LA Times Crossword 13 Dec 21, Monday

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Constructed by: John Harrington
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Out of Order

Themed answers each include the letter string “ORDER”, but OUT OF ORDER:

  • 62A Like a nonfunctioning vending machine, or what the circled letters are, in two ways : OUT OF ORDER
  • 17A TV Mister with a “neighborhood” : FRED ROGERS
  • 23A Regular cybersecurity measure : PASSWORD RESET
  • 40A Agatha Christie play set in Egypt : MURDER ON THE NILE
  • 51A Self-inflicted tennis mistake : UNFORCED ERROR

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

Bill’s time: 4m 54s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Swedish pop group : ABBA

Only three members of the quartet that made up the Swedish pop group ABBA were born in Sweden. Anni-Frid Lyngstad was born in Norway just after the end of WWII, the daughter of a Norwegian mother and a father who was a German soldier and a member of the German occupying forces during the war. The father returned to Germany with the army, and in 1947, Anni-Frid was taken with her family to Sweden. They left fearing reprisals against those who dealt with the German army during the occupation.

13 Pond plant with floating “pads” : LILY

Water lilies have leaves and flowers that float on the surface of a body of water. However, the roots of the plant are embedded in soil, soil at the bottom of the pond or lake.

14 “West Side Story” heroine : MARIA

Leonard Bernstein’s musical “West Side Story” is based on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The musical is set in New York City and features two rival gangs: the Sharks from Puerto Rico and the Jets with working-class, Caucasian roots. Tony from the Jets (played by Richard Beymer) falls in love with Maria (played by Natalie Wood) from the Sharks. All this parallels Romeo from the House of Montague falling for Juliet from the House of Capulet in the Italian city of Verona. The stage musical was adapted into a very successful 1961 movie with the same title.

“Maria” is a song from “West Side Story”.

Maria!
Say it loud and there’s music playing,
Say it soft and it’s almost like praying.
Maria,
I’ll never stop saying Maria!

17 TV Mister with a “neighborhood” : FRED ROGERS

The “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” TV show starred Fred Rogers. It was the second-longest running series on PBS television, after that other iconic children’s show “Sesame Street”.

19 MADD ads, e.g. : PSAS

Public service announcement (PSA)

Candace Lightner lost her 13-year-old child to a drink-driver in 1980. Soon after, Lightner formed the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

21 Italian half-dozen : SEI

In Italian, “due” (two) times “tre” (three) is “sei” (six).

22 The “L” in “SNL” : LIVE

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

27 Thurman on screen : UMA

Uma Thurman started her working career as a fashion model, at the age of 15. She appeared in her first movies at 17, with her most acclaimed early role being Cécile de Volanges in 1988’s “Dangerous Liaisons”. Thurman’s career really took off when she played the gangster’s moll Mia in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. My favorite of all Thurman’s movies is “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”, a less acclaimed romcom released in 1996. She took a few years off from acting from 1998 until 2002 following the birth of her first child. It was Tarantino who relaunched her career, giving her the lead in the “Kill Bill” films.

29 Crumpets drink : TEA

I do love a nice crumpet. They are made from flour and yeast, with baking soda added to make the characteristic holes in the surface. Served hot, with butter melted into the holes, nothing better …

31 Fulfill fully : SATE

“Sate” is a variant of the older word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.

36 Ocean levels : TIDES

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

40 Agatha Christie play set in Egypt : MURDER ON THE NILE

Agatha Christie wrote a very successful crime novel called “Death on the Nile” that was first published in 1937. That novel had started off life as a play that was never performed, one that Christie called “Moon on the Nile”. Christie then adapted the novel back into a play again, calling it “Murder on the Nile”, which opened in London in 1946.

44 College sports org. : NCAA

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

45 Man or Wight : ISLE

The Isle of Man is a large island located in the middle of the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. I used to spend a lot of time there in my youth, and find it a very interesting place indeed. The Isle of Man is classed as a British Crown Dependency and isn’t part of the United Kingdom at all. It is self-governing and has its own parliament called the Tynwald. The Tynwald was created in AD 979 and is arguably the oldest continuously-running parliament in the world. The inhabitants of the island speak English, although they do have their own language called Manx, which is very similar to Irish Gaeilge and Scottish Gaelic. And then there are those Manx cats, the ones without any tails. I’ve seen lots of them, and can attest that they are indeed found all over the island.

