, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: 2024


Mar 5, 2024

Tuesday, March 5, 2024 Patti Varol

 Vowel Progression.  Each theme answer is a two word name or phrase with the first letter is an F, the third letter is an N and the vowel in-between runs from A to U.

17-Across. Oscar-nominated writer of "Fried Green Tomatoes": FANNIE FLAGG.  Fannie Flagg (née Patricia Neal; b. Sept. 21, 1944) wrote the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe in 1987.  She later adapted the book in to the 1991 movie.   [Name # 1]

24-Across. Herbal brew with a licorice flavor: FENNEL TEA.  Fennel Tea really is a thing.

37-Across. Physical therapy that targets hand pain: FINGER EXERCISES.

51-Across. Container with melted cheese: FONDUE POT.  Yummers!

62-Across. Button needed in some macros: FUNCTION KEY.

What other FUN is in store today?

1. Nail polish layer: COAT.

If you've ever tried glitter nail polish, you can relate.

5. Bicycle for two: TANDEM.

11. Texter's "I think": IMO.  Textspeak for IMOpinion.

14. "Yeah, doubtful": UH, NO!

15. "Act your age!": GROW UP!

16. Go on the __: skip town: LAM.

19. Perjure oneself: LIE.

20. Thrifty: FRUGAL.

21. Actor Sheridan: TYE.  I am not familiar with this actor, but apparently he was in the X-Men series of films.  [Name # 2.]

Tye Kayle Sheridan (b. Nov. 11, 1996)

22. Fireworks show sound: BANG!

23. Nostalgic sch. visitor, perhaps: ALUM.  Alumni is the plural; Alumnus is the masculine singular and Alumna is the feminine singular.  If there are only a group of women former students, then the plural is Alumnae.

26. Spanish "this": ESTA.  Today's Spanish lesson.

28. Stranger than strange: EERIE.

29. D'backs, in box scores: ARI.  The Arizona Diamondbacks play professional baseball and are based in Phoenix, Arizona.

32. Pseudonym letters: AKA.  Also Known As.

34. Totally silly: INANE.

42. Puzzle genre: LOGIC.

43. __ de cologne: EAU.  //  Which intersects with 33-Down: Body spray brand: AXE.

44. Female sheep: EWE.

45. Some British peers: EARLS.

48. Cause of a bad air day: SMOG.  Cute and punny clue.

54. "Well, fudge": RATS.

57. Diva's solo: ARIA.

58. Card game cry: GIN.  More than you ever wanted to know about Gin.

59. Is worthy of: MERITS.

61. Prefix with diversity: BIO.  As in Biodiversity, which is the variety and variability of life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the genetic, species, and ecosystem level.

64. Gymnast Mary __ Retton: LOU.  Mary Lou Retton (b. Jan. 24, 1968) was the star of the 1984 Summer Olympics where she won a gold medal in the individual all-around competition, as well as two silver medals and two bronze medals.  [Name # 3.]

65. Folded egg dish: OMELET.

66. Makes do, with "out": EKES.

67. USCG rank: ENS.  One of the ranks of the United States Coast Guard is the Ensign.

68. Hold a grudge against: RESENT.

69. Paying close attention: RAPT.

1. Shirt sleeve's end: CUFF.

2. "A Mighty Wind" actress Catherine: O'HARA.  //  And 9-Down. "A Mighty Wind" actor Levy: EUGENE.  A Mighty Wind was a 2003 mocudocumentary about three eclectic, never-quite-famous folk bands that came together for the first time in decades following the death of their manager to put on an reunion concert in his honor.  Catherine O'Hara (née Catherine Anne O'Hara; b. Mar. 4, 1954) and Eugene Levy (b. Dec. 17, 1946) are hilarious in any film they are in together.  Catherine O'Hara celebrated her 70th birthday yesterday.  [Names # 4 and 5.]

3. Render invalid: ANNUL.

4. __-in-cheek: TONGUE.

