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


Apr 20, 2024

Saturday, April 20, 2024, Rich Feely

 Saturday Themeless by Rich Feely

This appears to be an LA Times debut for Rich. For some reason I had got a good jumping off place on the East side as ITALIAN ICE and SO LAST YEAR surrendered quite easily. I had a few bumps in the road, particularly with 24. NY and LA: STS. which I will address later.


1. Turn two fives into a ten?: ADD - A hilarious turn on this process


4. Key letter: PHI - Mine must have gotten lost in the mail 😊

7. Language spoken in the Gaeltacht: IRISH - Where IRISH/Gaelic is spoken.


12. Outstanding job: LOOSE END - The second definition is relative here.

15. Copycat's cry: ME TOO.

16. Best Original Song Oscar nominee with the lyric "Anywhere else, I'd be a ten": I'M JUST KEN - When Barbenheimer came out last year, I paid to see the latter and not the former.

18. Commandment word: SHALT.

19. Broadcast: GO ON THE AIR - BE and IS were replaced by GO

21. "Welp," quaintly: ALAS.

22. Act: DEED - On a corner of UNL's Memorial Stadium

23. Kir liqueur: CASSIS.


25. __ good: amazing: SCARY - Caitlin Clark

27. "Stop the negativity": DON'T HATE.

29. Polar formations: FLOES - Icebergs are large chunks of freshwater ice and compressed snow that break off glaciers and float southward on the Labrador Current. Ice FLOES, on the other hand, are chunks of frozen salt-water, also called pack-ice.

Penguins jumping between ice FLOES

30. Shakes up: JOLTS.

31. Chloé Zhao's alma mater: Abbr.: NYU - Chloé is a Chinese-American film maker. She won an Oscar for directing Nomadland

32. Frames: RIMS - ...or RIMLESS

33. Hermosillo houses: CASAS - Hermosillo is a city of nearly 700,000 in Mexico.

34. Level: TIER.

35. Urgent call, briefly: APB - All Points Bulletin has been replaced by BOLO - Be On the Look Out for

36. Flowing locks: MANES 😀

37. Chocolate source: CACAO.
38. Sealed: UNOPENED.

40. Spud: TATER - Billionaire J.R. Simplot of Boise Idaho made a "handshake" agreement with Ray Kroc in 1965 to grow potatoes for McDonalds French Fries. His company remains a big supplier of spuds for the company.

41. Seemed friendly: SMILED.

42. Many a rescue dog: MUTT.

43. Designer Cassini: OLEG - Well known as the designer for Jackie during the Camelot days

44. Photovoltaic devices: SOLAR CELLS - Our city's phase II of SOLAR CELLS a quarter mile south of me

49. Deli roll: BIALY.

51. Dawn of the moon exploration program?: EARTH RISE - During the Apollo 8 mission, Bill Anders took this picture of an EARTH RISE after they had passed behind the far side of the Moon and emerged on the other side.  

52. Didn't work: IDLED.

53. Epic: COLOSSAL.

54. Dips a toe in: TESTS.

55. Mint: NEW - This mint condition 2024 silver dollar is already worth $55.

56. Southern capital: Abbr.: ATL.


1. Former HBO persona: ALI G.

2. "__ arigato": DOMO.

3. "Cobra Kai" setting: DOJO - Moviedom's most famous karate studio is now up for rent

4. Bugs: PESTERS.

5. Pronoun choice: HE THEY - A person choosing these preferences would accept, "He solved the puzzle" or "They solved the puzzle."

6. Tattoo culture magazine: INKED.

7. Online convos: IMS -  Immediate Messaging

8. Discuss ad nauseam: REHASH - My first faculty had to REHASH the "gum chewing" issue for years because it was a pet peeve of the principal.

9. Treat in a little white cup: ITALIAN ICE.

10. Way passe: SO LAST YEAR.

11. Red __: HOTS - How they looked in my misspent yute.

13. Treats in tall tulip glasses: SUNDAES - See above

1950's picture

14. "Snowfall" org.: DEA.

