LA Times Crossword 11 Sep 18, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Bruce Haight & Natalie Murphy
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Clue Order?

Themed clues are common types of order, but each has been reinterpreted as an imperative:

  • 11A. Cease and desist order? : CUT!
  • 18A. Court order? : ALL RISE!
  • 27A. Reverse order? : ABOUT FACE!
  • 45A. Money order? : STICK ‘EM UP!
  • 58A. Work order? : GET BUSY!
  • 65A. Gag order? : SHH!
  • 5D. Restraining order? : STOP IT!
  • 46D. Pecking order? : KISS ME!

Bill’s time: 5m 13s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

17. “NCIS: Los Angeles” actress : NIA LONG

Nia Long is an American actress who is probably best known for playing Will Smith’s sometime girlfriend and fiancee Lisa Wilkes on the TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”.

NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The service gives its name to the CBS TV show “NCIS”, a spin-off drama from “JAG” in which the main “NCIS” characters were first introduced. The big star in “NCIS” is the actor Mark Harmon. “NCIS” is now a franchise, with spin-off shows “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “NCIS: New Orleans”.

21. NBC weekend fixture, briefly : SNL

NBC first aired a form of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in 1975 under the title “NBC’s Saturday Night”. The show was actually created to give Johnny Carson some time off from “The Tonight Show”. Back then “The Tonight Show” had a weekend episode, and Carson convinced NBC to pull the Saturday or Sunday recordings off the air and hold them for subsequent weeknights in which Carson needed a break. NBC turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to put together a variety show to fill the vacant slot, and he came up with what we now call “Saturday Night Live”.

22. Distinctive flair : ELAN

Our word “élan” was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours, i.e “style, flair”.

23. Modern renewable fuel : BIODIESEL

Biodiesel is a fuel made from vegetable oil or animal fat. The first diesel engine (made by Rudolf Diesel) ran on biodiesel, specifically peanut oil.

35. “Angie Tribeca” TV network : TBS

The tbs cable television station started out in 1967 as local broadcast TV station in Atlanta. The station’s first call letters were WJRJ-TV, and this was changed to WTCG in 1970 when it was acquired by Ted Turner (the TCG stood for Turner Communications Group). In 1976, Turner started distributing WTCG via satellite making its programming available in other parts of the country. WTCG was only the second channel to transmit via satellite, following HBO. The difference was that WTCG was broadcast without requiring a premium subscription. The station’s call sign was changed again in 1979 to WTBS, with TBS standing for Turner Broadcasting System. In 1981, the channel adopted the moniker “Superstation WTBS”.

“Angie Tribeca” is a sitcom created by Steve Carell and his wife Nancy Walls Carell. The title role is an LAPD police detective played by actress Rashida Jones.

40. Bergen of “Murphy Brown” : CANDICE

The actress and former model Candice Bergen is the daughter of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen (of Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd fame). The first Candice Bergman film I remember seeing is 1970’s “Soldier Blue”, which was very big on the other side of the Atlantic, and not so much here in North America. She also played the title role in the sitcom “Murphy Brown” for ten years in the eighties and nineties.

“Murphy Brown” is a very successful sitcom that premiered in 1988 and ran for almost ten full years. The title character is an investigative journalist and television news anchor played by Candice Bergen. In the show’s 1991-92 season, Brown becomes pregnant and decides to have the child and raise it alone, as the father is unwilling to be a parent. Vice President Dan Quayle hit the headlines in 1992 when he criticized the Brown character for “mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone” in a campaign speech. The show’s writers embraced the ensuing public discussion on family values, and used actual footage from the speech to depict Vice President Quayle as passing judgment on the Murphy Brown character in the storyline. To this day, that speech is referred to as the “Murphy Brown speech”.

42. Drunkard : SOT

Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning “fool”. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.

43. Dubai’s fed. : UAE

Dubai is one of the seven Emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy.

50. Continent explored by Marco Polo : ASIA

Marco Polo was a merchant from Venice and a famous traveler throughout Asia. Polo journeyed with his father and uncle on an epic tour of Central Asia and China that lasted 24 years. Marco tends to be the member of the party we remember today though, because it was he who documented their travels in a book called “Il Milione”.

54. Scalawag : SCAMP

The American word “scalawag” meaning “rogue” was coined as a nickname for southern white people who supported reconstruction after the Civil War.

63. Not worth a __ : SOU

A sou is an old French coin. We use the term “sou” to mean “an almost worthless amount”.

64. Muzzle-loading gadgets : RAMRODS

A ramrod is a stick that is inserted into the barrel of an older firearm in order to pack the bullet or ball tightly against the charge of gunpowder. A ramrod can also be used to push a cleaning rag through the barrel of a gun.

66. Kindle download : APP

Amazon’s Kindle line of e-book readers was introduced in 2007. The name “kindle” was chosen to evoke images of “lighting a fire” through reading and intellectual stimulation. I bought myself a Kindle Fire HD a few years ago. I’ve started reading e-books for the first time in my life, as well as enjoying other computing options available with the tablet device …

67. Chart-reading exam : EYE TEST

The commonly used eye chart (that starts with the letters “E FP TOZ LPED”) is called a Snellen chart. The test is named after its developer Herman Snellen, who introduced it way back in 1862.

