationed' to reach CLOUD NINE?

TTP said...

OK, so that one was tough for me. Took two sittings, with a half hour brain drain in the interim. Looking at the clues anew definitely helped complete the solve. FTW - For the win!

Where do I start? After the break, these were the areas finally got worked out:
I was locked in on the wrong kind of demonstration, probably because of the UAW strike.
Never heard of WIIMOTES, but the M and O fit and seemed like a good play on remotes.
UNDER MINER mostly perped in until the last few letters became obvious, which paved the way for both CUED and MISER.
CUED made me change Ha Ha to HE HE.
BTW, great clues for both CUED (Ready to play) and MISER (pocket protector).
The R in MISER made me change Arctic tHAw to Arctic CHAR.
Didn't know Tarator, but on the second pass I only needed the N for TAHINI.
The intersecting ILENE was also unknown, but again the N made ILENE obvious.
HAITI made it clear that the intersecting answer would be OPIATES rather than OPIoidS. I should study the diff for future reference.

Before halftime, a few of the clues that made me smile were for OWIES (baby bumps), for TEN HUT (cry for attention), for SURFS (goes on board), and for FLAMIN' HOT TOSTITOS (snack for which one could get caught red-handed). I think I mentioned a few months ago that I bought a "family size" bag of those on a whim. It took quite a while to polish those off.

I'm on CLOUD NINE for sticking with this one and getting the solve.

After all of these comments, I'm off to read Husker Gary's review, and then see what everyone else had to say.

Thank you, Matthew Stock and Caitlan Reid. Keep 'em coming!

inanehiker said...

Definitely a Saturday challenge, but P&P prevailed. The NW was also my most challenging area, but finally US FLAG and UPDO opened that area up.

Since we had RE-USE, Re-AIR,Re-PO, I initially parsed 16A as Re-DINK. Since everything else was right, I figured it probably was some modern computer term that I wasn't familiar with - but DOH!

FLAMIN'HOT CHEETOS are too hot for me - but some of my staff really like them!

When someone says they HAVE to get better in 1-2 days for whatever virus they have, I tell them I am all out of PIXIE DUST in my pocket!

Thanks Gary for a fun blog and Matthew & Caitlin for the challenging puzzle!

BobB said...

Plaice was the last to fall. Bad to look it up, a European flat fush similar to a flounder.

KS said...

FIW. Did not see red ink at 16A and put in scoured for 13D. Not knowing any of it I did a WAG and hoped. So wrong.
I was actually on a roll as I filled the bottom half of the puzzle as if I knew what I was doing. But the NE corner did me in.
A really tough Saturday puzzle, tougher than most.

unclefred said...

Holy smaholies, what a long difficult slog it was. I almost gave up multiple times as I was just struggling, not having fun, but persisted and after a bit more than an hour of gnashing teeth and scratching head managed to FIR, with the NW the last to fall. Never heard of a plaice, looks like a flounder to me. DNK what TARATOR is, or, for that matter, what TAHINI is, or CHUPPAH. Gonna look ‘em all up later. W/Os = LOS:LAS, SOCIAL:FACIAL, SCOOPS:SNOOPS, CHAD:CHAR, SWINGS:SWIRLS:TWIRLS. As you can tell from the number of W/Os my CW was a mess by the time I finished. That arctic char looks too beautiful to kill for food. Speaking of food, I’ve always wondered what is so secret about BigMac “secret” sauce. It’s mustard, ketchup, mayo, and a dash of pickle relish, isn’t it? What’s so “secret”? With the rule changes, I’ve started watching baseball again, as I can now manage to watch it without falling asleep waiting for the pitcher to throw the ball, or the batter to step out of the box and adjust his gloves ten times, but the strike zone as computer generated rectangle seems smaller to me, namely, not as high. While they’re at it, I’d be pleased to see a computer call the balls and strikes; the home plate umpire misses too many calls. He would still have a job judging whether the batter was hit by a pitch, the runner was safe at home base, etc. Anyway, back to the CW, very difficult, at least for me. I found it too much of a slog to be fun. And I don’t like to spend over an hour on a CW. Anyway, thanx for your efforts, MS&CR, ya almost defeated me…several times over. And thanx for NOT filling your construction with umpteen obscure names; I only counted 11 names, of which I only knew 2. HG, your write-ups never disappoint, always fun and informative. Thanx for your time and effort, and the wit you manage to knit into the write-ups. I guess that makes you a “knit-wit”, as very much opposed to a “nitwit”! (Oh, aren’t I clever this morning?) Have a good weekend, one-and-all.

Charlie Echo said...

Nope. WAY above my pay grade.

Monkey said...

Definitely outside my wheelhouse as they say.

I too got TEA KETTLE and REGULAR right off, but no help. In addition I hung on to loads too long.

Peter SELLERS was one of my favorite actors, and his best movie was Dr Strangelove which I’ve watched several times.

On to Wordle.

CrossEyedDave said...

Yep, I TITT early. But did have fun hitting the reveal button on the many clever clue/answers.
(I enjoyed the write up even more...)