17. Patron saint of children: NICOLAS - Ho, Ho, Ho.

20. Bloviates: RANTS - The political season is coming up

24. NY and LA: STS - 😫 I took the bait for two cities. After way too much time I saw there were no periods for abbreviations and that NY and LA stand for the STateS of New York and Louisiana. 

25. Toy for bodysurfing on land: SLIP 'N SLIDE.

26. Drive-through options: COMBO MEALS - 1,600 Calories

27. Shot in the arm, say: DOSED 😀

28. Capital of 20 countries: EURO.

29. German woman: FRAU.

30. Alias in court: JANE DOE.

33. Carolina team, informally: CANES.

34. Ribbons: TATTERS.

36. Allen known as the "Voice of the Yankees": MEL.

37. Purina brand: CAT CHOW - Our kitty doesn't do dry food

39. Milne character in a green striped romper: PIGLET - Every picture of PIGLET I saw had him in a pink striped romper. I found this one in an embroidery kit

40. Reptile on a green container of car wax: TURTLE.
42. Podcaster/comedian Marc: MARON.

43. "In memoriam" piece: OBIT.

45. Supérieur, par exemple: LAC.

46. Vanderpump of "Vanderpump Rules": LISA.

47. Trial for an aspiring atty.?: LSAT.

48. Persuade: SELL.

50. Passing stat: YDS - Tom Brady's passing YDS convert to over 48 miles

Apr 19, 2024

Friday, April 19, 2024, Rebecca Goldstein


Good Morning, Cruciverbalists.  It is Friday and it is time for yours truly, Malodorus Manatee, to present a recap of today's puzzle by veteran (and that's an understatement) constructor Rebecca Goldstein.

Today's solve was no walk in the proverbial park as there were several elements in this eclectic mixture that challenged this solver and, perhaps, you, too.

Depending on what one wishes to include, there are roughly fifteen proper nouns in this puzzle.  Proper nouns are great if you know the answer but they can be trouble if you don't.  There are several foreign-language answers in the grid and several answers that, again depending on what one wishes to include, consist of more than one word (e.g. does I-beam count?).  Toss in a couple of references of the wurst kind, two (or three) Greek alphabet references, and some obligatory oblique (Friday) cluing and the head scratching becomes inevitable. . . and that's before we deal with the clever theme.

Upon completing the puzzle, and for some time thereafter, this solver was not able to identify a theme.  A unifying clue/answer would have helped - but there was none.  I saw the "international" two-word clues, each punctuated with a question mark, but failed to put the pieces together.  Perhaps I was a bit word weary from the solve itself or maybe I just could not see the forest for the trees.  In any event, I reached out to the Crossword Corner blog staff and, with their assistance, the fog lifted.  Each themed clue is a common expression in English which includes a country name.  Each themed answer fits the clue but requires that we re-imagine the expression as being defined in terms of  something other than its common meaning.  The theme is not in the answers.  It is to be found in the clues themselves.

Here are the themed clues and their answers:

17 Across:  American cheese?: POTUS.  Not as in what you might have used last Friday on National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day.  As in the idiom the "Big Cheese".  The President OThe United States is a "Big Cheese".

19 Across:  Irish cream?: EUROS.  Not Baileys.  Cream can be used, apparently, as a slang term for money.  Irish money.  See #27 in  100 Slang Words For Money

36 Across:  Spanish inquisition?: COMO ESTAS.  In this case not THE Spanish Inquisition.  As in to inquire, in Spanish, "How are you?"  Well, I guess the answer to that depends:

7 Down:  Australian open?: G'DAY MATE.  Not a tennis tournament reference.  Open as in an opening comment/greeting, I suppose.  

41 Down:  French press?: LE MONDE.  Not a coffee brewing reference.  The French newspaper (press).

43 Down:  English channel?: THE BEEB.  Not as in what we just now crossed to get to Great Britain from 41 Down (the English Channel).  A television channel.  Slang for the BBC.  British Broadcasting Corporation

49 Down: German mark?: UMLAUT.  Not the former German currency that was replaced by the Euro.  A punctuation mark used in the German language.

