LA Times Crossword 30 Sep 19, Monday

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Constructed by: Roland Huget
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: White Matter

Themed answers each comprise two words that often follow the word “WHITE”:

  • 60A Certain brain tissue, or what each half of the answers to the starred clues can be : WHITE MATTER
  • 17A*Realtor’s client : HOUSE HUNTER (“White House” & “white hunter”)
  • 26A *Surface for slicing rye, say : BREADBOARD (“white bread” & “white board”)
  • 36A *Vehicle’s rear warning lamp : TAILLIGHT (“white tail” & “white light”)
  • 50A *Feline metaphor for an empty threat : PAPER TIGER (“white paper“ & “white tiger”)

Bill’s time: 4m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Gull relatives : TERNS

Terns are seabirds that are found all over the world. The Arctic Tern makes a very long-distance migration. One Arctic Tern that was tagged as a chick in Great Britain in the summer of 1982, was spotted in Melbourne, Australia just three months later. The bird had traveled over 14,000 miles in over those three months, an average of about 150 miles a day. Remarkable …

11 Cleopatra’s killer : ASP

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

15 Trip odometer function : RESET

An odometer measures distance traveled. “Odometer comes from the Greek “hodos” meaning “path” and “metron” meaning “measure”.

16 Chinese steamed bun : BAO

A baozi (also “bou, bao”) is a steamed, filled bun in Chinese cuisine.

17 *Realtor’s client : HOUSE HUNTER (“White House” & “white hunter”)

The White House was designed by an Irishman. James Hoban from County Kilkenny emigrated to the US in his twenties, and won the design competition for the White House in 1792.

21 __ d’Alene, Idaho : COEUR

The city, lake and river in Idaho called Coeur d’Alene are all named for the Coeur d’Alene People, Native Americans who lived in the area when it was first explored by French Canadian fur traders. “Coeur d’Alene” translates from French as “heart of an awl”. The Native American people were given this name as they were perceived as shrewd traders by their Canadian counterparts.

24 Social reformer Jacob : RIIS

Journalist Jacob Riis is famous for his photographs and newspaper articles that highlighted the plight of the impoverished in New York City. He wrote “How the Other Half Lives”, originally an extensive article that appeared in “Scribner’s Magazine” at Christmas 1889. The article had such an impact that Riis was commissioned to expand it into a book, which was published the following year.

28 Body ink : TATTOO

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are sometimes referred to as “ink”.

30 Eye part that may become detached : RETINA

The retina is the tissue that lines the inside of the eye, and is the tissue that is light-sensitive. There are (mainly) two types of cells in the retina that are sensitive to light, one called rods and the other cones. Rods are cells that best function in very dim light and only provide black-and-white vision. Cones on the other hand function in brighter light and can perceive color.

31 Golf’s Slammin’ Sammy : SNEAD

Sam Snead was probably the most successful golfer never to win a US Open title, as he won a record 82 PGA Tour events. Snead did win seven majors, but never the US Open. He was also quite the showman. He once hit the scoreboard at Wrigley Field stadium with a golf ball, by teeing off from home plate. Snead’s best-remembered nickname is “Slammin’ Sammy”.

32 Karma : FATE

Karma is a religious concept with its basis in Indian faiths. Karma embraces the notion of cause and effect. Good deeds have good consequences at some later point in one’s life, one’s future life, or one’s afterlife. And, bad deeds have bad consequences.

35 Vegas’ “one-armed bandit” : SLOT

Slot machines earned the nickname “one-armed bandits” simply because they had “one arm”, the handle pulled to operate the machine. Well, they also rob your money!

36 *Vehicle’s rear warning lamp : TAILLIGHT (“white tail” & “white light”)

The white-tailed deer is very common in North America, especially east of the Rocky Mountains. West of the Rockies, white-tails have largely been replaced by black-tailed deer.

When light passes through a prism, it splits up (disperses) into differing wavelengths. It then becomes clear that white light is actually a mixture of different colors, which show up as beautiful spectrum.

42 Pick out with care : CULL

To cull is to pick out the best, to get rid of the rejects.

43 Aficionados : BUFFS

A buff or nut is someone who is extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable about a subject. For example, one might be a movie buff, or perhaps a baseball nut.

An aficionado is an enthusiast. Imported from Spanish, “aficionado” was originally used in English to describe a devotee of bullfighting.

47 “Ye Olde” retailer : SHOPPE

The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.

50 *Feline metaphor for an empty threat : PAPER TIGER (“white paper“ & “white tiger”)

A paper tiger is something that appears to be threatening like a tiger, but when challenged tends to back down. The term “paper tiger” is a direct translation of the Chinese phrase that has the same meaning.