Flaming hot Cheetos?
I love spicy, but I never heard of flaming hot Cheetos.
I would love to try them, but at my age, I need to watch what I eat.
Hmm, well, at least there is no trans fats...

Hmm, Only 160 calories per 21 pieces!
I wonder, I tend to fall asleep on those cross country car drives. One thing I have found is that a single spicy peanut can keep you awake for about 5 miles... I wonder if flamin Cheetos would do the same? Ack! No! It would be an orange fingered steering wheel disaster!

Hmm, I wonder if I can learn to drive one handed balancing a bag in my lap, while using chopsticks?

Well, you did ask for my thoughts..

TTP said...

Two hours later...

I had to play sous chef, then food critic, then busboy and finally dishwasher/KP duty.

Nice review HG. I forgot to mention PLAICE. That was new to me. Perhaps the early commenters that have no idea what it is would be well served to read your review?

Inanehiker, I like that, "I am all out of PIXIE DUST in my pocket!"

Stay dry, Jinx.

FLN, I see that I wrote ORGa in my comments even though I had ORGO in the puzzle, and I LOL'ed at Sumdaze's quip that she might have to take a course in GEOGRO. :>)

Unclefred, I assume you are entering your comments from a smartphone. Have you ever tried pressing the Enter key after completing a series of thoughts, and before starting another? On my phone, I press enter twice to get a blank line between paragraphs.

It may be different on yours. I'm still learning to use mine. Last night I was trying to setup a Group, so I could send a group text to all the golfers in the league. Finally figured it out. Then I found there was a group called Video chat or something like that. I've never done a video chat from my phone. As I was trying to delete the names in that group, I managed to call my nephew in San Jose. Don't know how that happened, but we talked for about an hour. It was good getting caught up with each other.

Oh, and yes, he gave me a good ribbing for having spent 35 years in IT and still not being well-versed in using a smartphone. :>)

Picard said...

Can someone please explain how PIXIE DUST is a FLIGHT PLAN?

Big Easy Hand up TOTES made more sense for something HANDHELD and portable. And the cross HIP HOP guy could have been anything. FIW in that one spot. TRULY and WHITE CLAW were TRULY unknown. Stuck a long time with FLAMIN not FLAMING. Likewise with HA HA vs very odd HE HE, said by no one, ever.

Learning moment about SLOW LORIS.

Here I got to see a LARGE EYED PRIMATE tarsier, which looks like a SLOW LORIS, up close on the Pacific island of Bohol.

Apparently, they are not so closely related. The LORIS is actually more closely related to lemurs. Learning moment. Also had no idea there was a primate with a TOXIC BITE.

Anonymous said...

Took 31:23 today. Very tough upper-left corner today. Knew Loris, but not the adjective.

I remembered "Underminer," who is onscreen for maybe 3 seconds? And, has his name said, probably exactly one time in the movie. Seems obscure to me, despite being familiar with it - thanks to my kids' love of that movie.

"working capital, in a way" for "Trade secrets" seems like too far of a stretch, even for a Saturday puzzle.

Before Wiimote, I tried Switches and then GameBoys.

TTP said...

Hi, Picard, the "fictional" part of the clue must be included. In the Disney realm, Tinker Bell used the magical Pixie Dust in Peter Pan to help her friends Wendy, John and Michael Darling fly from England to Neverland. It was also used in subsequent Disney movies.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

I remember that at the fone factory, whenever we had a project that was late, the worker bees wanted overtime while management wanted to catch up without additional expense. "Ya want miracles? Ya gotta sprinkle a little PIXIE DUST."

We've been watching the Solheim Cup on Golf Channel. I had not heard of the lovely and talented Cheyenne Knight, a star on the US team. Turns out she is dating the Charger's backup QB, Easton Stick. If that relationship blossoms, I wonder if she would change her name to Cheyenne Knight-Stick?

Off to the RV to make final preparations for leaving tomorrow morning. Looks like all the roads we need are open now.

Misty said...

Tough, but interesting, Saturday puzzle, many thanks, Matthew and Caitlin. And your commentary is always helpful and a pleasure, thanks for that too, Gary.

Well, in this puzzle PAPA might have been a MISER with little money, but who was a FREE SPIRIT but with a serious FACIAL EXPRESSION who ended up as a hero of sorts. He discovered the TRADE SECRET of some guys who were SELLERS of OPIATES, which was a bit of a SHOCK. He decided this was the proper time to turn them in, and was given a compensation for the news. He's now on ClOUD NINE, enjoying his new TEA KETTLE and ICEES and HOPES he had done a good deed.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

waseeley said...

Thank you Matthew and Caitlin. I was soundly trounced by this one and after an hour of two I TITT.

And thanks Husker for making it look so easy!


AnonymousPVX said...

Got the solve sans any fun whatsoever.

Another grid clued by folks who are oh so proud of themselves.

I grew up in the northeast and both caught and ate flatties….no one ever EVER called them “plaice”. Never. You know it’s a word someone pulled out of somewhere when it’s filled in and still looks wrong.

NaomiZ said...

Impossibilities: the crossing of Moe with wiiMotes, and the crossing of sLow loris with pLaice. There were plenty of other obscure unknowns, but at least I could work them out. Not great!