The Isle of Wight is the largest island in England, and lies about five miles off the south coast of the country. For many centuries, the island was a kingdom in its own right. One popular tourist attraction on the Isle of Wight is Osborne House, a former royal residence that was built as a summer home for Queen Victoria, and that was designed by the queen’s consort Prince Albert. Queen Victoria died in Osborne House, in 1901.

51 Self-inflicted tennis mistake : UNFORCED ERROR

Our modern sport of tennis evolved from the much older racquet sport known as real tennis. Originally just called “tennis”, the older game was labeled “real tennis” when the modern version began to hold sway. Real tennis is played in a closed court, with the ball frequently bounced off the walls.

58 Charlemagne’s domain, for short : HRE

Charlemagne was the first king to use the title “Holy Roman Emperor”, even though the Holy Roman Empire (HRE) was not actually founded per se until over a century later when Otto I was crowned Emperor. Otto was the first of an unbroken line of Holy Roman Emperors who ruled Central Europe from 962 until 1806.

59 Disney exec Robert : IGER

Robert Iger took over from Michael Eisner as CEO in 2005. Iger worked for ABC when it was taken over by Disney in 1996, and in 1999 he was named president of Walt Disney International. Iger is doing okay for himself; he earned more than $29 million in 2009.

61 Painter of limp watches : DALI

“The Persistence of Memory” is probably Salvador Dalí’s most famous work. It features the celebrated melting clocks/watches, and you can see them in the painting in the MoMA in New York City.

66 Memorable lioness : ELSA

The life story of Elsa the lion was told by game warden Joy Adamson, who had a very close relationship with the lioness from when Elsa was orphaned as a young cub. Adamson wrote the book “Born Free” about Elsa, and then “Living Free” which tells the story of Elsa and her three lion cubs. In the 1966 film based on “Born Free”, Adamson is played by the talented actress Virginia McKenna.

68 German article : EINE

“Eine” is the German indefinite article used with feminine nouns.

70 “Jurassic Park” menace, briefly : T-REX

The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written “T-rex”) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. “Tyrannosaurus” comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard) and “rex” the Latin for “king”. They were big beasts, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.

“Jurassic Park” is a 1990 novel by Michael Crichton that was adapted into a hugely successful movie by Steven Spielberg in 1993. One of the main premises of the novel is that dinosaur DNA could be harvested from mosquitoes trapped in amber (fossilized tree resin), the DNA coming from the dinosaur blood consumed by the mosquitoes. The dinosaur DNA is then sequenced and used to create clones of the original beasts. Apparently, that’s a clever idea, but not very practical …

Down

3 Antony’s last spouse : CLEOPATRA

Marc Antony rose to power in ancient Rome as the very loyal friend of Julius Caesar. Before he was assassinated, Caesar was the lover of Cleopatra, ruler of Egypt, and they had a child together. After Caesar’s death, Antony maintained a strong political alliance with Cleopatra, and in time the two became lovers. Antony and Cleopatra sided against Julius Caesar’s legal heir (later to be known as Augustus), leading to the Final War of the Roman Republic. Antony and Cleopatra were defeated at the Battle of Actium, and soon after the lovers committed suicide. Antony stabbed himself with his sword, and Cleopatra used a venomous asp.

4 Monster slain by Hercules : HYDRA

The Hydra of Lerna was a mythical sea snake that had multiple heads. Heracles had to slay the Lernaean Hydra as the second of his Twelve Labors. We now use the term “hydra” figuratively to describe a complex problem that presents new obstacles once one facet is resolved.

5 Modern food concern, briefly : GMO

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is one with genetic material that has been altered by genetic engineering. One might argue that the oldest form of genetic engineering is selective breeding, the use of animals or plants with desired traits for the creation of the next generation.

9 Drink replacing “mar” with an apt fruit : APPLETINI

An appletini is an apple martini, a cocktail containing vodka and an apple-flavored beverage such as apple brandy. One recipe is:

  • 1 part sweet vermouth
  • 1 part dry vermouth
  • 4 parts vodka
  • 3 parts apple juice

12 Balance sheet item : ASSET

The balance sheet of a company is a snapshot (single-point-in-time) view of a company’s financial position. The balance sheet lists all the company’s liabilities, all of its assets, and all of its ownership equity. The assets of a company, less its liabilities equals the ownership equity. The term “balance” is used because assets always balance out with the sum of liabilities and shareholder equity.

