LA Times Crossword Answers 26 Sep 12, Wednesday

CROSSWORD SETTER: Jeff Wechsler
THEME: Lots of Letters … each of the theme answers includes a “letter”, in the plural form:

18A. “Gotta hit the hay” I NEED SOME ZS
23A. Elementary school fundamentals THE THREE RS
37A. Mom’s behavior warning MIND YOUR PS AND QS
49A. Marks to brag about STRAIGHT AS
57A. Canned pasta brand SPAGHETTI OS

COMPLETION TIME: 8m 39s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. Stir-fry additive MSG
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring (and non-essential) amino acid called glutamic acid. MSG is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …

14. Baba of folklore ALI
There is some controversy about the story “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” in that it has been suggested it was not part of the original collection of Arabic tales called “One Thousand and One Nights”. The suggestion is that the Ali Baba tale was added by one of the Europeans who translated “One Thousand and One Nights”.

15. Bindle carrier HOBO
No one seems to know for sure how the term “hobo” originated, although there are lots of colorful theories. My favorite is that “hobo” comes from the first letters in the words “ho-meward bo-und”, but it doesn’t seem very plausible. A kind blog reader tells me that according to Click and Clack from PBS’s “Car Talk” (a great source!), “hobo” comes from “hoe boy”. Hoe boys were young men with hoes looking for work after the Civil War. Hobos differed from “tramps” and “bums”, in that “bums” refused to work, “tramps” worked when they had to, while “hobos” traveled in search of work.

“Bindle” is the name given to that bag or sack that the stereotypical hobo carried on a stick over his shoulder. “Bindle” is possibly a corruption of “bundle”.

17. Diarist Anaïs NIN
Anaïs Nin was a French author, famous for the journals that she wrote for over sixty years from the age of 11 right up to her death. She also wrote highly regarded erotica, citing D. H. Lawrence as someone from whom she drew inspiration.

23. Elementary school fundamentals THE THREE RS
The “three Rs” are Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic.

30. Swift means of attack? SATIRE
Jonathan Swift was an Irish author and cleric. Swift is most famous perhaps for his 1726 novel “Gulliver’s Travels”, but we Irishmen remember him also as the Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. He was renowned for his wit and satire.

33. Poe’s “ungainly fowl” RAVEN
“The Raven” is a narrative poem by Edgar Allen Poe that tells of a student who has lost the love of his life, Lenore. A raven enters the student’s bedchamber and perches on a bust of Pallas. The raven can talk, to the student’s surprise, but says nothing but the word “nevermore”. As the student questions all aspects of his life, the raven taunts him with the same comment, “nevermore”. Finally the student decides that his soul is trapped beneath the raven’s shadow and shall be lifted “nevermore” …

36. D.C. athlete NAT
The Washington Nationals baseball team started out life as the Montreal Expos in 1969. The Expos moved to Washington in 2005, becoming the Nats. There are only two Major Leagues teams that have never played in a World Series; one is the Mariners, and the other the Nats.

37. Mom’s behavior warning MIND YOUR PS AND QS
There isn’t really a clear derivation of the phrase “mind your Ps and Qs”, an expression meaning “mind your manners”, or “mind your language”. One story that I like is that it originated in the wonderful pubs of England. Innkeepers would watch how much their thirsty patrons consumed, recording each pint (P) and quart (Q) that was downed on a board using Ps and Qs as shorthand. The more rowdy drinkers would be asked to “mind their Ps and Qs”.

41. __ of Good Feelings ERA
The Era of Good Feelings lasted from about 1816 to 1824, during the administration of President James Monroe. The term described the feeling of bipartisanship that permeated politics at that time, largely due to President Monroe deliberately downplaying differences between the parties in Washington. One can only dream …

43. Rap’s __ Wayne LIL
Here’s yet another rapper (oh, joy!). Lil Wayne’s real name is … Dwayne Carter, Jr.

44. With-the-grain woodworking technique RIP CUT
In woodworking, a cut across the grain is known as a cross cut. A cut along the grain is called a rip cut. Most saws are designed to perform the best cross cuts, but there is a special rip saw that more easily cuts straight lines along the grain.