5. Anti-dandruff shampoo by Neutrogena: T-GEL.

6. Dog kennel sound: ARF.

7. Nick of "48 Hrs.": NOLTE.  Nick Nolte (né Nicholas King Nolte; b. Feb. 8, 1941) has starred in a number of films.  48 Hrs. was first released over 40 years ago!  [Name # 6.]

8. Actor Johnson known as "The Rock": DWAYNE.  His given name is Dwayne Douglas Johnson (b May 2, 1972).  He, too has starred in a number of movies.  [Name # 7.]

10. Fuel economy meas.: MPG.  As in Miles Per Gallon.

11. Uncomfortable: ILL A TEASE.

12. Acadia National Park state: MAINE.  My home state.

Thunder Hole at Acadia National Park

13. __-3 fatty acid: OMEGA.

18. Proactive Health dog food maker: IAMS.  The company also makes food for cats and other critters.

22. Russian pancakes: BLINI.  Yummers!  Everything you wanted to know about Blinis but didn't know to ask.

24. Phony: FAKE.

25. "The Other Black Girl" actor McCormack: ERIC.  Eric James McCormick (b. Apr. 18, 1963) is a Canadian-American actor.  He is probably best recognized for his role in the television sit-com Will & Grace.  [Name # 8.]

27. La Brea __ Pits: TAR.

29. CIO partner: AFL.  The American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a federation of unions.

30. Brazilian city: RIO.  The city's formal name is Rio de Janeiro.  The name means River of January because it was "discovered" by the Portuguese on January 1, 1502.  Were they aware that the river was there before they "found" it?

31. Cleverly inventive: INGENIOUS.

35. Just out of the box: NEW.

36. Linguistic suffix: -ESE.  As in Portuguese, the language spoken in 30-Down.

38. "Everyday Italian" cookbook writer De Laurentiis: GIADA.  I am not up on my cookbook writers.  Giada Pamela De Benedetti (b. Aug. 22, 1970) is an Italian American chef, television personality and cookbook writer.  She was born in Rome, Italy, but now lives in the US.  [Name # 9.]

39. Neutral hue: ECRU.  The color comes in many shades.

40. West's opponent, in some All-Star games: EAST.  Think baseball games.

41. Mai tai liquor: RUM.  Yummers!  How to make a Mai Tai.

46. Peanut or pea: LEGUME.

47. Cactus quills: SPINES.

49. Cute name for a black-and-white pet: OREO.  I would never name my pet Oreo, but this is a fresh new clue for a crossword staple.

50. "Ozark" Emmy winner Julia: GARNER.  Ozark was a Netflix crime series.  Julia Gardner (Feb. 1, 1994).  [Name # 10.]

51. Aesop tale: FABLE.  You can read all the Aesop Fables here.  [Name # 11.]

52. Celestial hunter: ORION.  [Name adjacent.]

53. Dad's brother, in Paris: ONCLE.  Today's French lesson.

55. Chicken __ masala: TIKKA.  Chicken Tikka Masala is a dish that originated in India.  It is made of roasted marinated chicken in a spicy yogurt sauce.

56. Like a challenging climb: STEEP.

59. Baseball glove: MITT.

60. Method: Abbr.: SYST.  System.

62. The "F" of FYI: FOR.  For Your Information.

63. Low card in a royal flush: TEN.

And the Grid:


Mar 4, 2024

Monday March 4, 2024 Susan Gelfand


Happy Monday, everyone! sumdaze here. Jinx will probably get to this; but, I just wanted to mention that today is National Grammar Day. Perhaps you are asking, "Why is March 4th National Grammar Day?" Well, not only is March Fourth a date but it is also an imperative sentence. How fun is that?! Now, let us march forth with today's puzzle.


Constructor Susan Gelfand had me at "shoes". Let's begin with her reveal:

36. Step in for another, and what the answers to the starred clues literally do: FILL ONE'S SHOES.

Next, let's see how the four starred clues provide "fill" for shoes. My red letters represent the circled letters. Notice how they are on the outsides of the phrases. The black letters "fill in" the gap to create something altogether different.

