LA Times Crossword 18 Sep 19, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Peter A. Collins
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Four Ones

Themed answers are each #1 hits:

  • 18A #1 hit for Jerry Lee Lewis : GREAT BALLS OF FIRE
  • 28A #1 hit for the Beach Boys : GOOD VIBRATIONS
  • 49A #1 hit for Johnny Rivers : POOR SIDE OF TOWN
  • 64A #1 hit for Jim Croce : BAD, BAD LEROY BROWN

Bill’s time: 6m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Starbucks orders, casually : JAVAS

Back in 1850, the name “java” was given to a type of coffee grown on the island of Java, and the usage of the term spread from there.

Starbucks is a coffee company based in Seattle, Washington. It is the largest coffeehouse company in the world and has over 19,000 stores. In the 1990s, Starbucks was opening one new store every single day! Starbucks is named after the chief mate on the Pequod in Herman Melville’s book “Moby Dick”.

16 Scandal-plagued energy company : ENRON

After all the trials following the exposure of fraud at Enron, several of the key players ended up in jail. Andrew Fastow was the Chief Financial Officer. He plea-bargained and received ten years without parole, and became the key witness in the trials of others. Even Fastow’s wife was involved and she was sentenced to one year for helping her husband hide money. Jeffrey Skilling (ex-CEO) was sentenced to 24 years and 4 months. Kenneth Lay (CEO) died in 2006 after he had been found guilty but before he could be sentenced. The accounting firm Arthur Andersen was found guilty of obstruction of justice for shredding thousands of pertinent documents and deleting emails and files (a decision that the Supreme Court later overturned on a technicality). But still, Arthur Andersen collapsed under the weight of the scandal and 85,000 people lost their jobs (despite only a handful being directly involved with Enron).

18 #1 hit for Jerry Lee Lewis : GREAT BALLS OF FIRE

“Great Balls of Fire” is a song recorded in 1957 by Jerry Lee Lewis. The song was used as the title for “Great Balls of Fire!”, a biographical film about Jerry Lee Lewis released in 1989 with Dennis Quaid in the main role.

Rock-and-roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis hit the big time when he released “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” in 1957. Famously, Lewis was wild on the stage, and is wild in his personal life. He has been married seven times in all, with two marriages only lasting a matter of months. His career took a downturn in the late fifties as the public learned of his 1957 marriage to his first cousin once removed, who was only 13 years old at the time.

22 Oscar winner Kazan : ELIA

Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. In 1999 Kazan was given an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.

23 Lemonlike fruit : CITRON

Most of our citrus fruits are hybrids of four original fruits: the pomelo, mandarin, papeda and citron.

24 Grocery chain with a red-and-white logo : IGA

The initialism “IGA” stands for “Independent Grocers Alliance”, and is a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago. The company uses the slogan “Hometown Proud Supermarkets”.

26 Like the Ninja Turtles : MUTANT

The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” started out as a parody of comic book superheroes, first appearing in a self-published comic book in 1984. A couple of years later the characters were picked up by someone who built a whole line toys around the characters, and then television and movies followed. Do you remember the names of all four of the Turtles? Their names were all taken from Renaissance artists:

  • Leonardo
  • Raphael
  • Michelangelo
  • Donatello

28 #1 hit for the Beach Boys : GOOD VIBRATIONS

“Good Vibrations” was a hit in 1966 for the Beach Boys that was composed by Brian Wilson, with lyrics by Milke Love. The recording of “Good Vibrations” was ground-breaking in that it took so long, with over 90 hours of tape amassed in the studio sessions.

33 Vornado product : FAN

Vornado is a manufacturer based in Andover, Kansas. The “Vornado” name is a portmanteau of “vortex” and “tornado”.

34 Landscaping tree : PIN OAK

The pin oak is also called the swamp Spanish oak. The name “pin oak” may have been given because the tree has many small and slender twigs. The name may also come from the fact that the hard wood from the tree was traditionally used to make wooden pins used in building construction.

35 Peter was the first one : POPE

The Catholic Church regards Saint Peter as the first to hold the papal office, as he was the first bishop of Rome. Peter took office in 30 CE and probably died in 64 CE, which makes him the longest-reigning pope.

