LA Times Crossword 8 Sep 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: Pawel Fludzinski
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Mean to Mushy Missives

Themed answers start with a word ladder taking us from HATE (MAIL) to LOVE (NOTE):

  • 73A Mushy message, and the end of a sequence that progresses through the answers to the starred clues : LOVE NOTE
  • 1A *Mean message : HATE MAIL
  • 27A *Occasion for hiring a babysitter : DATE NIGHT
  • 41A *”So Much to Say” Grammy winners : DAVE MATTHEWS BAND
  • 53A *Fits together neatly : DOVETAILS
  • 73A Mushy message, and the end of a sequence that progresses through the answers to the starred clues : LOVE NOTE

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

Bill’s time: 7m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

16 2018 SAG Life Achievement Award honoree : ALAN ALDA

Alan Alda has had a great television career, most notably as a lead actor in “M*A*S*H”. He was born Alphonso D’Abruzzo in the Bronx, New York City. Alda won his first Emmy in 1972, for playing surgeon Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H”. He also won an Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of Presidential candidate Senator Arnold Vinick in “The West Wing”. When it comes to the big screen, my favorite of Alda’s movies is the 1978 romantic comedy “Same Time, Next Year” in which he starred opposite Ellen Burstyn.

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was formed back in 1933, at a time when Hollywood stars were really being exploited by the big movie studios, especially the younger and less inexperienced performers. Early supporters of the Guild included famous names like Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney (you could imagine them in a negotiation!). Past presidents of SAG were also big names, such as Eddie Cantor, James Cagney, Ronald Reagan, Howard Keel, Charlton Heston, Ed Asner and Melissa Gilbert. SAG merged with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) in 2012 to create SAG-AFTRA.

19 Grassy expanse : PRAIRIE

A steppe is a grassland that is devoid of trees, apart from those growing near rivers and lakes. The term “steppe” is Russian in origin, and is used to describe the geographical feature that extends across Eurasia. In South Africa, the same feature is called a “veld”, and in North America it is called a “prairie”.

29 Beers served with lime : CORONAS

The Mexican beer called Corona is the biggest-selling imported beer in the United States.

32 Grubhub link : MENU

Grubhub is an online food ordering and delivery company that was founded in Chicago in 2004. Users can access restaurant menus online, place an order, and receive home delivery of their meal.

33 Persia, today : IRAN

Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was referred to as Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

34 “Hidden Figures” org. : NASA

“Hidden Figures” is an excellent 2016 film based on a book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. Both book and film tell the story of female African-American mathematicians who worked for NASA during the Mercury and Apollo programs in the 1960s.

36 Jazz great who was the first African-American man to win a Grammy : BASIE

“Count” Basie’s real given name was “William”. Count Basie perhaps picked up his love for the piano from his mother, who played and gave him his first lessons. Basie’s first paying job as a musician was in a movie theater, where he learned to improvise a suitable accompaniment for the silent movies that were being shown. Basie was given the nickname “Count” as he became lauded as one of the so-called “Jazz royalty”. Others so honored are Nat “King” Cole and Duke Ellington.

41 *”So Much to Say” Grammy winners : DAVE MATTHEWS BAND

The Dave Matthews Band (sometimes just “DMB”) is a rock band from Charlottesville, Virginia that formed in 1991. DMB hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2004 when their driver decided to dump about 800 pounds of liquid waste from the tour bus into the Chicago River. He pumped the waste through a grate on a bridge, and onto the passengers on a sightseeing boat that was passing below.

46 50+ group : AARP

“AARP” is now the official name for the interest group that used to be called the American Association of Retired Persons. The name change reflects the current focus of the group on all Americans aged 50 or over, as opposed to just people who have retired.

47 Microsoft search engine : BING

Bing is the search engine from Microsoft. “Bing” is the latest name for an engine that Microsoft used to call Live Search, Windows Live Search and MSN Search.

51 Pungent cleanser : AMMONIA

Ammonia is a colorless gas with a very strong smell, and a chemical formula NH3. The name “ammonia” comes from salt deposits (actually the salt “ammonium chloride”) that the Romans collected near the Temple of Amun in ancient Libya.