18 Across. *Online journals for DIYers: CRAFT BLOGS.  
CLOGS  are shoes with thick, wooden soles.

23 Across. *Warm alcoholic beverages with sugar and spices: MULLED WINES.  
MULES have no backs or constraints on the foot's heel.

52 Across. *Horse-drawn excursions: SLEIGH RIDES.  
SLIDES are a comfortable sandal with a wide strap across the front part of the foot.
You can slide your foot in without adjusting buckles or laces.

58 Across. *Low-effort posts of vacation pics, say: PHOTO DUMPS.  
There are many variations of PUMPS but the classic style
is a slip-on shoe with a closed toe, one-piece design, and an appropriately chic heal.

Hmmm... I am just now noticing an additional layer to Susan's theme set. All four of the shoe styles are slip-ons. Perhaps that relates to the "step in" part of the reveal???

In case you were wondering... a PHOTO DUMP is a collection of photos and videos gathered together in one post on apps like Instagram. Rather than perfectly edited photos or videos, a PHOTO DUMP is a low-effort collection that conveys a story or a mood. I found this example on-line: 

Now might be a good time to try the grid on for size:  
Let's keep walking....

1. Graceful long-necked bird: SWAN.

5. Hoover Dam lake: MEAD.  If you're in the area, I recommend the Hoover Dam tour.  

9. Colorful quartz: AGATE.  
Wow! They certainly are colorful!

14. Roof spot for holiday lights: EAVE.

15. Moreno who owns the MLB's Angels: ARTE.  I suppose SoCal solvers who actually read the LA Times are more familiar with this name.

16. Like some pools: TIDAL.  This link takes you to some tips for exploring tide pools and a quick video of some of the curious-looking creatures you might see.

17. Cabbage side often served in tiny cups: SLAW.  

20. "The Little Mermaid" role for Halle Bailey: ARIEL.  Halle Bailey is not to be confused with Halle Berry just as the mermaid ARIEL is not to be confused with the font arial.  
Halle Bailey performing at Disneyland

22. Take up again, as a case: REHEAR.  court of law reference

26. Back in time: AGO.

29. Twisty letter: ESS.     and     30 Across. Neckline shape: VEE.  

31. "j" topper: DOT.  Remember to DOT your J's and cross your X's.

32. Cereal container: BOX.

33. Update to reflect new districts, say: REMAP.

35. Nondairy spread: OLEO.  Not to be confused with OLiO which is a miscellaneous collection of things. My memory trick is you can eat OLEO.  
What is Oleo -- And Why Is It In So Many of My Grandma's Recipes?

41. Printer stoppages: JAMS.  

42. The "C" of CEO: CHIEF.  CHIEF Executive Officer

43. Signs off on: OKs.

44. "C'__ la vie!": EST.  It's French for "Such is life!"
As it turns out, this is the title of the book currently at the top of my tsundoku.  

47. Turkish title: AGA.

48. Gibbon or gorilla: APE.

51. Former GM division with a globe in its logo: GEO.  
55. Respectable: DECENT.  

57. Divination deck: TAROT. cards

62. Brood: MOPE.  
Lily is the broody teen character in Duolingo.

63. Charitable sort: DONOR.

64. Uncommon: RARE.

65. Peevishness: BILE.  This is a good example of how a one-word clue can be much more difficult than a constructor might have intended.

66. Expert dealmaker: AGENT.

67. Storm centers: EYES.  Think "centers of storms" as opposed to "Weather Channel base camps".

68. Much of a sunflower: STEM.  
This is a pic of a "volunteer" sunflower in my yard when I lived in Colorado.
Yeah, mostly STEM.
Also, that's my dog, Meadow. She is mesmerized by the floating, blue circle.

