LA Times Crossword 19 Sep 20, Saturday

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Constructed by: Stella Zawistowski
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 8m 18s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 At least four yrs. old, for cognac : VSOP

Brandy is a spirit distilled from wine. The term “brandy” ultimately comes from the Dutch “gebrande wijn” meaning “burnt wine”. The length of this aging of the spirit defines the various grades of brandy:

  • VS: Very Special … at least 2 years storage
  • VSOP: Very Special (or Superior) Old Pale … at least 4 years storage
  • XO: Extra Old … at least 6 years
  • VSO: Very Superior Old … 12-17 years

Cognac is a famous variety of brandy named after the commune of Cognac in the very west of France. To be called “cognac”, the brandy must be distilled twice in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in very specific French oak barrels.

10 TV series for 17 seasons : NCIS

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”.

14 Like much of the first movement of the “Moonlight” Sonata : PIANISSIMO

The musical term “pianissimo” is abbreviated to “pp”, and is an instruction to the performer to sing or play very softly. The concept can be extended to “ppp”, short for “pianississimo”, an instruction of play even more softly. The opposite instructions are fortissimo (ff) and fortississimo (fff), instructions to perform very loudly, and even more loudly.

Beethoven subtitled his “Piano Sonata No. 14, Op. 27, No. 2” as “Quasi una fantasia”, or “sonata in the manner of a fantasy” in English. Five years after Beethoven died, a music critic wrote that the (superb!) first movement of the piece had an effect like that of moonlight shining on Lake Lucerne. Since then, the work has been known as the “Moonlight Sonata”.

16 Bit of ceramic cookware : OLLA

An olla is a traditional clay pot used for the making of stews. “Olla” was the Latin word used in ancient Rome to describe a similar type of pot.

17 Cold complication : BRONCHITIS

Bronchitis is inflammation of the airways leading to the lungs, the bronchi. It is a condition that results in coughing, and is usually caused by a viral infection.

18 Goes to court? : WOOS

To court someone is to woo them, to offer homage, as one might do at court, hence the use of the term.

19 What Kim might call Khloé : SIS

Kim Kardashian is a socialite and television personality. She was introduced into society by her friend, Paris Hilton. Kardashian’s name first hit the headlines when a homemade sex tape, made by her and singer Ray J, was leaked.

Khloé Kardashian, sister of Kim, managed to parlay her exposure on the reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” into spin-offs called “Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami” and “Khloé & Lamar”. Guess how many episodes of those three shows that I’ve seen …

20 Weather report word : HIGHS

High pressure areas are also known as anticyclones, and are areas where the pressure at the Earth’s surface is greater than the surrounding environment. Looking down on a high pressure area, air rotates clockwise around the center of the system in the northern hemisphere, and anticlockwise in the southern hemisphere.

21 Trick users, in a way : PHISH

Phishing is the online practice of stealing usernames, passwords and credit card details by creating a site that deceptively looks reliable and trustworthy. Phishers often send out safe-looking emails or instant messages that direct someone to an equally safe-looking website where the person might inadvertently enter sensitive information. “Phishing” is a play on the word “fishing”, as in “fishing for passwords, PINs, etc.”

22 Texter’s signoff : TTFN

Ta-ta for now (TTFN)

25 Brit’s Bordeaux : CLARET

Clairet is a dark rosé wine. Although it is uncommon today, clairet used to be the most common wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France. For centuries now, English consumers have used the derivative term “claret” to describe any red wine from Bordeaux.

30 Rain gear preservers : BOOT TREES

A shoe tree (or boot tree) is an adjustable, foot-shaped device that is placed inside a shoe to preserve its shape. Shoe trees are often constructed from solid wood that absorb odor and wick away moisture from the shoe’s leather.

33 Latin lamb : AGNUS

“Agnus” is Latin for “lamb” as in “Agnus Dei”, which translates as “Lamb of God”.

34 Per ssa.gov, baby name that’s far more popular when “a” is added to it : ANN

The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a list of the 1,000 most common baby names for the prior year annually, just before Mother’s Day. The list is compiled using applications for Social Security cards.

35 Airy spaces : ATRIA

In modern architecture, an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

36 Having two equal-length legs : ISOSCELES

An isosceles triangle is one that has two sides of equal length.