46. Theater sections LOGES
In most theaters today the loge is the name given to the front rows of a mezzanine level. It can also be the name given to box seating.

48. Canadian pump sign ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company, as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

57. Canned pasta brand SPAGHETTIOS
Spaghettios were developed by the Campbell Soup Company in 1965. Campbell’s wanted a pasta dish that could be marketed as being more “kid-friendly” and “less messy for kids”.

61. “Characters welcome” network USA
The USA Network cable television channel has been around since 1971. Back in 1971 it was called the Madison Square Garden Network, becoming USA in 1979.

63. South American country at 0 degrees lat. ECUA
“Ecuador” is the Spanish word for “equator”, which gives the country its name.

64. Looney Tunes collectible CEL
In the world of animation a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

Down
1. “The Balcony” painter MANET
“The Balcony” is an oil by Édouard Manet painted in 1868. You can see “The Balcony” in the Musée d’Orsay the next time you’re in Paris …

The French painter 
Édouard Manet is responsible for many great works including the famous “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe”, a work much praised by novelist Emile Zola.

3. Cookies with a bite GINGER SNAPS
“Ginger snap cookies” are known as “ginger nut biscuits” back in Ireland where I come from …

4. Chi preceder PHI
Phi is the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet.

6. Beyond zaftig OBESE
A woman who is “zaftig” has a full and shapely figure. “Zaftig” comes from the Yiddish word “zaftik” meaning “juicy”. I am not going to touch that one …

7. Baudelaire, par exemple POETE
Charles Baudelaire was a French poet, noted not only for his own work but also for translating the work of American poet Edgar Allen Poe.

9. Quark’s locale ATOM
The three nuclear particles that we all learned about at school are protons, electrons and neutrons. The “big” particles, the protons and neutrons, are known collectively as nucleons. Nucleons aren’t fundamental particles, in the sense that nucleons are made up of three smaller particles called quarks. Protons are made from two “up quarks” and one “down quark”, while neutrons are composed of one “up quark” and two “down quarks”.

10. Global networking pioneer COMSAT
COMSAT (the Communications Satellite Corporation) is a telecommunication enterprise noted for its satellite communication services. COMSAT started out in 1963 as a public company, one that was federally funded and government regulated. The government’s intent in creating COMSAT was to develop an international commercial satellite network to facilitate global communications.

12. Gossipy Smith LIZ
Liz Smith is a gossip columnist, with the nickname “The Grand Dame of Dish”.

13. OCS grads, usually LTS
Officer Candidate School (OCS) graduates a lot of lieutenants.

19. “__ Rosenkavalier” DER
“Der Rosenkavalier” is a comic opera composed by Richard Strauss, with the title translating as “The Knight of the Rose”.

26. Reader with a sensitive screen KINDLE TOUCH
The fourth generation of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader included a touchscreen for the first time, and so was given the name “Kindle Touch”.

27. Modern site of Mesopotamia IRAQ
Mesopotamia was the land that lay between two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, that flow through modern-day Iraq. The name “Mesopotamia” means “between the rivers”.

31. Like Big Ben ANALOG
This clue is misleading, I think. First of all, “Big Ben” is a bell and not a clock. Secondly, given that Big Ben is in London then the clock connected to the bell would be described there as “analogue” and not “analog”. But maybe I am just being picky …

33. Big chunk of Eur. RUS
Russia makes up a big chunk of Europe, as well as a big chunk of Asia. The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

38. Eye part IRIS
The iris is the colored part of the eye with an aperture in the center that can open or close depending on the level of light hitting the eye.

40. Elie Wiesel work NIGHT
Elie Wiesel is a holocaust survivor, best known for his book “Night” which tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

45. Large eel CONGER
Conger eels can grow to be very, very large, perhaps up to 10 feet in length.

46. Took it on the lam LIT OUT
To be “on the lam” is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. “On the lam” is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word “lam” also means to “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, to scram”.