38 Federal retirement org. : SSA

The Social Security Administration (SSA) was set up as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The first person to receive a monthly retirement benefit was Ida May Fuller of Vermont who received her first check for the sum of $22.54 after having contributed for three years through payroll taxes. The New Deal turned out to be a good deal for Ms. Fuller, as she lived to be 100 years of age and received a total benefit of almost $23,000, whereas her three years of contributions added up to just $24.75.

39 Couple of million? : ELS

There are a couple of letters L (els) in the word “million”.

42 Farm food : HAY

Hay is dried grass that is stored for use as animal fodder. Straw is comprised of the dried stalks of cereal plants, the residue left after the grain and chaff have been removed. Straw can also be used as animal fodder, as well as fuel, bedding and thatch.

43 Justice __ Bader Ginsburg : RUTH

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg serves on the US Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg was the second woman to join the Court, and was nominated by President Bill Clinton. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999 and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. During that time she did not miss one day on the bench. In 2009 Justice Ginsburg had surgery for pancreatic cancer, and was back to work 12 days later. She had left-lung lobectomy to remove cancerous nodules in 2018, which forced Justice Ginsburg to miss oral argument in January 2019, for the first time since joining the court 25 years earlier. Much of Ginsburg’s life is recounted in the excellent 2018 movie “On the Basis of Sex”.

49 #1 hit for Johnny Rivers : POOR SIDE OF TOWN

“Poor Side of Town” is a song that was co-written and recorded by Johnny Rivers, and released in 1966.

I saw Johnny Rivers perform for the very first time a few years ago at our local county fairgrounds, and a great show he puts on. The big hit for Johnny Rivers was “Secret Agent Man”. It is a song written especially for the opening title of the British TV show “Danger Man” when it was broadcast over here in America in the sixties. Remember that one, starring Patrick McGoohan?.

58 Italy’s Villa d’__ : ESTE

The Villa d’Este is a beautiful Renaissance villa situated close to Tivoli near Rome, Italy. It was built by Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, the son of Alfonso I d’Este and Lucrezia Borgia.

60 One of 12 on a die : EDGE

The numbers on a die are arranged so that the opposite faces add up to seven. Given this arrangement, the numbers 1, 2 and 3 all meet at a common vertex. There are two ways of arranging the 1, 2 and 3 around the common vertex, a so called right-handed die (clockwise 1-2-3) or a left-handed die (counterclockwise 1-2-3). Traditionally, dice used in Western cultures are right-handed, whereas Chinese dice are left-handed. Quite interesting …

64 #1 hit for Jim Croce : BAD, BAD LEROY BROWN

“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” is a song written and first performed by Jim Croce. It was a number-one hit for him in 1973. The song was inspired by a real-life Leroy Brown, who was someone that Croce met while serving in the US Army.

Jim Croce’s most successful songs were “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and “Time in a Bottle”. Like so many great singers it seems, Croce died in a plane crash. He was killed along with five others just after takeoff when the small commercial plane in which he was traveling hit a tree, possibly because the pilot had a heart attack. Croce died just a few days before the release of his album “I Got a Name”.

67 Brit’s kitchen floor : LINO

Lino (short for “linoleum”) was originally made by coating canvas with solidified linseed oil. The product’s inventor, Englishman Frederick Walton, give it the name “linoleum” from “linum” and “oleum”, the Latin for “linen” and “oil”.

71 Oboist’s supply : REEDS

When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance, you’ll note (pun!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.

72 Hired thugs : GOONS

The term “goon” was coined by American humorist Frederick J. Allen in a 1921 “Harper’s” piece titled “The Goon and His Style”. The article defines a good as “a person with a heavy touch” someone lacking “a playful mind”. The term was popularized in the “Thimble Theater” comic strips featuring Popeye. The first use of “goon” to describe a hired thug was in 1938, with reference to strikebreakers.

Murderers and robbers given to harassing travelers in India were known locally as “thuggees”, from the Hindi word for “thief”. This gave us our contemporary word “thug”, meaning “brute”.

Down

3 Dodge Viper engine : V-TEN

The Dodge Viper is an American sports car with a V10 engine. The Viper was introduced in 1991, and finally discontinued in 2017.