38 French darling : CHERI

“Chéri” is a form of familiar address in French, meaning “dear”. “Chéri” is the form used when talking to a male, and “chérie” when addressing a female.

41 Road hog? : HARLEY

The Harley-Davidson motorcycle company was founded in the very early 1900s by two childhood friends, William Harley and Arthur Davidson, . Their first design was in effect an engine hooked up to a pedal bicycle, but the 116 cc cylinder capacity simply couldn’t generate enough power to get up the hills of their native city of Milwaukee. The pair came up with a redesigned model that had a cylinder capacity of 405 cc, which the partners built in a shed at the back of Davidson’s house. In 1906, the partners built their first factory, located where the company’s headquarters is to this day, on Juneau Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Famously, Harley motorcycles are nicknamed “hogs”.

44 Cantina breakfast component : HUEVO

The popular breakfast dish huevos rancheros consists mainly of fried eggs served on tortillas and topped with salsa. The dish’s name translates as “eggs ranch-style”.

46 Old gum mach. inserts : CTS

Cent (ct.)

49 Not pizzicato : ARCO

“Arco” is a musical direction instructing a string player to return to normal bowing technique after a passage played using some other technique (perhaps pizzicato).

“Pizzicato” is an Italian term meaning “plucked, pinched”. It is used as a musical direction on a score, instructing the player of a stringed instrument to pluck the strings instead of using the bow.

52 Spa offering : PEEL

A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the look and feel of the skin. It involves using a chemical to deliberately injure the outermost layer of the skin. The damaged skin dies and peels off, revealing regenerated skin below.

54 Being of old Rome : ESSE

“Esse” is the Latin for “to be”. “Sum” means “I am”, “est” means “he, she is”, and “erat” means “he, she was”.

56 Tsukiji Market fish offerings : TUNAS

The Tsukiji Market in Tokyo was the largest wholesale seafood market in the world. After operating since 1935, the market was moved in 2018 to new premises on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay a few miles away. It is now known as Toyosu Market.

Down

1 Some PD calls : APBS

An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.

Police department (PD)

2 “Hey” assistant : SIRI

Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. Voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri a few years ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

3 Sangre de Cristo Mountains resort : TAOS

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are the most southerly peaks in the Rocky Mountains and are located in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. The name “Sangre de Cristo” is Spanish for “Blood of Christ”, which may be a reference to the reddish hue of the mountains that can often be seen at sunrise and sunset.

4 Comfort, e.g. : INN

The Comfort Inn chain is part of Choice Hotels International. I stay in Comfort Suites every so often. They’re usually not at all bad for the price …

5 Shaky measurement standard? : RICHTER SCALE

The Richter scale was developed in 1935 by Charles Richter at the California Institute of Technology. The Richter Scale has largely been abandoned, replaced by the moment magnitude scale (MMS). Even though the US Geological Survey has been reporting earthquakes using the MMS since 2002, the media is prone to mix things up and use phrases such as “Richter magnitude”.

6 Churchill trademark : V-SIGN

One has to be careful making that V-sign depending where you are in the world. Where I came from, the V-for-victory (or peace) sign has to be made with the palm facing outwards. If the sign is made with the palm facing inwards, it can be interpreted as a very obscene gesture.

Soon after Winston Churchill took over as Prime Minister of the UK in 1940, he delivered some stirring speeches that rallied the country in the face of German victories right across Europe. The first of these was his “Blood, toil, tears, and sweat” speech as he reported the formation of a new coalition government designed to unite the country in time of war. The second was his “We shall fight on the beaches” speech, as he reported the successful evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk. The third speech concluded with, “This was their finest hour”, words delivered to Parliament just as France fell, and Churchill pledged that the British Commonwealth would fight on, alone if necessary. The last lines of this third speech, from this magnificent orator, were:

… But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’.

7 Jedi nemesis : SITH

The Sith are characters in the “Star Wars” universe who use the “dark side” of “the Force”, and as such are the antithesis of the Jedi Knights. Members of the Sith use the title “Darth” before their name, as in Darth Vader. The last made of the six “Star Wars” movies is called “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”.