53 *Fits together neatly : DOVETAILS

In the world of carpentry, a dovetail joint is one using a “pin” cut into the end of one piece of wood mating with a “tail” cut into another. The shape of that “tail” is said to resemble the tail of a dove, hence the name. We use the verb “to dovetail” in a figurative sense, meaning “to unite closely”.

59 Disney’s “__ and the Detectives” : EMIL

“Emil and the Detectives” is a novel first published in 1929. It was originally written in German and was titled “Emil und die Detektive”. The Disney company released a film adaptation in 1964.

63 Philadelphia school whose teams are the Explorers : LA SALLE

La Salle University is a private, Catholic school that was founded in 1863 in Philadelphia. Named for the canonized French priest Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, it was established by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, now known as the De La Salle Brothers. The list of notable La Salle alumni includes actor Peter Boyle and Joe Bryant, father of Kobe Bryant.

70 Harness racer : TROTTER

In harness racing, the horses race using one of two specific gaits, i.e. trotting or pacing.

Down

2 Swiss mountain : ALP

There are eight Alpine countries:

  • Austria
  • Slovenia
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Germany
  • Monaco
  • Italy

3 __ kwon do : TAE

Tae kwon do is the national sport of Korea. “Tae” means “to strike or break with foot”; “kwon” means “to strike or break with fist”; “do” means “way” or “art”. Along with judo, tae kwon do is one of only two martial arts included in the Olympic Games.

4 Env. insert : ENC

An envelope (env.) might include an enclosure (enc.).

6 Banned fruit spray : ALAR

The chemical name for Alar, a plant growth regulator and color enhancer, is “daminozide”. Alar was primarily used on apples but was withdrawn from the market when it was linked to cancer.

8 Performed light surgery on? : LASED

The term “laser” is an acronym standing for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “light oscillation by stimulated emission of radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely “loser”.

9 Fla. recreation spot : ST PETE

St. Petersburg, Florida is often referred to as “St. Pete” by locals and visitors alike. Located on a peninsula lying between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, St. Pete was founded in 1888 and named for Saint Petersburg in Russia. The co-founders were Russian immigrant Peter Demens and Detroit native John C. Williams. The pair tossed a coin for the privilege of naming the new city, and Demens won. Williams lost, but did get to name the city’s first hostelry “The Detroit Hotel”.

10 Norton in “The Shawshank Redemption,” for one : WARDEN

Stephen King’s novella “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” was adapted into a 2009 stage play and a 1994 film, both of which were titled “The Shawshank Redemption”. The Ohio State Reformatory was used for exterior shots of the fictional Shawshank Prison. That same facility was used for the prison scenes in the 1997 film “Air Force One”.

12 Excuse : ALIBI

“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed, I have an ‘alibi’”.

14 Whitlock Jr. of “The Wire” and “Veep” : ISIAH

Actor Isiah Whitlock Jr. is perhaps best known for playing state senator Clay Davis on the hit TV show “The Wire”. Whitlock picked up a colorful catchphrase from his character on “The Wire”, as the actor used his rich, deep voice to the full pronouncing a mild expletive as “sheeeeeeeee-it”. 🙂

15 Arms treaty subj. : N-TEST

Nuclear test (N-test)

21 Big name in pianos : YAMAHA

The Japanese company Yamaha started out way back in 1888 as a manufacturer of pianos and reed organs. Even though the company has diversified since then, Yamaha’s logo still reflects its musical roots. Said logo is made up of three intersecting tuning forks, and can even be seen on Yamaha motorcycles and ATVs.

24 Colonel called “the second most dangerous man in London” by Sherlock Holmes : MORAN

Colonel Moran is an adversary of Sherlock Holmes in the detective stories penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. At one point, Holmes describes Moran as “the second most dangerous man in London”. The most dangerous is the infamous Professor Moriarty, for whom Moran is chief of staff.

25 “Way to go!” : BRAVO!

To express appreciation for a male performer at an operatic performance, traditionally one calls out “bravo!”. Appreciation for a female performer is shown by using “brava!”, and for more than one performer of either sex by using “bravi!”