1. __ seed bun: SESAME.  A surprisingly interesting 2 min. read on the history of hamburger buns

2. Arctic mammal with tusks: WALRUS.  Time for an (obvious) musical interlude.  
I Am The Walrus was part of The Beatle's Magical Mystery Tour in 1967.
It was released as the B-Side to Hello, Goodbye.
Lennon said part of his inspiration for the song was Lewis Carroll's poem

3. Makes use (of): AVAILS.

4. Banister post: NEWEL.  Even though it is a Monday, we can build our vocabularies.
5. Apple desktop: MAC.  

6. Make a mistake: ERR.

7. Pong producer: ATARI.  
How can something so groundbreaking in 1972 seem so lame today?

8. Stick up for: DEFEND.

9. Optimally: AT BEST.

10. Arizona river: GILA.  

11. Cute as can be: ADORABLE.  
The chick on the right is saying, "I don't remember you from the nest."

12. Identify, as on Facebook: TAG.

13. Above-the-street trains: ELS.

19. James of "The White Lotus": THEO.  IMDb page

21. Be honest (with): LEVEL.  
Can I LEVEL with you?
This comic feels forced.

24. First stage in many an HGTV renovation show, informally: DEMO.  Here is a 1:13 min. video montage of DEMO scenes from The Property Brothers.  

25. Gradually stop nursing: WEAN.

27. __ for it: takes a chance: GOES.

28. Kitchen gadget brand: OXO.

33. "Treasure Island" writer's monogram: RLS.  Treasure Island was Robert Louis Stevenson's (1850-1894) first novel. Here's a short bio.  He lived here in Monterey for a few months while waiting for his future wife's (Fanny's) divorce to finalize.

34. Bench press muscle, for short: PEC.

35. Gut punch reaction: OOF.

36. Art world fraud: FAKE.  This was my FAV clue today.  

37. "This is it for me!": I'M SO DONE.  Actually, there are still 17 clues left....

38. Hair or carpet style: SHAG.  
(L to R) SHAG carpet, SHAG haircut, Disney's  The SHAGgy DA movie (1976)

39. Express relief: SIGH.

40. Artichoke core: HEART.   Many of us save them for the "last bite". If you've only eaten artichokes from a jar or freezer, you do not know what you are missing!
Castroville, CA is the "Artichoke Capital of the World".
Go there to see the World's Largest Artichoke...
or just enjoy this pic!

41. Get some exercise on the track: JOG.  "JOG", like pong, is a 1972 reference.

44. Compact Ford succeeded by the Focus: ESCORT.  I changed ESCape to ESCORT.
The North American version of the Ford ESCORT entered the market in 1981 and lasted all the way until 2003. Hot Cars article

45. Snow coaster: SLED.

46. Time in office: TENURE.

48. Skillful: ADROIT.

49. Human beings: PEOPLE.  

50. Regard highly: ESTEEM.

53. "That could happen": IT MAY.

54. Poetic feet in Shakespeare: IAMBS.  Def. (noun) a metrical foot consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable. For example, the words amuse (a-MUSE), portray (por-TRAY), delight (de-LIGHT), and return (re-TURN) are all IAMBS.
The opening line to Romeo and Juliet has five IAMBS, making an iambic pentameter.
(2 syllables X 5 = 10 syllables)
Two households both alike in dignity

56. Venerable British school: ETON.  When Prince William enrolled at Eton College in 1995, he became the first senior royal to enroll there. His father (King Charles) and his grandfather (Prince Philip) both went to a boarding school in Scotland (Gordonstoun), but Princess Diana's father and brother had both attended Eton.

58. Kissing in the park, briefly: PDA.  "Briefly" does not refer to the duration of the kiss. It alerts us to an abbreviated answer.  Public Display of Affection  
59. Harley bike: HOG.  It's a nickname.

60. Post- opposite: PRE-.  ICU is a post-op place but Susan is referring to prefixes here.

61. French "his": SES.  

That's the last one. Have a great day, everyone and feel free to march forth in whichever shoes you prefer!