LA Times Crossword Answers 4 Dec 15, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Craig Stowe
THEME: Kitty Corner … the eight answers intersecting in the CORNERS of today’s grid are the names of cats, so we have four KITTY CORNERS:

35A. Diagonally … or what each of four pairs of puzzle answers form? KITTY CORNER

1A. “The Jungle Book” villain SHERE KHAN
10A. Character in the comic “Mutts” MOOCH
63A. C.S. Lewis hero ASLAN
64A. “Looney Tunes” lisper SYLVESTER
1D. Half of a cartoon duo STIMPY
14D. Friend of Calvin HOBBES
41D. Scar’s brother MUFASA
47D. Pooh pal TIGGER

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 9m 40s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. “The Jungle Book” villain SHERE KHAN
In Rudyard Kipling’s “Jungle Book”, the author names his regal tiger character “Shere Khan”. Kipling chose this name as he had met an Afghan Prince in his travels named “Sher Shah Suri”, meaning “The Lion or Tiger King”.

10. Character in the comic “Mutts” MOOCH
The comic strip titled “Mutts” first appeared in 1994, and is drawn by Patrick McDonnell. The main characters are a Jack Russell terrier named Earl, and a black-and-white housecat named Mooch.

17. Mutton dish IRISH STEW
The exact recipe of what’s known as “Irish stew” isn’t really specific, but does include some kind of meat and at least one root vegetable. The most common recipe calls for mutton, potatoes, onions and parsley. Believe it or not, my (very Irish) mother used to make it with bacon and sausages. Yep, boiled bacon and sausages …

18. Title from the Arabic for “master” SAHIB
“Sahib” is most recognized as a term of address used in India, where it is used in much the same way as we use “mister” in English. The term was also used to address male Europeans in the days of the British Raj. The correct female form of address is “sahiba”, but in the colonial days the address used was “memsahib”, a melding of “ma’am” and “sahib”

20. Orchestra sect. STR
String (str.) section.

22. Christmas __ PIE
Christmas pie is more commonly referred to (where I come from, anyway) as mince pie. The contemporary version is a delicious, sweet pie, filled with a mixture of fruits as well as a generous portion of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. The original recipe was brought to Europe by returning crusaders, at which time it included a meat filling along with the fruit and spices.

24. 2013 Spike Jonze film HER
2003’s “Her” is a rather unusual film. It stars Joaquin Phoenix as a man who develops a relationship with a computer operating system called “Samantha”, which is voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

Spike Jonze is a movie director whose first feature film was “Being John Malkovich” (1999). Jonze also directed a couple of films for which he wrote the screenplays, namely “Where the Wild things Are” (2009) and “Her” (2013). Jonze also co-created the MTV show “Jackass”. Can’t stand that show, said he grumpily …

25. Arctic coast explorer RAE
John Rae was a Scottish explorer, who took on the task of searching for the ill-fated Franklin Expedition of 1845. The Franklin Expedition was itself searching for the elusive Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific. John Rae stirred up much controversy back in England when he reported evidence of cannibalism among the ill-fated Franklin explorers.

26. “Revolutionary Road” author Richard YATES
“Revolutionary Road” is a 2008 movie based on a novel of the same name by Richard Yates that was published in 1961. The film stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, who had last played opposite each other in “Titanic” nine years earlier.

28. “… high hope for __ heaven”: Shak. A LOW
“A high hope for a low heaven: God grant us patience!” is a quotation from William Shakespeare’s play “Love’s Labour’s Lost”.

“Love’s Labour’s Lost” is a comedy by William Shakespeare that was first performed in 1597, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth I.

30. Mil. awards DSCS
The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) is the second highest honor awarded to members of the US Army. The DSC is equivalent to the Navy Cross and the Air Force Cross.

35. Diagonally … or what each of four pairs of puzzle answers form? KITTY-CORNER
“Kitty-corner” means “diagonally opposite”. Apparently, the term is used mainly in the north and west of the US.