26 Introvert : LONER

The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung popularized the terms “Introvert” and “extrovert”, although he believed that we all have introverted and extroverted sides to us. Nowadays we tend to think of extroversion and introversion as extremes on a continuum. We bloggers, sitting at home glued to our laptops, tend to the introverted end of the scale …

30 Santa __ winds : ANA

The Santa Ana winds are the very dry air currents that sweep offshore late in the year in Southern California. Because these air currents are so dry, they are noted for their influence over forest fires in the area, especially in the heat of the fall. The winds arise from a buildup of air pressure in the Great Basin that lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Under the right conditions, that air spills over the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and basically “falls” down the side of the Sierra range, heading for the ocean. As the air falls it becomes drier and heats up so that relative humidity can fall to below 10% by the time it hits the coast.

35 Swingline insert : STAPLE

Swingline is a manufacturer of office staplers and hole punchers. Founded in New York City in 1925 as Parrot Speed Fastener, the company invented the world’s first top-opening stapler that allowed for easy loading of staples. That creative design of stapler was called the “Swingline”, which was the name eventually adopted by the whole enterprise.

37 Cloister leader : ABBOT

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”.

38 Canonized one : SAINT

The act of creating a saint is known as “canonization”. The term derives from the process of placing someone in the canon (or “calendar”) of saints.

39 Concave navel : INNIE

The navel is essentially the scar left behind when the umbilical cord is removed from a newborn baby. One interesting use of the umbilicus (navel, belly button) is to differentiate between identical twins, especially when they are very young.

40 Painter Degas : EDGAR

Edgar Degas was a French artist who was famous for both his paintings and his sculptures. Some of Degas’ most beautiful works feature female ballet dancers, and others depict women bathing.

43 Pitching stat : ERA

Earned run average (ERA)

44 Typing stat : WPM

Words per minute (wpm)

49 Young bird of prey : EAGLET

An aerie (sometimes “eyrie”) is an eagle’s nest, and a young eagle is an eaglet.The term “aerie” can also more generally describe any bird’s nest that is located on a cliff or a mountaintop.

53 Atlanta-based airline : DELTA

Delta was the world’s largest airline for a while (after merging with Northwest Airlines in 2008) and is the oldest airline still operating in the US. Delta’s roots go back to 1924 before it started carrying passengers when it was Huff Daland Dusters, a crop-dusting company based in Macon, Georgia. The name “Delta Air Service” was introduced in 1928.

54 Astrologer Sydney : OMARR

Sydney Omarr was an astrology consultant to the rich and famous, and author of a horoscope column that appeared in the Los Angeles Times. While Omarr (real name Sidney Kimmelman) was in the US Army, he even wrote a horoscope column for “Stars and Stripes”. He claimed that he got the job of writing for “Stars and Stripes” after having given a consultation to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

57 “The Goldbergs” actor George : SEGAL

Actor George Segal was one of my favorite Hollywood stars when I was growing up. I most remember him from the dramatic role he played in 1966’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” alongside Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, and the comedic role he played in 1973’s “A Touch of Class” opposite Glenda Jackson. Segal made a successful transition to television in recent years, playing lead roles on the sitcoms “Just Shoot Me!” and “The Goldbergs”.

“The Goldbergs” is a very entertaining sitcom that started airing in 2013. The show was created by Adam F. Goldberg and is based on Goldberg’s own childhood and family. My favorite part of the show comes at the end of each episode, when a clip from Goldberg’s real home movies is shown, which clip relates back to that episode’s storyline.

64 Capt.’s underlings : LTS

The rank of lieutenant (lt.) is superior to the rank of sergeant (sgt.), and below the rank of captain (capt.).

67 “I think,” in texts : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

69 Bastille Day time : ETE

In French, “été” (summer) starts in “juin” (June) and ends in septembre (September). Note that the names of months are not capitalized in French.