47. Grandchild of Japanese immigrants SANSEI
There are some very specific terms used to describe the children born to Japanese immigrants in their new country. The immigrants themselves are known as “Issei”. “Nisei” are second generation Japanese, “Sansei” the third generation (grandchildren of the immigrant), and “Yonsei” are fourth generation.

53. Elite Navy group SEALS
SEAL is an acronym used by the US Navy’s SEa, Air and Land teams. The SEALs were born out of the Navy’s special warfare groups from WWII, like the Underwater Demolition Teams and the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons. The Navy SEAL unit was established soon after President Kennedy’s speech in which he announced the plan to put a man on the moon, as in the same speech the president allocated $100m of funding to strengthen special operations forces. The Navy used some of this money to set up guerrilla and counter-guerrilla units, which soon became the SEALs.

55. Kent State’s home OHIO
Kent State University’s main campus is located in Kent, Ohio. Kent State will forever be associated with the student activism and opposition to the Vietnam War in the late sixties and early seventies. The fateful day was May 4, 1970, when members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on students, killing four protesters and wounding nine.

60. Airline to Oslo SAS
SAS was formerly known as Scandinavian Airlines System and is the flag carrier of three countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Stir-fry additive MSG
4. [frog lands in pond] PLOP
8. Remote control battery AA CELL
14. Baba of folklore ALI
15. Bindle carrier HOBO
16. “Zip your lip!” STOW IT
17. Diarist Anaïs NIN
18. “Gotta hit the hay” I NEED SOME ZS
20. Future snakes, perhaps EGGS
22. Regards highly ESTEEMS
23. Elementary school fundamentals THE THREE RS
25. Cut from the same cloth AKIN
29. Lemon and lime TREES
30. Swift means of attack? SATIRE
32. Put into words SAY
33. Poe’s “ungainly fowl” RAVEN
36. D.C. athlete NAT
37. Mom’s behavior warning MIND YOUR PS AND QS
41. __ of Good Feelings ERA
42. Gives the heave-ho OUSTS
43. Rap’s __ Wayne LIL
44. With-the-grain woodworking technique RIP CUT
46. Theater sections LOGES
48. Canadian pump sign ESSO
49. Marks to brag about STRAIGHT AS
54. “Why bother?” NO POINT
56. Color property TONE
57. Canned pasta brand SPAGHETTI OS
61. “Characters welcome” network USA
62. Receive, as a radio signal TUNE IN
63. South American country at 0 degrees lat. ECUA
64. Looney Tunes collectible CEL
65. Structural threat for many a house DRY ROT
66. Gels SETS
67. Towel lettering HIS

Down
1. “The Balcony” painter MANET
2. Insult SLIGHT
3. Cookies with a bite GINGER SNAPS
4. Chi preceder PHI
5. Solitary sorts LONERS
6. Beyond zaftig OBESE
7. Baudelaire, par exemple POETE
8. Evaluates ASSESSES
9. Quark’s locale ATOM
10. Global networking pioneer COMSAT
11. Girl in a pasture EWE
12. Gossipy Smith LIZ
13. OCS grads, usually LTS
19. “__ Rosenkavalier” DER
21. Bed or home ending STEAD
24. “Over here!” HEY, YOU!
26. Reader with a sensitive screen KINDLE TOUCH
27. Modern site of Mesopotamia IRAQ
28. Keeps after taxes NETS
31. Like Big Ben ANALOG
33. Big chunk of Eur. RUS
34. Framed work ART
35. No. twos VPS
37. Nothing more than MERE
38. Eye part IRIS
39. Surpassed in extravagance OUTSPENT
40. Elie Wiesel work NIGHT
45. Large eel CONGER
46. Took it on the lam LIT OUT
47. Grandchild of Japanese immigrants SANSEI
50. Little one TOT
51. Traditional doings RITES
52. “That has __ ring to it” A NICE
53. Elite Navy group SEALS
55. Kent State’s home OHIO
57. Norm: Abbr. STD
58. Water filter brand PUR
59. Whichever ANY
60. Airline to Oslo SAS

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