46. Shore up, as an embankment REVET
“To revet” is to reface, especially when talking about shoring up an embankment. The term comes from the Latin “revestire” meaning “reclothe”.

48. Mil. branch USN
United States Navy (USN)

52. Former Abbey Road Studios owner EMI
EMI was a British music company, with the acronym originally standing for Electric and Musical Industries.

The Abbey Road Studios in London was a large Georgian townhouse built in the 1830s. It became a recording studio in 1931, and you can even see some YouTube video showing Sir Edward Elgar back then making recordings with the London symphony Orchestra. The studios passed through various owners and by the time the Beatles started their famous recording it was known as EMI Studios. The Beatles recorded practically all of their albums there, between 1962 and 1970. Famously they named a 1969 album after the studio, “Abbey Road”. That’s the one with the cover showing the Fab Four crossing the “zebra crossing” outside the studio.

56. Record LOG
The word “logbook” dates back to the days when the captain of a ship kept a daily record of the vessel’s speed, progress etc. using a “log”. A log was a wooden float on a knotted line that was dropped overboard to measure speed through the water.

57. Ice cream thickeners AGARS
Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

58. Peggy Lee specialty TORCH SONG
A sentimental love song can be referred to as a “torch song”. The term derives from the expression “to carry a torch for someone” meaning to keep aflame the light of love, despite the feeling not being returned by the other party.

Peggy Lee was a jazz and popular music singer from Jamestown, North Dakota. “Peggy Lee” was a stage name, and she was born Norma Egstrom. She was a successful songwriter as well as singer, and supplied several numbers for the Disney movie “Lady and the Tramp”. Lee also sang in the film and voiced four of the characters.

61. Alabama River city SELMA
The most famous city in the US named Selma is probably the one in Alabama. The Alabama city is noted for the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches from 1965.

The Bloody Sunday march took place between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama on 7 March 1965. The 600 marchers involved were protesting the intimidation of African-Americans registering to vote. When the marchers reached Dallas County, Alabama they encountered a line of state troopers reinforced by white males who had been deputized that morning to help keep the peace. Violence broke out with 17 marchers ending up in hospital, one nearly dying. Because the disturbance was widely covered by television cameras, the civil rights movement picked up a lot of support that day.

62. Chestnut PLATITUDE
A platitude is a trite phrase that is overused and suggest insincerity. The term is rooted in the Olf French “plat” meaning “flat”.

An “old chestnut” is a joke that is “well worn”. The origin of the expression is very specific. It dates back to a play by William Diamond, first produced in 1816. In the story, one of the characters keeps telling the same joke over and over, with minor variations. The joke is about a cork tree, and an exasperated listener after hearing the joke one time too many refutes the use of the cork tree saying, “A Chestnut. I have heard you tell the joke 27 times and I’m sure it was a Chestnut!”

63. C.S. Lewis hero ASLAN
In the C. S. Lewis series of books “The Chronicles of Narnia”, Aslan is the name of the lion character (as in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”). “Aslan” is actually the Turkish word for lion. Anyone who has read the books will recognize the the remarkable similarity between the story of Aslan and the story of Christ, including a sacrifice and resurrection.

64. “Looney Tunes” lisper SYLVESTER
Sylvester J. Pussycat was also known as Puddy Tat, and was a character who appeared in “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies” cartoons. Sylvester was the cat who was often trying to get the better of Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzales and Hippety Hopper. Sylvester’s trademark line is the exclamation “Sufferin’ succotash!”, which emphasizes the characters pronounced lisp.

Down
1. Half of a cartoon duo STIMPY
“The Ren and Stimpy Show” is an animated television show that ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. The title characters are Marland “Ren” Höek, a scrawny Chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a rotund Manx cat. Not my cup of tea …

3. 1944 Pacific battle site ENIWETOK
Enewetak Atoll is an atoll consisting of 40 islands in the Marshall Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean. The Battle of Eniwetok was fought in February 1944, with US forces capturing the atoll from the Japanese in order to provide a forward base for later operations by the US Navy. Enewetak Atoll was the site of 43 nuclear test by the US from 1946 to 1958, including the test of the first ever hydrogen bomb. That H-bomb test in 1952 completely vaporized one of the islets in the atoll.