9 Bldgs. with boxes : POS

The US Postal Service (USPS) is a remarkable agency in many ways. For starters, the government’s right and responsibility to establish the Post Office is specifically called out in Article One of the US constitution. Also, the first postmaster general was none other than Benjamin Franklin. And, the USPS operates over 200,000 vehicles, which is the largest vehicle fleet in the world.

11 Sheltered from the outside world : CLOISTERED

Cloisters are usually such beautifully peaceful areas. They are found as part of religious buildings in particular. Cloisters are rectangular open spaces surrounded by covered walkways that are attached to other structures. The use of the term “cloister” has evolved to also describe a monastery or convent, and “cloistered” is used figuratively to mean “sheltered from the outside world”.

15 Loose-fitting dress : SHIFT

A shift is a dress that is cut above-the-knee and has no clearly-defined waist. This style of dress originated in the 1920s when it was worn by the “flappers”, young women who defied social norms at the time. The shift was comfortable to wear and allowed easy movement, particularly on the dance floor.

21 Green ice cream tidbit : PISTACHIO NUT

The pistachio is a small tree that produces some very tasty seeds. We see the seeds in grocery stores labelled as “nuts”, but botanically they are termed “drupes”. Drupe or nut, they’re delicious …

22 Male opera character played by a female performer : TROUSER ROLE

A breeches role (also “trouser role”) is one in which an actress appears dressed in make clothing. The term “breeches role” is most often used in the world of opera, with an example being the young boy Hansel in Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel”. I suppose that a more contemporary breeches role might be the title character in J. M. Barrie’s “Peter and Wendy”. Peter Pan is traditionally portrayed by a female actress.

24 Amphibious WWII craft : LST

The initialism “LST” stands for Landing Ship, Tank. LSTs are the large vessels used mainly in WWII that have doors at either ends through which tanks and other vehicles can roll off and onto beaches. The design concept persists to this day in the huge fleet of commercial roll-on/roll-off car ferries, all inspired by the LST.

25 Masala-flavored drink : CHAI

Masala chai is an Indian drink made with black tea (the “chai) and mixed spices (the “masala”).

28 Certain cell contents : HONEY

Honeybees create a structure within their nests called a honeycomb that is used to contain their larvae and also to store honey and pollen. The honeycomb comprises hexagonal cells made from wax.

30 Hypes : BALLYHOOS

“Ballyhoo”, meaning “hype, publicity”, was originally circus slang dating back to the early 1900s. No one really knows where the term comes from, but I can tell you there is a village in Co. Cork in Ireland called Ballyhooly!

31 Word on an Irish euro : EIRE

“Éire” is the Irish name for Ireland, coming from “Ériu”. Ériu was the matron goddess of Ireland in Irish mythology.

Euro coins are issued by all the participating European states. The reverse side is a common design used by all countries, whereas the obverse is a design specific to each nation. For example, the one euro coin issued by Malta features the Maltese Cross. That Maltese euro is legal tender right across the eurozone. The Irish euro features a harp.

37 “Maid of Athens, __ we part … “: Byron : ERE

Lord Byron wrote his poem “Maid of Athens, ere we part” while living in Athens in 1810. He dedicated it to the daughter of his landlady at the time.

41 Toast portion : HERE’S ….

The tradition of toasting someone probably dates back to the reign of Charles II, when the practice was to drink a glass of wine to the health of a beautiful or favored woman. In those days, spiced toast was added to beverages to add flavor, so the use of the word “toast” was an indicator that the lady’s beauty would enhance the wine. Very charming, I must say …

42 January’s “Mad Men” character : BETTY

January Jones is a model and actress from Brookings, South Dakota. Most famously, Jones plays Betty, the wife of Don Draper, on the TV show “Mad Men”. My favorite movie featuring Jones is 2011’s “Unknown” in which she starred opposite Liam Neeson.

45 It’s usually longer than a radius : ULNA

The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinky-side”.

46 Four-time Oscar-winning lyricist : CAHN

Sammy Cahn wrote for them all, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Doris Day. Cahn’s most famous song was probably “Three Coins in the Fountain”. He also wrote “All the Way”, made famous by Frank Sinatra.

48 MS enclosures : SAES

An SAE is a “stamped, addressed envelope”. An SASE is a “self-addressed, stamped envelope”.