4 Slowly, in music : ADAGIO

An adagio is a piece of music with a slow tempo. The “adagio” marking on the score is an instruction to play the piece slowly and in a stately manner. The word “adagio” is Latin for “at ease”.

7 Undecided : IN LIMBO

In the Roman Catholic tradition, “Limbo” is a place where souls can remain who cannot enter heaven. For example, infants who have not been baptized are said to reside in Limbo. Limbo is said to be located on the border of Hell. The name was chosen during the Middle Ages from the Latin “limbo” meaning “ornamental border to a fringe”. We use the phrase “in limbo” in contemporary English to mean “in a state of uncertainty”.

8 Advice giver on SiriusXM Radio : DR LAURA

According to Dr. Laura Schlessinger herself, her radio show “preaches, teaches, and nags about morals, values and ethics.”

9 Canon camera named for a dawn goddess : EOS

I’ve been using Canon EOS cameras for decades now, and have nothing but good things to say about both the cameras and the lenses. The EOS name stands for Electro-Optical System, and was chosen because it evokes the name of Eos, the Titan goddess of dawn from Greek mythology.

10 Winter vehicle on treads : SNO-CAT

The brand name “Sno-Cat” is owned by the Tucker company. All snowcats are tracked vehicles built to work in snow, and are famously used in expeditions to the polar regions. The modern Sno-Cat from Tucker differs from its competitors in that it has four independently-mounted tracks.

13 Another, in España : OTRO

In Spanish, “Spain” is written as “España”.

19 One of a pair of cartoon slackers : BEAVIS

“Beavis and Butt-Head” is an adult cartoon television show and film. The show ran on MTV, which is only one reason why I’ve never seen it …

25 National econ. stats : GDPS

A country’s Gross National Product (GNP) is the value of all services and products produced by its residents in a particular year. GNP includes all production wherever it is in the world, as long as the business is owned by residents of the country concerned. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is different, although related, and is the value of all services and goods produced within the borders of the country for that year.

28 Go from E to F? : GAS UP

When gassing up a car, the fuel gauge might go from empty (E) to full (F).

31 Emphatic word of refusal : NOHOW

The peculiarly American term “nohow” means “not at all”. It comes from the words “no” and “how” constructed in the same way as the earlier word “nowhere”.

32 What salmon do upstream : SPAWN

When young salmon (born in freshwater) are at the smolt stage, they become adapted to saltwater and head for the sea. They return to freshwater to reproduce, often traveling long distances upstream.

40 River through Dublin : LIFFEY

The Liffey is the river flowing through Dublin, Ireland’s capital city. The Liffey is named for the plain through which it originally ran, called “Liphe” meaning “Life”.

41 Span. miss : SRTA

“Señorita” (Srta.) is Spanish, and “Mademoiselle” (Mlle.) is French, for “Miss”.

46 Attorney general under Ronald Reagan : ED MEESE

Ed Meese was born in Oakland, California and spent 24 years in the office of the Treasurer of Alameda County, the county in which I used to live. After military service, Meese earned himself a law degree at UC Berkeley. Later, as chief of staff for President Reagan, he was instrumental in a famous decision to crack down on student protesters at Berkeley which resulted in one protester dying and a two-week occupation of the city by the California National Guard.

50 Mohammad __ Pahlavi: last shah of Iran : REZA

The last Shah of Iran was Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was overthrown in the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this resentment precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.

55 OPEC units : BBLS

The volume of one oil barrel is equivalent to 42 US gallons. A barrel is correctly abbreviated to “bbl”. Barrels aren’t really used for transporting crude oil anymore. Instead, oil moves in bulk through pipelines and in tankers. “Barrel” is just used as a unit of volume these days.

57 Barry Humphries alter ego Dame __ : EDNA

Dame Edna Everage is the outrageous character created and played by Australian comedian Barry Humphries. I saw him/her perform live in a San Francisco theater, and what a great show it was …

61 Extinct bird : DODO

The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and dove, although the fully-grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago (last recorded alive in 1681) and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius and when man arrived, we cut back the forests that were its home. We also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests. The dodo was deemed to be an awkward flightless bird and so the term “dodo” has come to mean a dull-witted person.