4. Univ. peer leaders RAS
RAs are resident assistants or resident advisers, the peer leaders found in residence halls, particularly on a college campus.

5. Command level: Abbr. ECH
We use the word “echelon” (ech.) to describe a rank or level, particularly in the military. The term comes from French, in which language it has the same meaning, although the original meaning in Old French is “rung of a ladder”.

8. Violinist who taught Heifetz AUER
Leopold Auer was a Hungarian violinist, as well as a conductor and composer. Auer wrote a small number of works for the violin, the most famous of which is the “Rhapsodie Hongroise” written for violin and piano.

Jascha Heifetz was a violinist from Vilnius in Lithuania who emigrated with his family to the US when he was a child. Heifetz toured Israel in 1953 and included in his recitals the Violin Sonata by Richard Strauss. Strauss was known for his anti-Semitic views, so this piece was always received in silence at his recitals in Israel. Heifetz was attacked with a crowbar outside his hotel in Jerusalem, severely injuring his right arm. He struggled with the injured arm for several years, and eventually had surgery in 1972. Heifetz’s injured arm never really recovered, and he was forced to cease giving concerts.

9. State north of Victoria: Abbr. NSW
New South Wales (NSW) is the most populous state in Australia and is home to Sydney, the most populous city in the country. New South Wales was founded in 1788. When the British took over New Zealand in 1840, for a while New Zealand was actually governed as part of New South Wales.

Victoria is the most densely populated state in Australia, with most inhabitants living in the state capital of Melbourne. Just like the Australian state of Queensland, Victoria was named for Queen Victoria, the British monarch at the time the state was founded.

10. Electromagnetic wave generator MASER
A MASER is a device that was around long before LASERs came into the public consciousness. A MASER (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is similar to a LASER, but microwaves are emitted rather than light waves. When the storyline for “Star Trek” was being developed, the writers introduced a weapon called a “phaser”, with the name “phaser” derived from PHoton mASER.

11. Norse royal name OLAV
Of the many kings of Norway named Olaf/Olav (and there have been five), Olaf II is perhaps the most celebrated as he was canonized and made patron saint of the country. Olaf II was king from 1015 to 1028 and was known as “Olaf the Big” (or Olaf the Fat) during his reign. Today he is more commonly referred to as “Olaf the Holy”. After Olaf died he was given the title of Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae, which is Latin for “Norway’s Eternal King”.

13. President before Sarkozy CHIRAC
Jacques Chirac served as French President from 1995 to 2007. He also served twice as Prime Minister of France, and as the Mayor of Paris. At the end of 2011, Chirac was found guilty of embezzling public funds and was given a 2-year suspended sentence.

Nicolas Sarkozy was President of France from 2007 to 2012. Sarkozy’s wife is perhaps as famous as the President himself. He married the singer-songwriter Carla Bruni at the Élysée Palace in 2008.

14. Friend of Calvin HOBBES
The comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” is still widely syndicated, but hasn’t been written since 1995. The cartoonist Bill Watterson named the character Calvin after John Calvin, the 16th century theologian. Hobbes was named for Thomas Hobbes a 17th century English political philosopher.

21. Nuke REWARM
One might rewarm a meal by nuking it, zapping it in the microwave.

24. Rail rider 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.

27. French spa EVIAN
Évian-les-Bains (or simply Évian) is in the very east of France, on the shores of Lake Geneva directly across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland. As one might imagine, Évian is the home of Évian mineral water, the most successful business in town. I can’t stand the taste of Évian water …

29. Kind of vegetarian LACTO
A lacto vegetarian is someone who eats a vegetarian diet that includes dairy, but excludes eggs.

30. Caterpillar rival DEERE
John Deere invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837. Prior to Deere’s invention, farmers used an iron or wooden plow that constantly had to be cleaned as rich soil stuck to its surfaces. The cast-steel plow was revolutionary as its smooth sides solved the problem of “stickiness”.