The Bastille is a former fortress in Paris that was used as a prison by the kings of France. On 14 July 1789, an angry mob stormed the Bastille during the French Revolution. The mob was actually after the stores of gunpowder in the fortress, but while inside the building freed seven prisoners and killed the Bastille’s governor. The storming of the Bastille became a symbol of the French Revolution and has been celebrated in France every July 14th since 1790. That celebration is referred to as “la fête nationale” (the national day) in France, but in English-speaking countries it is usually known as “Bastille Day”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 *Mean message : HATE MAIL
9 Administer an oath to : SWEAR IN
16 2018 SAG Life Achievement Award honoree : ALAN ALDA
17 Above it all, in a way : TALLEST
18 Featured dishes : SPECIALS
19 Grassy expanse : PRAIRIE
20 Impassive : DRY-EYED
22 Skewed view : BIAS
23 Walk leisurely : AMBLE
27 *Occasion for hiring a babysitter : DATE NIGHT
29 Beers served with lime : CORONAS
32 Grubhub link : MENU
33 Persia, today : IRAN
34 “Hidden Figures” org. : NASA
36 Jazz great who was the first African-American man to win a Grammy : BASIE
41 *”So Much to Say” Grammy winners : DAVE MATTHEWS BAND
45 Nocturnal sound : SNORE
46 50+ group : AARP
47 Microsoft search engine : BING
48 Spring : LEAP
51 Pungent cleanser : AMMONIA
53 *Fits together neatly : DOVETAILS
58 Put into words : UTTER
59 Disney’s “__ and the Detectives” : EMIL
60 Hailed : GREETED
63 Philadelphia school whose teams are the Explorers : LA SALLE
65 Lucrative venture : GOLD MINE
70 Harness racer : TROTTER
71 Minor issue? : AGE LIMIT
72 Stops : ARRESTS
73 Mushy message, and the end of a sequence that progresses through the answers to the starred clues : LOVE NOTE

Down

1 Consumes : HAS
2 Swiss mountain : ALP
3 __ kwon do : TAE
4 Env. insert : ENC
5 __ name : MAIDEN
6 Banned fruit spray : ALAR
7 Without much thought : IDLY
8 Performed light surgery on? : LASED
9 Fla. recreation spot : ST PETE
10 Norton in “The Shawshank Redemption,” for one : WARDEN
11 Portuguese feminine pronoun : ELA
12 Excuse : ALIBI
13 Outfit again : RERIG
14 Whitlock Jr. of “The Wire” and “Veep” : ISIAH
15 Arms treaty subj. : N-TEST
21 Big name in pianos : YAMAHA
23 Corrosive compounds : ACIDS
24 Colonel called “the second most dangerous man in London” by Sherlock Holmes : MORAN
25 “Way to go!” : BRAVO!
26 Introvert : LONER
28 Worn-down pencils : NUBS
30 Santa __ winds : ANA
31 Posed (for) : SAT
35 Swingline insert : STAPLE
37 Cloister leader : ABBOT
38 Canonized one : SAINT
39 Concave navel : INNIE
40 Painter Degas : EDGAR
42 Cheesy sandwich : MELT
43 Pitching stat : ERA
44 Typing stat : WPM
49 Young bird of prey : EAGLET
50 Broadcasters : AIRERS
52 Confuse : MUDDLE
53 Atlanta-based airline : DELTA
54 Astrologer Sydney : OMARR
55 Cap brim : VISOR
56 Thrill to pieces : ELATE
57 “The Goldbergs” actor George : SEGAL
61 Like deli orders : TO-GO
62 Hgt. : ELEV
64 Capt.’s underlings : LTS
66 Max. opposite : MIN
67 “I think,” in texts : IMO
68 Minor quibble : NIT
69 Bastille Day time : ETE

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 8 Sep 22, Thursday”

  1. Mostly nice and easy Thursday for me; took 16:12 with no peeks or errors and just a bit of struggling in the top half. Did not know ISIAH, OMARR, MORAN and needed help from crosses for LASALLE and parts of the NE corner.

    Really liked the “Swingline Insert” clue, which took a second, along with getting used to this weird keyboard of my cousin’s laptop. Back to vacation…

  2. No errors. Nice solve. I must AMBLED my way through this. Ended up somewhere around 16 minutes.

    Liked the HAILED clue. Started with SLEETED and ended with GREETED.

    That Shashank Redemption is a good movie that my wife and I like to watch together.

  3. Aarhg! Got all the obscure clues and flubbed up on “wpm”…so
    I had the Dave Matthews Band spelled wrong! And me,….a former
    speed typist!!! Oh well, can’t win ’em all.

  4. 21:54 no errors…piece of cake compared to NYT 0804.
    Speaking of baseball why are major league umpires so very inept at calling balls and strikes?
    Stay safe😀

  5. No look ups, no errors. One change on the fly, swear at/in 😂
    Didn’t bother with the theme, seemed like
    a headache waiting to happen….

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