62 __ Stacy: Spider-Man love interest : GWEN

Gwen Stacy is one of two romantic interests in the life of Spider-Man/Peter Parker. Gwen was Peter Parker’s first love, until he transferred his affections to Mary Jane Watson.

63 They might be loose or tight : ENDS

That would be football.

65 Ka __: southernmost Big Island point : LAE

Ka Lae is the most southerly point on the Big Island of Hawaii, and indeed the most southerly point of the fifty states in the US. It is believed that the first Polynesians to settle the Hawaiian Islands landed at Ka Lae.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Starbucks orders, casually : JAVAS
6 Carnival staples : RIDES
11 Chance : SHOT
15 Perform better than : OUTDO
16 Scandal-plagued energy company : ENRON
17 Witness’ promise : OATH
18 #1 hit for Jerry Lee Lewis : GREAT BALLS OF FIRE
21 Squealed on the bad guys : SANG
22 Oscar winner Kazan : ELIA
23 Lemonlike fruit : CITRON
24 Grocery chain with a red-and-white logo : IGA
26 Like the Ninja Turtles : MUTANT
28 #1 hit for the Beach Boys : GOOD VIBRATIONS
33 Vornado product : FAN
34 Landscaping tree : PIN OAK
35 Peter was the first one : POPE
37 Application : USE
38 Federal retirement org. : SSA
39 Couple of million? : ELS
42 Farm food : HAY
43 Justice __ Bader Ginsburg : RUTH
45 Get going : BESTIR
48 Have bills : OWE
49 #1 hit for Johnny Rivers : POOR SIDE OF TOWN
53 “Let’s get together” : MEET ME
54 Best-liked, briefly : FAV
55 Kite carrier : BREEZE
58 Italy’s Villa d’__ : ESTE
60 One of 12 on a die : EDGE
64 #1 hit for Jim Croce : BAD, BAD LEROY BROWN
67 Brit’s kitchen floor : LINO
68 Abates : EASES
69 Threw in : ADDED
70 Dispatch, as a dragon : SLAY
71 Oboist’s supply : REEDS
72 Hired thugs : GOONS

Down

1 Easy runs : JOGS
2 General feeling : AURA
3 Dodge Viper engine : V-TEN
4 Slowly, in music : ADAGIO
5 Drunkard : SOT
6 Genuine : REAL
7 Undecided : IN LIMBO
8 Advice giver on SiriusXM Radio : DR LAURA
9 Canon camera named for a dawn goddess : EOS
10 Winter vehicle on treads : SNO-CAT
11 Convertible type : SOFT TOP
12 Tiny margin of victory : HAIR
13 Another, in España : OTRO
14 “__ what?” : THEN
19 One of a pair of cartoon slackers : BEAVIS
20 It’s over in France : FINI
25 National econ. stats : GDPS
27 Grow fond of : TAKE TO
28 Go from E to F? : GAS UP
29 __ a customer : ONE TO
30 “Soon” : IN A BIT
31 Emphatic word of refusal : NOHOW
32 What salmon do upstream : SPAWN
33 Stole from a coat store? : FUR
36 __ contact : EYE
40 River through Dublin : LIFFEY
41 Span. miss : SRTA
44 Neighborhood pal, in slang: HOMEBOY
46 Attorney general under Ronald Reagan : ED MEESE
47 Blows one’s stack : SEES RED
50 Mohammad __ Pahlavi: last shah of Iran : REZA
51 Farm contraption : SEEDER
52 Engage in to excess : OVERDO
55 OPEC units : BBLS
56 Mass transit option : RAIL
57 Barry Humphries alter ego Dame __ : EDNA
59 Mix, as salad : TOSS
61 Extinct bird : DODO
62 __ Stacy: Spider-Man love interest : GWEN
63 They might be loose or tight : ENDS
65 Ka __: southernmost Big Island point : LAE
66 Purse : BAG

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 18 Sep 19, Wednesday”

  1. LAT: 12:57, no errors. Newsday: 6:22, no errors. WSJ: 12:03, no errors.

    Working my way through those old WSJ daily puzzles that I missed when they first came out: so far, I’ve completed 13 out of 40 weeks of them, and it’s interesting to see how they evolved.