An editor (ed.) might read or edit a manuscript (MS)

50 When Michelangelo began “David” : MDI

When Michelangelo’s famous statue of David was unveiled in 1504, it was at a time when the city-state of the Florentine Republic was threatened by rival states (including Rome). The statue depicts David after he has decided to fight Goliath, and the subject is sporting what is described as a “warning glare”. David was originally placed outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of government in Florence, and that warning glare was directed very deliberately in the direction of its enemy, Rome. The original statue of David can be seen in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, where it has resided since 1873. There is a replica of the statue in its original location in the public square outside of the Palazzo della Signoria.

51 Sch. on Shaq’s résumé : LSU

LSU’s full name is Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, and is located in Baton Rouge. LSU was founded in 1860 as a military academy, with then-Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent.

Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal now appears regularly as an analyst on the NBA TV show “Inside the NBA”. Shaq has quite a career in the entertainment world. His first rap album, called “Shaq Diesel”, went platinum. He also starred in two of his own reality shows: “Shaq’s Big Challenge” and “Shaq Vs.”

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 On the move : ASTIR
6 At least four yrs. old, for cognac : VSOP
10 TV series for 17 seasons : NCIS
14 Like much of the first movement of the “Moonlight” Sonata : PIANISSIMO
16 Bit of ceramic cookware : OLLA
17 Cold complication : BRONCHITIS
18 Goes to court? : WOOS
19 What Kim might call Khloé : SIS
20 Weather report word : HIGHS
21 Trick users, in a way : PHISH
22 Texter’s signoff : TTFN
23 Most roguish : SLIEST
25 Brit’s Bordeaux : CLARET
28 Menace, feline-style : HISS AT
29 Duel purpose? : HONOR
30 Rain gear preservers : BOOT TREES
33 Latin lamb : AGNUS
34 Per ssa.gov, baby name that’s far more popular when “a” is added to it : ANN
35 Airy spaces : ATRIA
36 Having two equal-length legs : ISOSCELES
38 French darling : CHERI
39 Like many renewals : YEARLY
40 Expressed disapproval of : CHIDED
41 Road hog? : HARLEY
42 French wood : BOIS
43 Humor, e.g. : GENRE
44 Cantina breakfast component : HUEVO
46 Old gum mach. inserts : CTS
49 Not pizzicato : ARCO
50 Hot flower : MOLTEN LAVA
52 Spa offering : PEEL
53 Objection to hustling : DON’T RUSH ME
54 Being of old Rome : ESSE
55 “__ yes!” : I SAY
56 Tsukiji Market fish offerings : TUNAS

Down

1 Some PD calls : APBS
2 “Hey” assistant : SIRI
3 Sangre de Cristo Mountains resort : TAOS
4 Comfort, e.g. : INN
5 Shaky measurement standard? : RICHTER SCALE
6 Churchill trademark : V-SIGN
7 Jedi nemesis : SITH
8 They may be intentional : OMISSIONS
9 Bldgs. with boxes : POS
10 “Listen up!” : NOW HEAR THIS!
11 Sheltered from the outside world : CLOISTERED
12 Response to a beating : I LOST
13 Dress uniform part : SASH
15 Loose-fitting dress : SHIFT
21 Green ice cream tidbit : PISTACHIO NUT
22 Male opera character played by a female performer : TROUSER ROLE
24 Amphibious WWII craft : LST
25 Masala-flavored drink : CHAI
26 Mill input : LOGS
27 Travel delays, say : ANNOYANCES
28 Certain cell contents : HONEY
30 Hypes : BALLYHOOS
31 Word on an Irish euro : EIRE
32 Spoken : SAID
37 “Maid of Athens, __ we part … “: Byron : ERE
40 Charge to get in : COVER
41 Toast portion : HERE’S ….
42 January’s “Mad Men” character : BETTY
43 Hang open : GAPE
45 It’s usually longer than a radius : ULNA
46 Four-time Oscar-winning lyricist : CAHN
47 Rating for a show with lots of oaths : TV-MA
48 MS enclosures : SAES
50 When Michelangelo began “David” : MDI
51 Sch. on Shaq’s résumé : LSU

26 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 19 Sep 20, Saturday”

  1. LAT: A little under an hour without error but with several guesses. Didn’t think I could complete for the longest time. Clues were quite clever. A good Saturday workout.