Down

3. Shakespearean king with three daughters : LEAR

“King Lear” is one of William Shakespeare’s tragedies. Lear’s three daughters figure prominently in the story line. The three are, in order of age:

  • Goneril
  • Regan
  • Cordelia

4. Beach city near Hollywood : MALIBU

Malibu is a beach city in Southern California that is known as home to many Hollywood movie stars.

7. Taiwan-born director Lee : ANG

Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense & Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”.

8. River in a Stephen Foster song : SWANEE

“Old Folks at Home” is a minstrel song that dates back to 1851. Written by Stephen Foster, the song is also known as “Swanee River”, and is the state song of Florida. The song’s narrator is African slave, and the original lyrics use very offensive terminology. “Old Folks at Home” remains the state song of Florida, although the lyrics were cleaned up in 2008.

Stephen Foster was a songwriter active in the 19th century who is sometimes referred to as “the father of American music”. Foster wrote some really famous songs, including “Oh! Susanna”, “Camptown Races”, “My Old Kentucky Home”, “Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair” and “Beautiful Dreamer”. Despite the success of his songs, Foster made very little cash in his own lifetime. That all went to his publishers, with the composer impoverished in the last few years of his life.

10. Pioneering ISP : AOL

AOL was a leading Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the 1980s and 1990s. The company does still provide dial-up access to the Internet for some subscribers, but most users now access AOL using faster, non-AOL ISPs.

12. Celestial bear : URSA

The constellation Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called “the Big Dipper” because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, “the Plough”.

21. Incites to attack, with “on” : SICS

Sic ’em is an attack order given to a dog, one instructing the animal to growl, bark or even bite. The term dates back to the 1830s, with “sic” being a variation of “seek”.

26. Biblical garden : EDEN

According to the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in a garden “in” Eden, with Eden being geographically located by reference to four rivers including the Tigris and the Euphrates. Some scholars hypothesize that Eden was located in Mesopotamia, which encompasses much of modern-day Iraq.

28. Scraps for Fido : BONES

“Fido”, the name for many a dog, is Latin for “I trust”.

29. President between Bush and Trump : OBAMA

Despite rumors to the contrary, Barack Hussein Obama II was indeed born in Hawaii. Future US President Obama was born on August 4, 1961 at Kapi’olani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii.

31. Poppy product : OPIUM

The opium poppy is the source of the narcotic alkaloids known as opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sap of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally-occurring drugs of morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.

32. Gambling mecca near Hong Kong : MACAU

Macau (also “Macao”) is an autonomous territory of China located on the Pearl River estuary about 40 miles west of Hong Kong. Macau was a Portuguese colony from the mid-1500s until 1999. It was in fact the first European colony in China, and the last, having been handed back to the Chinese in 1999, two years after Hong Kong was returned by the British. Macau’s economy is driven by tourism and gambling. The territory’s gaming revenue is the highest for any gambling center in the world.

38. Bill for drinks : BAR TAB

When we run a tab at a bar say, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

39. Bart Simpson’s sister : LISA

Lisa Simpson is Bart’s brainy younger sister on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Lisa is voiced by actress Yeardley Smith. In a 2008 episode of the show, Lisa enters a crossword tournament. Crossword celebrities Merl Reagle and Will Shortz make appearances in that episode, basically playing cartoon versions of themselves.

40. San Francisco’s __ Tower : COIT

Coit Tower is a renowned memorial in San Francisco that sits atop Telegraph Hill. The full name of the structure is the Lillian Coit Memorial Tower, recognizing a generous bequest to the city by wealthy socialite Lillie Hitchcock Coit. There is an urban myth in these parts that the tower was designed to resemble the nozzle of a fire hose, as Lillie used to like chasing fires and hanging out with firefighters.

49. Online admin : SYSOP

System operator (sysop)

51. “Family Guy” creator MacFarlane : SETH

Seth MacFarlane is best known for creating the very successful (although they don’t get my vote!) animated TV shows “Family Guy” and “American Dad!”. My kids love ’em …

56. Rx items : MEDS

There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

57. Sibilant summons : PSST!

“Sibilant” is a lovely word that describes a sound of speech, i.e. the sound of an “s” or “z”, a hissing sound. The word “sissies”, for example, has three sibilant sounds.