27 “Semper Fi” org. : USMC

“Semper Fidelis” (often abbreviated to “Semper Fi”) is the motto of the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The phrase is Latin and means “Always Faithful”. The US Marine Corps isn’t the only military unit using “Semper Fidelis” as a motto. It’s also used by the Portuguese Marine Corps, the Republic of China Marine Corps and the Swiss Grenadiers.

28 Hammering tool : MAUL

A maul is a large, heavy hammer, one often used for driving stakes into the ground. The term comes from the Old French “mail” and ultimately from the Latin “malleus”, with both meaning “hammer”.

34 Health supplements co. : GNC

General Nutrition Centers (GNC) is a retailer of health and nutrition supplements based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 1935 as a small health food store in downtown Pittsburgh. There are now about 5,000 stores in the US. The GNC slogan is “Live Well”.

35 Vampire’s undoing : STAKE

Legends about vampires were particularly common in Eastern Europe and in the Balkans in particular. The superstition was that vampires could be killed using a wooden stake, with the preferred type of wood varying from place to place. Superstition also defines where the body should be pierced. Most often, the stake was driven through the heart, but Russians and northern Germans went for the mouth, and northeastern Serbs for the stomach.

38 Scat legend Fitzgerald : ELLA

Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.

41 Mideast ruler : EMIR

An emir is a prince or chieftain, one most notably from the Middle East in Islamic countries. In English, “emir” can also be written variously as “emeer, amir, ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

49 Emerson, Lake & Palmer, e.g. : TRIO

Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP) were an English supergroup who were popular in the seventies. Keith Emerson had been successful with the Nice, Greg Lake with King Crimson, and Carl Palmer with Atomic Rooster. Given that all three performers had already achieved success prior to the formation of the group, ELP is termed a “supergroup”.

52 Author Zora __ Hurston : NEALE

Zora Neale Hurston was an American author who was most famous for her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”.

56 Shrek and family : OGRES

Before “Shrek” was a successful movie franchise and Broadway musical, it was a children’s picture book called “Shrek!” that was authored and illustrated by William Steig. The title “Shrek!” came from the German/Yiddish word Schreck, meaning “fear” or “terror”.

60 City sometimes mistaken for the capital of Nevada : RENO

Reno, Nevada was named in honor of Major General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer killed in the Civil War. The city has a famous “Reno Arch”, a structure that stands over the main street. The arch was erected in 1926 to promote an exposition planned for the following year. After the expo, the city council decided to keep the arch and held a competition to decide what wording should be displayed, and the winner was “The Biggest Little City in the World”.

Carson City is the capital of the state of Nevada, and was named for the Carson River. The river was named for Kit Carson, the scout who accompanied the team of European Americans who first arrived in the area in 1843. Carson City was designated state capital in 1864.

64 Obsolescent document transmitter : FAX

A facsimile is a copy. The term comes from the Latin phrase “fac simile” meaning “make similar”, with “fac” being the imperative form of “facere”, to make. The term “fax” (as in “fax machine”) is an abbreviated form of “facsimile”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 To __ her own : EACH
5 Work on, as a bone : GNAW
9 Swedish pop group : ABBA
13 Pond plant with floating “pads” : LILY
14 “West Side Story” heroine : MARIA
16 Golf scorecard numbers : PARS
17 TV Mister with a “neighborhood” : FRED ROGERS
19 MADD ads, e.g. : PSAS
20 Achy from exercise : SORE
21 Italian half-dozen : SEI
22 The “L” in “SNL” : LIVE
23 Regular cybersecurity measure : PASSWORD RESET
27 Thurman on screen : UMA
29 Crumpets drink : TEA
30 Enjoy a meal : EAT
31 Fulfill fully : SATE
33 Things best not all put in one basket? : EGGS
36 Ocean levels : TIDES
40 Agatha Christie play set in Egypt : MURDER ON THE NILE
43 Identify as yours, as baggage : CLAIM
44 College sports org. : NCAA
45 Man or Wight : ISLE
46 Spanish aunt : TIA
48 First-aid set : KIT
50 Cell pic taker : CAM
51 Self-inflicted tennis mistake : UNFORCED ERROR
57 Get close to : NEAR
58 Charlemagne’s domain, for short : HRE
59 Disney exec Robert : IGER
61 Painter of limp watches : DALI
62 Like a nonfunctioning vending machine, or what the circled letters are, in two ways : OUT OF ORDER
66 Memorable lioness : ELSA
67 Performance sometimes seen through glasses : OPERA
68 German article : EINE
69 Rod partner : REEL
70 “Jurassic Park” menace, briefly : T-REX
71 “Halt!” : STOP!