Let' take a look at the completed grid.  Its symmetry is elegant even without the placement of the themed answers.  With the placement of those answers it is even more impressive:

Here are the rest of the clues and answers:


1. AMC car known as "The Flying Fishbowl": PACER.  If you knew your American Motor Corporation models then this one was fairly easy.  If not, you had to wait for the perps which is a tough way to start a puzzle especially, in this instance, where the crossing with 1 Down might have formed a Natick.

6. "Saltburn" studio: MGM. As a further sign of the "updating" of our puzzles, a 2023 film was chosen to clue this instead of one of hundreds of classic MGM flicks.

9. Office characters: STAFF.  Because of the obligatory leading "cap", the clue might have been thought to refer to the cast of the TV show.  The answer did not require that degree of specificity.

14. Meaty flavor: UMAMI.  One of the five so-called basic tastes (together with Salty, Bitter, Sweet and Sour), UMAMI has been defined as "savory - characteristic of broths and cooked meats".

15. Nev. neighbor: IDA.  IDAho  What did Ida Ho?  She hoed her Mary Land while wearing her brand New Jersey.

16. Undefeated Ali: LAILA.  A frequent visitor.

18. Goldin of "All the Beauty and the Bloodshed": NAN.  A reference to the subject of a 2022 documentary about the activist named in the clue (and who's first name is the answer).

20. Uncertain syllables: UMS.  The topic of the inclusion of these sounds-people-might-make answers has previously, and extensively, been debated on The Corner.

21. Long-horned grasshopper: KATYDID.  A funny word and a funny-looking insect.

24. Captcha capture: BOT.

25. Slip through the cracks: SEEP.  The clue might have been taken as the idiom but that would have thrown one off the scent.

27. Ramblin' man, maybe: NOMAD.  Well, Rebecca and Patti did tee it up

Allman Brothers Band - 1972

28. Root vegetable with purple-flecked flesh: TARO.  A starchy vegetable frequently served up in our puzzles.

29. Actress Taylor-Joy: ANYA.  Although a winner of both a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe, this actress' name was unknown to this solver.  Perps to the rescue.

30. Spoken exams: ORALS.  My son recently took a battery of ORAL exams in hopes of qualifying to become a pirate.  His grades were okay, but not great.  He got high C's.

31. Washington University's business school: OLIN.

32. Arterial insert: STENT.  Today's let's-pass-on-the-graphic moment.

34. Fig. texted from traffic: ETA.  Or, a Greek alphabet reference.

35. Actor Nick: NOLTE.  This actor's name was known to this solver.

39. Some charcuterie slices: SALAMI.  One of the wurst clues.
42. Polling place sticker: I VOTED.  They now include the sticker with our mail-in ballots.

46. Walk through knee-deep snow, say: TREK.  A bit misleading (hey, it's Friday) because the answer is not snow-dependent.  

47. Unrefined: CRUDE.  I recently heard a dirty joke about oil drilling.  It was really CRUDE.

51. "Goodness": OH MY.

52. Pinnacle: ACME.  Sometimes it turns out to be APEX.

53. Alfa __: ROMEO.  Wherefore art thou?  Nah.  An automobile reference.

1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint

54. "Ja" opposite: NEIN.  Today's German lesson.

55. Letter before sigma: RHO.  One of today's Greek (alphabet) lessons.

56. Spicy sausage: HOT LINK.  The other wurst clue.

58. Lingerie buy: BRA.  There are many possibilities here but the three-letter requirement cuts things down to size (number and letter) pretty (lace, different colors) quickly.

59. Packed tightly: DENSE.

61. Tiny powerhouses?: AAS.  This one was not another of those sounds-people-might-make answers.

62. Part of building bridges: I BEAM.  Named for its shape when viewed in cross section.

64. Boss (around): ORDER.

65. "For shame!": TUT.  This is yet another one of those
 sounds-people-might-make answers.  It might have been clued as yet another proper noun.