32. Linguistic root ETYMON
The “etymon” (plural “etyma”) is the word from which another word is derived. For example, the etymon of “Ireland” is “Eriu”, the old Celtic name for the island of Ireland.

37. Disentangle RAVEL OUT
While “ravel” can mean to get tangled up, the term is usually used to mean “unravel, disentangle”. Yep, “ravel” and “unravel” mean the same thing!

40. Paper with a Société section LE MONDE
“Le Monde” is a newspaper published each evening in France. “Le Monde” is one of the two most famous French papers, along with “Le Figaro”.

41. Scar’s brother MUFASA
In “The Lion King”, the protagonist is Simba, the lion cub born to Mufasa and Sarabi. The main antagonist is Scar, Simba’s uncle and Mufasa’s brother.

42. Oklahoma natives OSAGES
The Osage Nation originated in the Ohio River valley in what we now call Kentucky. They were forced to migrate west of the Mississippi by the invading Iroquois tribe. Most of the tribe members now live in Osage County, Oklahoma.

45. __ network NEURAL
It used to be that a neural network was just the name given to a network nerve cells in an organism. In the modern world, the term “neural net” (short for “neural network) also applies to virtual or electronic devices designed to mimic the function of the human brain, and in particular learning from past experiences.

47. Pooh pal TIGGER
Tigger is a character in the “Winnie-the-Pooh” stories by A. A. Milne. He is a tiger with a springy tail and just loves to bounce around. Tigger will tell you himself that “bouncing is what tiggers do best.”

49. Seder month NISAN
Nisan is the first month in the Hebrew ecclesiastical calendar.

The Passover Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover holiday, celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

51. “Modern Family” network ABC TV
“Modern Family” is a marvelous television show shown on ABC since 2009. The show’s format is that of a “mockumentary”, with the cast often addressing the camera directly. In that respect “Modern Family” resembles two other excellent shows: “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation”, both of which might also be described a “mockumentaries”.

54. Aunt with a “Cope Book” ERMA
“Aunt Erma’s Cope Book” was written by Erma Bombeck and published in 1979. Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years, producing more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns describing her home life in suburbia.

58. Pulls a Charmin shenanigan, briefly TPS
TP’ing (toilet papering) is a prank involving the covering of some object or location with rolls and rolls of toilet paper. If you live in Texas or Minnesota, that little “prank” is legal, but if you live here in California it is classed as mischief or vandalism.

Charmin is a brand of toilet paper made by Procter & Gamble.

I suppose one could be forgiven for thinking that “shenanigan” is an Irish term. Apparently the word is of uncertain derivation but was coined in San Francisco and Sacramento, California in the mid-1800s.

59. Skedaddle HIE
“To hie” is to move quickly, to bolt.

“Skedaddle ” is a slang term meaning “run away” that dates back to the Civil War.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. “The Jungle Book” villain SHERE KHAN
10. Character in the comic “Mutts” MOOCH
15. Stubborn TENACIOUS
16. Howe’er ALTHO’
17. Mutton dish IRISH STEW
18. Title from the Arabic for “master” SAHIB
19. Litter call MEW
20. Orchestra sect. STR
21. Electric guitar effect REVERB
22. Christmas __ PIE
23. Mate’s affirmative AYE
24. 2013 Spike Jonze film HER
25. Arctic coast explorer RAE
26. “Revolutionary Road” author Richard YATES
28. “… high hope for __ heaven”: Shak. A LOW
30. Mil. awards DSCS
31. Part of many a date MOVIE
33. Cheapen ABASE
35. Diagonally … or what each of four pairs of puzzle answers form? KITTY CORNER
38. To date AS YET
39. Virtuous MORAL
41. Cry of discomfort MOAN
44. Romantic evening highlight, perhaps MOON
46. Shore up, as an embankment REVET
48. Mil. branch USN
49. Present NOW
50. Munch on EAT
52. Former Abbey Road Studios owner EMI
53. Gradual revelation FADE IN
55. Center HUB
56. Record LOG
57. Ice cream thickeners AGARS
58. Peggy Lee specialty TORCH SONG
61. Alabama River city SELMA
62. Chestnut PLATITUDE
63. C.S. Lewis hero ASLAN
64. “Looney Tunes” lisper SYLVESTER