Down

1 Santa helper : ELF
2 Broadcasts : AIRS
3 Antony’s last spouse : CLEOPATRA
4 Monster slain by Hercules : HYDRA
5 Modern food concern, briefly : GMO
6 Old horse : NAG
7 “Am not!” reply : ARE SO!
8 Electrical job : WIRER
9 Drink replacing “mar” with an apt fruit : APPLETINI
10 Foundation : BASIS
11 Courageous : BRAVE
12 Balance sheet item : ASSET
15 “Step __!”: “Outta my way!” : ASIDE
18 Take a break : REST
24 Prophet : SEER
25 Old West vehicle : WAGON
26 Per-hour amount : RATE
27 “Semper Fi” org. : USMC
28 Hammering tool : MAUL
32 Opinion piece : EDITORIAL
34 Health supplements co. : GNC
35 Vampire’s undoing : STAKE
37 Cast doubt on : DISCREDIT
38 Scat legend Fitzgerald : ELLA
39 Apparently are : SEEM
41 Mideast ruler : EMIR
42 Win by a __: barely beat : HAIR
47 Sneezing sound : ACHOO!
49 Emerson, Lake & Palmer, e.g. : TRIO
51 Beneath : UNDER
52 Author Zora __ Hurston : NEALE
53 True-__ test : FALSE
54 Explode in rage : ERUPT
55 Try to stop : DETER
56 Shrek and family : OGRES
60 City sometimes mistaken for the capital of Nevada : RENO
63 Mined resource : ORE
64 Obsolescent document transmitter : FAX
65 One ab crunch, say : REP

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 13 Dec 21, Monday”

  1. Nothing to do with this puzzle but I have always wondered why Bill only mentions Rich Norris as the editor when the LA Times shows Joyce Nichols Lewis also

  2. 3:06, no errors.

    @Chris Martin
    Joyce Nichols Lewis was the editor before Rich Norris. From what I understand, she brought him on kind of as an understudy before eventually retiring. For some reason, the name still survives on a lot of the LA Times’ promotional stuff, but in most cases outside of that, I haven’t seen anyone recognized as editor other than Rich Norris, including the online solvers, which is where Bill gets his puzzles.

    Of course, that’s the extent of what I know. That end definitely doesn’t get written about as much as the NYT in histories because (in some very end thankfully) either of those two haven’t tried to be celebutantes as much as Shortz has over the years.

    1. @Glenn – are you still doing the LA Times puzzle on-line or have you gone back to paper? I’m waiting for a sub 3 minute time soon.

      The reason I ask is it seems that you’ve been killing it lately and I was wondering if typing it in was quicker than paper copy. Or are you just getting smarter … LOL.

      1. I typically solve the LA Times online (desktop, usually in a program called Across Lite). Mainly because it’s available and from what I understand it’s close to how Bill solves (don’t know what he does these days, he may be doing something different?). But I usually do at least four of them a day (LAT, NYT, Newsday, WSJ), half of them each way (and why that many, I had a time set up for crosswords in my day when I started with just the LAT and eventually ended up getting more time so I started more). On the other blog, I mentioned doing the NY Times on paper in 5:15, and kinda wondered what people do to get lesser times (they do) since it’s pretty hard to write faster. I do type faster than I write though.

  3. 6 minutes, 42 seconds, no errors or issues. Took awhile for some of these to come to me, hence the relatively long solve time.

  4. Nice and easy Monday; took 7:34 with no peeks or errors.

    I thought there was an error with IGER, but even though he’s no longer the CEO, he’s still executive chairman, at least for 18 more days…

  5. A day late at 8:22 with no errors or lookups. Solved on paper, which is slower than on a computer. A nice easy Monday puzzle.

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