67. Daisy known as the "Rosa Parks of the North": MYERS.  The Myers Family Story

68. UFO beings: ETS.  Extra TerrestrialS  Unidentified Flying Objects are now called Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena or UAPs

69. Neuroscience segments: LOBES.


1. Food with a national holiday in El Salvador: PUPUSAS.  If you started the puzzle at 1 Down then it might have been a rough start.  Oddly, while working on this recap I asked Valerie what I might snack on.  She served up a PUPUSA that she had recently purchased at that temple of Salvadoran cuisine - Costco.  It was delicious.

2. Terse request to chat: A MOMENT.  The only way this one seems to make sense to this solver is as a request to talk to someone and not as a request to chat electronically.  As in "Have you got A MOMENT?"

3. Reflective effect in some gemstones: CATS EYE.

         CATS EYE Gemstones                           Looking For Their Royalty Checks

4. Bird in a eucalyptus forest: EMU.  Eucalyptus tells us to conjure up something Australian.

5. Chance: RISK.  Noun or verb?  It didn't matter this time.

6. Cookie with green creme: MINT OREO.  How do I clue thee?  Let me count the ways.

8. Geometric designs that represent spiritual journeys: MANDALAS.

9. Toy in the final "Calvin and Hobbes" panel: SLED.  Here it is.  Bill Watterson walked away at the top of his game after declining to monetize his characters by, among other things, turning them into plush toys. 

10. Letter after sigma: TAU.  Another one of today's Greek (alphabet) lesson.

11. Big whiff: AIR BALL.  A basketball reference.

12. "Go! Go! Go!": FLOOR IT.  As we move into the electrified automobile future, FLOOR IT might survive whereas "Step On The Gas!" probably will not.  She's real fine my 400 NM?

13. Trick: FAST ONE.  As in to Pull a FAST ONE.

22. "I'll take that as __": A NO.  Yes

23. Face cards?: IDS.  Not IDS as compared to EGOS.  I.D. as in an identification card with, in this case, a head shot photo on it.

26. Blowout patch, at a diner: PANCAKE.  New jargon for this solver.  Usually, it is a sheet rock (drywall) reference.

28. "That may never be funny": TOO SOON.  Often posed as a question:  "Is it TOO SOON?"

33. "Top Chef" judge Colicchio: TOM.  Thanks, again, perps.  Often clued with a turkey reference.

35. Pt. of Loran: NAV.  Long Range NAVigation.

37. Prefix with economics or biology: MICRO.

38. Attach: TIE ON.  As opposed to a Liger?  (well, it was close)

39. Fame and fortune: STARDOM.  I always thought that I was destined for STARDOM but then I realized that my mass was below 0.08 solar masses.

40. Shooting sport: ARCHERY.  Hand up for first trying to make something firearm-related work out.

44. Kuwait or Qatar: EMIRATE.  People in Qatar don't like "The Flintstones" but people in AbuDhabi do.

45. Real powerhouses: DYNAMOS.

48. Turn: ROTATE.  A clue to be taken literally.  Not as in, for example, a baseball game at bat or a time to spin/roll the dice when playing a board game.

50. Many of the founding fathers, religiously: DEISTSDeism is the philosophical position and rationalistic theology that generally rejects revelation as a source of divine knowledge and asserts that empirical reason and observation of the natural world are exclusively logical, reliable, and sufficient to determine the existence of a Supreme Being as the creator of the universe. 

56. Women's health brand: HERS.  Lots of possible ways to clue this.  This way was fitting for a Friday challenge.

57. Decide not to run: KILL.  A press (run) reference as in to KILL a story.

60. Honorific in "Game of Thrones": SER.  I might be the only person around who has never watched an epidsdoe of "Game of Thrones" so thanks, perps.

63. Book jacket blurb: BIO.  Short for BIOgraphy and also a short biography.

That includes our international tour for this Friday.  Have a great weekend, everyone.  If you go  exploring, please travel safely!