Down
1. Half of a cartoon duo STIMPY
2. “Yoo-hoo!” HERE I AM!
3. 1944 Pacific battle site ENIWETOK
4. Univ. peer leaders RAS
5. Command level: Abbr. ECH
6. __-face KISSY
7. Winter warmer HOT TEA
8. Violinist who taught Heifetz AUER
9. State north of Victoria: Abbr. NSW
10. Electromagnetic wave generator MASER
11. Norse royal name OLAV
12. Leftovers OTHERS
13. President before Sarkozy CHIRAC
14. Friend of Calvin HOBBES
21. Nuke REWARM
23. “A chain … strong __ weakest link” AS ITS
24. Rail rider HOBO
27. French spa EVIAN
29. Kind of vegetarian LACTO
30. Caterpillar rival DEERE
32. Linguistic root ETYMON
34. Derisive sound SNORT
36. “Yikes!” YEOW!
37. Disentangle RAVEL OUT
40. Paper with a Société section LE MONDE
41. Scar’s brother MUFASA
42. Oklahoma natives OSAGES
43. Along with the rest AND ALL
45. __ network NEURAL
47. Pooh pal TIGGER
49. Seder month NISAN
51. “Modern Family” network ABC TV
54. Aunt with a “Cope Book” ERMA
55. Blessed HOLY
58. Pulls a Charmin shenanigan, briefly TPS
59. Skedaddle HIE
60. Some routes: Abbr. STS

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6 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 4 Dec 15, Friday”

  1. Until I came to Bill's blog this morning I still wasn't sure that the answer I had (ech) for 5 Down "Command level: abbr. Live and learn. Ravel out for 37 Down "disentangle" was also a phrase that was new to me.

    This puzzle came together pretty easily for a Friday.

    I hope you all have a safe and relaxing Friday. I'm off to the dentist for my teetch cleaning shortly.

  2. While I realize that complaining about a puzzle constructor's wording of a clue is like biting the hand that feeds us, since when is a cry the same thing as a moan (41A)? They're two different decibel levels entirely.

  3. @Tony Michaels Congratulations! You thought it came together pretty easily?
    Yikes, this was way over my head.
    Too many unknowns for me. SHERE KAHN,MUFASA,SCAR, ASLAN.
    Didn't even remember HOBBES had an "e" at the end.
    STR,DSCS,USN,EMI,RAS,ECH,NSW,AS ITS, TPS,STS. Oh my!
    My REVERB was WAH_WAH.
    Holy smokes, what's Saturday going to bring?

  4. I had a tough time with this puzzle – it must have been the last symptoms of the flu, that are still in my system.

    Re: Shere Khan, the villian in the novel, ( who I was not familiar with -) and Sher Shah Suri 1486-1545 , a real life conqueror of eastern India. It would have been impossible for Mr. Kipling, to have not heard his name or exploits, a mere 300 years before his time ….

    Sher Shah even defeated and kicked out, the 'progenitor' of the Mughal dynasty, Humayun, out of India, albeit temporarily.

    Sher Shah Suri, was no angel …. as the article notes …. he was a brilliant (?) and rapacious general, and a fairly good administrator – who was hell bent on plundering and looting society. Indeed, he was no better or worse, than the others who followed him, in time, of all races.

    As for Mr. Rudyard Kipling's perpetual and persistent racist attitude against Indians, in all manner and forms …. I think I should stop now.

    Have a good weekend, all.

  5. Yeah…DNFed on this one. Didn't get enough to get anywhere on the grid. But didn't get to spend too much time on it either, so that's likely part of it too. But I spent enough.

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