    1. That’s one of the things I want to do, eventually (mind you I have probably 12-15 weeks of puzzles I didn’t do before I found the WSJ). The ones after that may be different, since I remember I struggled so mightily on those back in 16 (and struggle on the metas mightily now compared to 16). Funny how that works.

      1. @Glenn …

        I’ve now done all but five of the 92 WSJ puzzles that I have from 2015 (09/14 through 12/31), including 14 metas.

        I got all of the metas quite literally within seconds except for one. That one required knowing which of eight Monopoly tokens was missing from the theme answers. I had to use Google to find a list and was somewhat led astray by the fact that the list has changed since 2015. In any case, my answer was Alvin “DOGgie” Julian, rather than SCOTTIE Pippin, for the NBA Hall of Fame inductee whose name was required, and I think I can argue that my answer is almost as good as the “correct” one (though not as current.)

        I’m sure that I will run into harder metas in the puzzles from 2016, but I’m convinced that going through them in the order in which they were published is good practice.

        The Saturday (21×21) WSJ puzzles from 2015 seem quite a bit harder than more recent ones, but some of them are remarkably elegant.

  2. Javas? Starbucks has their own language, it doesn’t include Javas. To specifically use Starbucks is really too intentionally misleading.

  3. I thought we had gotten it all, but I made 3 errors. I misspelled OTRO (OTRE) and
    missed PIN OAK, using TAN OAK from the dictionary. Took our usual 1.5 hours time,
    but I am very satisfied with the result and got all of the songs right.

    99.5% for the week so far.

  4. 15:18. A lot tougher than I was expecting. I also thought the theme answers would have something more in common than just being number 1’s. I was looking for a pattern that isn’t there.

    I didn’t know POOR SIDE OF TOWN, but I do remember “Secret Agent Man”. I also didn’t realize NOHOW is one word….or that it’s even correct English.

    So all citrus fruits come from those 4? I’ve heard of a mandarin, but that’s it.

    Ashamed to admit my liking of “Beavis and Butthead”. I’ve heard the target audience of that show was men in their mid 30’s and 40’s living their childhood vicariously through those 2 in caricature form. Seems spot on to me. Funny funny stuff when you’re in the mood for it.

    Best –

  5. 16:01 and no errors. But it wasn’t for lack of trying by the sneaky clues in this one. A lot of write-overs in the top center quadrant for me.

  6. This puzzle was made for me and my era. The late Jim Croce was one of my husband’s favorites, Sicilian of course.
    I saw Johnny Rivers (real name, Ramistella) at the NYS Fair many years ago.
    Did not actually know LIFFEY or Vornado. Had “nose” before HAIR.
    No Googles, no errors.

  7. Well, this was a bust for me. For 11D, I had CASTRO, which also messed up six of the seven intersecting acrosses. I don’t get it- everybody’s heard of a Castro convertible, but I never heard of Softtop convertibles.
    Also, yesterday Carrie said she hates seeing QUE PASA. Well, I talked to Mr. Pasa, and he said he doesn’t actually enjoy seeing Carrie either, so I guess they’re even.

  8. 0 errors; several erasures. Not so easy for a Wed.
    18A: Jerry Lee once showed up at Graceland with a handgun, looking to shoot Elvis. Do you think he was a little envious? Elvis’s guys called the cops before they knew who it was. Elvis did not press charges.
    25D: What used to be Gross National Product (GNP) has been Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for a good number of years now. Yet in puzzles, it’s mostly been as if this change never happened. Today’s puzzle marks the first I’ve ever seen GDP twice without GNP popping up between. Perhaps the constructor’s reference has finally been updated.
    Re 72A notes: To paraphrase Amos and Andy, I guess you’re either the thuggor or the thuggee.
    8D: We have our own Dr. Laura in Chicago. She was a GP but is now a Code Pinker. Those are the gals that disrupt things that are being televised, like Congressional hearings. And if she read what I just wrote, she’d know I’m being facetious when I say “gals.”
    Or am I?

    1. Forgot to say, re citron: In French, they use citron for both lemon and lime. But for lemon, they say yellow citron (citron jaune), and for lime, green citron (citron verte). I think it’s similar in Spanish.

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