Anonymous said...

When in England plaice is the fish you get with 'fish and chips'. Quite good actually.

Jayce said...

Nope, no way.

Chairman Moe said...

Puzzling thoughts:

FWH (finished with help). Too many unknowns that needed a look up with Google

I hadn't heard of the MOE who was referenced in todays puzzle. I don't think we're related

FLN/yesterday ... CED, I watched DOGMA on our TV last night. Quite an interesting movie ...

sumdaze said...

Not even close! "Gameboys" fit in 12D so perfectly that I tried to make the rest work with it. Thanks, Matthew and Caitlin for the challenge and thanks to H-Gary for explaining the oh-so-many unknowns. SLOW LORIS, how interesting (and scary)! I am glad they are not fast!

FAVs: a 16-letter answer to the clue "LOOK", clue for ARE, and Peter SELLERS (great clip, H-G!).

Thought of Poe's "The TELL TALE Heart"

Jinx. You sound enthusiastic about your trip. Safe travels!

FLN: PK. Thank you for sharing about your farm. Many do not understand how much risk farmers take on. You have to love it to do it. I know you would rather bring in a crop than cash the insurance check. (virtual hug)

Shirley Z said...

Nope, not on the same brain wave.

CrossEyedDave said...

Picard, the key word was "imaginary."

unlike my prenuptial agreement...

Just a little faith and trust is all it takes...
yeah, not in this state...

TTP said...

What would Elmer Fudd say about those WII remotes?

He'd say,"They awe wiimotes, you silly wabbits!"

Lee said...

No way! I threw in the towel.

PK said...

Whew! WEES! Filled it with a lot of red-letter runs. Not in any language I speak. Thanks, Gary.

Sumdaze, thank you for your comment. I don't know how extensive the lack of wheat harvest was but it could affect the price of flour-based items like bread for every consumer. My DIL's pa planted 3,000 acres of wheat and only harvested a few hundred acres.

Vidwan827 said...

I took a long time to finish the puzzle, but it being a Saturday, I was not going to be disappointed... Thank YOu Matthew Stock and Caitlin Reid, for the extra challenge and some very punny and clever clues.!!

Thank You Husker Gary for all your explanations, and funny commentary. Its always a real treat !

I was flumoxxed at several places, .... but I was familiar with PLAICE, ( maybe from novels situated in England ?) ... I just didn't know it rhymed with BASS, or.... that BASS rhymed with ... base ??
I knew one of them had to pronounced, as written...
Ooh ! English is such a phonetic language !!! ... to be further 'reformed' and 'amended' only by/ especially by ... the French !!!@!!!

29 Across: Percocet, Codeine etc., - OPIATES ... Psst, this is not properly correct ... just don't tell this to an organic chemist/drug manufacturer (legal -) or a Pharmacist who's just completed his/her Pharm.D. ...

Percocet ... is over > 95% Tylenol .... + 1 to 3% Oxy-Codone. ( e.g. 325 mg Acetyl aminophenol -Tylenol, + 5 to 7 mg Oxycodone ) .... Tylenol is an organic drug which acts like a moderate pain killer - it has nothing to do with Opiates/Opioids.

Oxycodone is a synthetic or semi-synthetic OPIOID.
BUT NOT an OPIATE !... it is still mighty powerful.

Codeine, however,.... is an Opiate. Directly from the poppy plant exudation.
Opiates, come out the Poppy sap/seed/ bud/straw etc... Opium, Heroin, morphine, and Codeine. ( Actually, even Heroin - a di-acetate of opium, is also sometimes, considered "semi synthetic" ...)

Opioids are mostly synthetic ... Oxy-, Hydro-codones, Fentanyl etc., ...
Thus, Opioids are of 3 types ... (full) synthetic, semi-synthetic and also natural.

So .... Opioids could include Opiates ( especially in 'loose' language of, say, politicians !! )

But Opiates obviously, do NOT include all Opioids.
That is where, the answer to the clue is wrong, or mistaken.

Having contributed my two bits worth, Rant to most of you .... and maybe, dulled your pain/ or given you a headache/ and put you to sleep .... I end.

** Meanwhile, I still struggle with my near addiction to Ambien, which neither an Opiate or an Opioid. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ..... thats how smart, I am ......

Anonymous said...

Looks like I was in good company with this one — the NW corner was the last to fall, with an inordinate amount of brain-twisting needed! That wall-to-walk 18A was my fave, with TENHUT as a close second. Don’t know how I pulled the wabbit outta the hat on it but somehow FIR, mainly thanks to SLOWLORIS, which filled in that unheard-of, bass-playing fish…

A tip of the fedora to H-Gary for another entertaining review; the Peter Sellers clip was great, I’d forgotten that one. But my all-time favorite “Pink Panther” bit?
“Does your dug baht?”
“No.” (reaches down to pet dog)
“Ah, nice duggie — OW!!! I thot you zed your dug does nut baht?!?”
“Ees nut mah dug…” πŸ€£πŸ‘πŸ½

====> Darren / L.A.