  2. 11:09, no errors. Curiously, I had exactly the same results on today’s NYT, to the second. Some kind of mysterious message from the universe, I suppose … 😜.

    Today’s “Saturday Stumper” from Newsday is classic: 1:08:36, no errors, and all the clues/answers make perfect sense … in the end … but not before! (I think they were making up for last week’s, which was a real anomaly: 19:24 including at least five minutes worth of interruptions, no errors.)

    Now, to see if this posts … 🤨

  3. I almost gave up early on, but then had a breakthrough with Harley. Finally got it, though many unfamiliar terms.
    Biggest complaint: when I filled in the last letter, even though I didn’t have it all right, up pops a box that says “You’re close. Some letters are incorrect, though.” And it shows me what they are, just as if I had done a check grid. I’d like to turn that feature off. I prefer to find my own mistakes until I give up.

    1. The app you’re using should have an option allowing you to turn off the check you’re talking about, but you’ll have to figure out how to do it. (The only app I use on a regular basis is the one I use for NYT puzzles; otherwise, I’d try to give you more precise instructions.)

  4. No errors but had to look up the Jedi clue as I’m not well versed on
    Star Wars characters. Not an easy puzzle for me but got it box by
    box.

    Will it post today?

  5. As is often the case with crossword puzzles, the longer answers are usually (but not always) easier to solve than the short answers (which are mostly arcane or duplicitous abbreviations, btw). This puzzle was challenging, but fair. Enjoyable on a sunny Saturday!!

  6. 12:37, 3 errors on this one. Strange that the time turned out to be what it did, but an anomaly given I didn’t hit anything less than 40 minutes on everything else including the WSJ. Can’t say I’ve really had any crossword-related joy since Wednesday (save the very hard Fireball book I’m working through), as opposed to my blood boiling over doing a grid for one reason or another.

    Hopefully, this whole episode will be an anomaly and I can forget that kind of thing.

  7. 22:26 no errors

    Towards the ends, feeling stuck in the SE corner, I didn’t think I was going to get it, then a lucky guess filled in the last square. You need to pay attention when a puzzle says DONTRUSHME.

    I notice several words relating to the performing arts, such as PIANISSIMO, ARCO and TROUSERROLE. Plus a bit of alcohol in CLARET and VSOP. Top off with TV in NICS and TVMA, and you feel like you’ve been entertained.

  8. 11 minutes + and got nearly nowhere with this puzzle. A sorrier collection of nonsense clues and “who-do-you-expect-knows-*THIS?*” clues I can’t remember off the top of my head.

  9. Couldn’t finish this one. Too much stuff going on in the world I think.

    Carrie: YES, felt it here by the BH area. And I couldn’t get back to sleep. So this will be a long a painful day with Ruth Ginsburg’s passing. Alas.

    1. Hi Kay- glad you posted a reply, as I didn’t realize till now that my Friday comment apparently went thru! 🤗 I couldn’t sleep either after that quake. Long sad day today indeed. 🤔

    1. @Anonymous … Molten lava is very hot and it definitely flows, so it’s a “hot flower” (“hot flōwer”). This is a good thing to remember because, if you do enough crossword puzzles, you’ll see it again … 😜.

  10. Too tough for me today; gave up after about 45 minutes with 16 errors. Most of my trouble was in the W and SW, but also a bit in the SE.

    Had pgMA instead of TVMA, aSU instead of LSU, ArieS instead of AGNUS and PEdi instead of PEEL. I should have put in ANNOYANCES, but it clashed with my incorrect crosses…sigh! Didn’t have the CO part of ARCO and the Y part of YEARLY and the SOS part of ISOSCELES.

    It turns out that besides molten lava being a flower, there is also a flower called Molten Lava.

    There is also a very entertaining series of explanations of various opera terms on YouTube, including “Trouser Role”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JkWT94SyI4

    1. Thanks, Dirk. I really appreciate posts displaying an ability to enjoy and learn from a puzzle in spite of an error or two (especially if they help me learn something new as well) … 😜.

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