A white paper is a report designed to explain an issue, make a decision or solve a problem.

The white tiger is a Bengal tiger that is missing the pigments that produce the usual orange color due to a genetic mutation. The mutation is a rare one, and the probability of it occurring increases with inbreeding. Inbreeding can cause genetic defects, such as crossed-eyes, a crooked backbone and kidney problems.

54 Pâté de __ gras : FOIE

Pâté is a rich spreadable paste made from a mixture of ground meat and fat, to which various vegetables, herbs and spices may be added. The most famous version of the paste is pâté de foie gras, which is made from the fattened livers of geese (“foie gras” means “fat liver” in French).

55 Goodnight woman of song : IRENE

“Goodnight, Irene”, also known as “Irene, Goodnight”, is a lovely American folk song that was first recorded commercially back in 1932 by blues singer Lead Belly. The song made it to number one in the charts for the Weavers in 1950 and for Frank Sinatra in the same year.

56 “The __ Wears Prada”: 2006 film : DEVIL

“The Devil Wears Prada” is a 2003 novel by Lauren Weisberger that is set in the fashion industry. One of the main characters in the story is Miranda Priestly, the tyrannical editor-in-chief of the fictional fashion magazine “Runway”. It has been suggested that the Priestly character was inspired by Anna Wintour, the real life editor-in-chief of “Vogue”. Weisberger’s book was adapted into a very successful film with the same title that was released in 2006, with Meryl Streep playing Priestly.

60 Certain brain tissue, or what each half of the answers to the starred clues can be : WHITE MATTER

Grey matter and white matter are the two components of the central nervous system. Grey matter is mainly made up of neurons, and white matter is largely made of axons, the projections of the neurons that form nerve fibers.

65 Reagan attorney general Ed : MEESE

Ed Meese was born in Oakland, California and spent 24 years in the office of the Treasurer of Alameda County, the county in which I used to live. After military service, Meese earned himself a law degree at UC Berkeley. Later, as chief of staff for President Reagan, he was instrumental in a famous decision to crack down on student protesters at Berkeley which resulted in one protester dying and a two-week occupation of the city by the California National Guard.

68 Medicare Rx section : PART D

Medicare is divided into four parts:

  • A: Hospital Insurance
  • B: Medical Insurance
  • C: Medicare Advantage Plans
  • D: Prescription Drug Plans

There seems to be some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

Down

2 Ian Fleming or George Orwell, schoolwise : ETONIAN

The world-famous Eton College is just a brisk walk from Windsor Castle, which itself is just outside London. Eton is noted for producing many British leaders including David Cameron who was British prime minister from 2010 to 2016. The list of Old Etonians also includes Princes William and Harry, the Duke of Wellington and George Orwell. Author Ian Fleming was also and Eton alumnus, as was Fleming’s iconic character James Bond, although the 007 was expelled by the school.

4 Old Nintendo game console: Abbr. : NES

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was sold in North America from 1985 to 1995. The NES was the biggest selling gaming console of the era. Nintendo replaced the NES with Wii, which is also the biggest-selling game console in the world.

10 Flasher at a disco : STROBE

A strobe light is a device that produces regular flashes, like the light on top of a police car. The term derives from the Greek “strobos” meaning “twisting, whirling”.

Discotheques first appeared during WWII in Occupied France. American-style music (like jazz and jitterbug dances) was banned by the Nazis, so French natives met in underground clubs that they called discotheques where records were often played on just a single turntable. After the war, these clubs came out into the open. One famous Paris discotheque was called “Whiskey a Gogo”. In that Paris disco, non-stop music was played using two turntables next to a dance-floor, and this concept spread around the world.

11 1797-1801 first lady Adams : ABIGAIL

Abigail Adams (born Abigail Smith) had a unique distinction being married to John Adams. Abigail was the first Second Lady of the US, and then became the second First Lady! That said, the titles of “Second Lady” and “First Lady” were not used in her day.

12 City near Naples : SALERNO

Salerno is a port city on the southwest coast of Italy. In WWII, after the Italians negotiated a peace treaty with the Allies in 1943, the King of Italy relocated to Salerno from Rome. The new Italian government was set up in the city, and so for a few months, Salerno was the nation’s capital.

18 Stereotypical boxcar hopper : 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.

A boxcar is a basic railroad car used to carry freight. It’s the one shaped like a big box, with large doors at each side.

23 1979 Donna Summer hit : HOT STUFF

Donna Summer is known as “The Queen of Disco”, with great hits like “Love to Love You, Baby”, “I Feel Love” and “Hot Stuff”. In the late sixties and early seventies, LaDonna Gaines (her real name) lived and worked in Germany. There she met and married an Austrian actor called Helmuth Sommer. They divorced not long after the marriage, but Donna kept his family name, just changing the “o” to “u” to give her the stage name of “Donna Summer”.