59. NATO founding member : USA

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an international military alliance that was established in 1949. NATO headquarters was initially set up in London, moved to Paris in 1952, and then to Brussels 1967.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Setting for smooth sailing : CALM SEA
8. Aptly, it rhymes with “ahh” : SPA
11. Cease and desist order? : CUT!
14. Stuffed oneself : ATE A TON
15. Pursue romantically : WOO
16. Valuable metal : ORE
17. “NCIS: Los Angeles” actress : NIA LONG
18. Court order? : ALL RISE!
20. Remove varnish from : STRIP
21. NBC weekend fixture, briefly : SNL
22. Distinctive flair : ELAN
23. Modern renewable fuel : BIODIESEL
27. Reverse order? : ABOUT FACE!
30. Assures the sad fate of : DOOMS
34. Easy throw : LOB
35. “Angie Tribeca” TV network : TBS
36. “Help me out, will ya?” : BE A PAL
37. Facilitates : ENABLES
40. Bergen of “Murphy Brown” : CANDICE
41. Stay behind : REMAIN
42. Drunkard : SOT
43. Dubai’s fed. : UAE
44. Former Russian rulers : TSARS
45. Money order? : STICK ‘EM UP!
48. Words said with an extended fork : TASTE THIS
50. Continent explored by Marco Polo : ASIA
53. Talk on and on : YAP
54. Scalawag : SCAMP
58. Work order? : GET BUSY!
60. Shoe cushions : INSOLES
62. Abbr. used to save space : ETC
63. Not worth a __ : SOU
64. Muzzle-loading gadgets : RAMRODS
65. Gag order? : SHH!
66. Kindle download : APP
67. Chart-reading exam : EYE TEST

Down

1. Some recyclables : CANS
2. Going __: fighting : AT IT
3. Shakespearean king with three daughters : LEAR
4. Beach city near Hollywood : MALIBU
5. Restraining order? : STOP IT!
6. Quite some time : EON
7. Taiwan-born director Lee : ANG
8. River in a Stephen Foster song : SWANEE
9. Voting sites : POLLS
10. Pioneering ISP : AOL
11. Wind up like a snake : COIL
12. Celestial bear : URSA
13. High-schooler, typically : TEEN
19. Put another roll of film in : RELOAD
21. Incites to attack, with “on” : SICS
24. More than occasionally : OFTEN
25. Blots gently : DABS
26. Biblical garden : EDEN
27. Warning : ALERT
28. Scraps for Fido : BONES
29. President between Bush and Trump : OBAMA
31. Poppy product : OPIUM
32. Gambling mecca near Hong Kong : MACAU
33. Catch some z’s : SLEEP
36. Cookie recipe yield : BATCH
38. Bill for drinks : BAR TAB
39. Bart Simpson’s sister : LISA
40. San Francisco’s __ Tower : COIT
42. Dance move : STEP
45. Postpone one’s bedtime : STAY UP
46. Pecking order? : KISS ME!
47. Go along with : ESCORT
49. Online admin : SYSOP
50. Quite some time : AGES
51. “Family Guy” creator MacFarlane : SETH
52. Nagging desire : ITCH
55. Sunburn reliever : ALOE
56. Rx items : MEDS
57. Sibilant summons : PSST!
59. NATO founding member : USA
60. Fury : IRE
61. “Aye? Not!” : NAY!

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10 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 11 Sep 18, Tuesday”

  1. LAT: 8:09, but with a really stupid one-square error (that I sorta knew was wrong, but was too impatient to look at any longer). Newsday: 6:19, no errors. WSJ: 9:05, no errors. Jones: 9:11 (really!), no errors; difficult one for old non-texters like me. Croce later …

    And today’s date always depresses me … 😳

    1. Croce: 1:03:49, no errors. The usual Croce experience: 15 or 20 minutes to the first entry; the growing conviction that this time, finally, all is lost; a few minor breakthroughs; then a few more; and … after an hour, victory! An astonishing puzzle!

  2. 7:41. Completely whiffed on the theme. In trying to think of something interesting or intelligent to say about this puzzle, I drew a blank. I’ll check back if anything pops into my head.

    Best –

  3. Pretty slow time, but only one error. I didn’t know the old French coin
    and used SVU, thinking of “System VP” going down. Made sense at the time.
    Got “Puzzleer Block” after getting most of it and had to return to it after my nap. The ones we had left came to me pretty nicely after the break. Enjoyed this one.
    Bill was right on, also some of the other guys had fast times.

  4. I did this in pretty good time … for me, that is. The long answers were not so easily parsed until I got few more clues than usual. The various ‘orders’ were very cute and punny. I thought I’d see an “order” for the medical staff or nuns and monks, as well. All in all. lots of fun.

    I am surprised that Rudolf Diesel used peanut oil for his engine …. peanuts are a tropical crop, in Georgia US, Africa, India, China etc. not something you would see in sub-artic state of Germany. I’ve heard that the sale of used frying oil and meat lard gunk which is often collected in fast food restaurants, in special tanks, is sold to resellers ( lie scrap metal etc.) and can add 5 percent to the shops gross receipts. (Seems high – ).

    Abu Dhabi at 87% and Dubai at 8% … together have 95% of the land , ( and the population ? ) of UAE. The rest of the 5 states at 5%, all together, are almost a “tail” to the federation.

    Welcome to the blog Mr. Dickerson,
    Have a nice day, all.

  5. Greetings from the Night Watch!!🙃

    No errors on; cute theme. Noticed two crosswordese entries that require crosses to know which accepted spelling is at play: TSARS and MACAO. 🤔

    Just yesterday I was watching some clips of CANDICE Bergen, in the film “Starting Over.” I remembered a scene with Burt Reynolds, who also starred, but I couldn’t find it. Anyway, Bergen was so funny in that film! She plays a wannabe singer with an awful voice. 🎶

    Be well ~~🇺🇸

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