25 Local govt. prison : STATE PEN

“Pen” is a slang term for “penitentiary”. Back in the early 1400s, a penitentiary was a place to do “penance”, a place of punishment for offences against the church.

27 Bit of wine sediment : DREG

The dregs in wine, the sediment that settles during fermentation (and sometimes in the bottle), are also called “lees”.

29 “Ghost” psychic __ Mae Brown : ODA

Oda Mae Brown is the psychic medium in the movie “Ghost”, and is played by Whoopi Goldberg.

33 “__ My Children” : ALL

“All My Children” was the first daytime soap opera to debut in the seventies. Star of the show was Susan Lucci who played Erica Kane. The show was cancelled in 2011 after being on the air for 41 years.

37 Rapper/actor whose name sounds like a summer drink : ICE-T

Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles (I know I am!). Born Tracy Marrow, Ice-T has been interested in acting for decades and made his film debut in the 1984 movie about breakdancing called “Breakin’”. He has also played Detective Fin Tutuola in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since the year 2000.

38 “Westworld” network : HBO

“Westworld” is an HBO series that is based on a 1973 movie of the same name, which was written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton. Westworld is a high-tech theme park populated by androids that interact with the guests.

39 Pill for pain : ASPIRIN

“Aspirin” used to be a brand name for the drug acetylsalicylic acid. Aspirin was introduced by the German drug company Bayer AG in the late 1800s. As part of the war reparations paid by Germany after WWI, Bayer AG lost the use of the trademark “Aspirin” (as well as the trademark Heroin!) and it became a generic term.

40 Pantomimed act in a parlor game : CHARADE

In the parlor game known as charades, players take turns acting out words or phrases. “Charade” is a French word describing a literary puzzle that was popular in 18th-century France. In said game, the word or phrase was broken into its constituent syllables, with each syllable being described somewhat enigmatically. This puzzle evolved into “acted charades”, which we now refer to simply as “charades”.

45 “… who is the __ one of all?”: Evil Queen : FAIREST

In the German fairy tale “Snow White” (and the Disney film), the wicked queen owns a magic mirror, which she asks every morning:

Magic mirror in my hand, who is the fairest in the land?

Walt Disney changed the words slightly for his movie version of the tale:

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

46 Manned the helm : STEERED

In its broadest sense, the term “helm” describes the whole of a ship’s steering mechanism, including the rudder and tiller. In a more specific sense, the helm is the handle, tiller or wheel that is used to control the steering gear.

48 Like the Great Depression, timewise : PRE-WAR

The Great Depression (also “Depression Era) was a worldwide phenomenon in the decade or so that preceded World War II. The depression was sparked by a dramatic drop in stock prices in the US in September 1929, which eventually made the news around the world following the stock market crash of October 29th of that year, now known as Black Tuesday. US unemployment rose to 25% during the Great Depression, and in some countries unemployment was as high as 33%. Many economists believe that World War II played a large role in ending the depression, at least here in the US. Government spending on the war increased employment dramatically, although many of those jobs were in the front lines. During the war, unemployment fell back below 10%.

49 Like the Reaper : GRIM

The Grim Reaper is one of the personifications of death, along with the Hooded One and the Angel of Death. Death has been depicted since the 1400s as a skeleton in a hooded, black cloak and carrying a scythe. The name “Grim Reaper” only dates back to the mid-1800s.

53 Activist Medgar : EVERS

Medgar Evers was an African American civil rights activist from Mississippi who was assassinated by the Klu Klux Klan in 1963. A year after the murder, one Byron De La Beckwith was arrested and charged with the crime. Two trials failed to return a decision on Beckwith’s guilt as the juries, composed completely of white males, deadlocked both times. New evidence was unearthed some thirty years later so Beckwith could be retried and he was finally convicted of the murder in 1994. Back in 1963 Evers was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. Evers had served in the US Army in France during WWII and left the military with the rank of sergeant.

61 Medical ins. plan : HMO

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Gull relatives : TERNS
6 Spots to fast-forward through : TV ADS
11 Cleopatra’s killer : ASP
14 Sharply inclined : STEEP
15 Trip odometer function : RESET
16 Chinese steamed bun : BAO
17 *Realtor’s client : HOUSE HUNTER (“White House” & “white hunter”)
19 Category : ILK
20 Rural stopover : INN
21 __ d’Alene, Idaho : COEUR
22 “Well, gosh!” : OH, GEE!
24 Social reformer Jacob : RIIS
26 *Surface for slicing rye, say : BREADBOARD (“white bread” & “white board”)
28 Body ink : TATTOO
30 Eye part that may become detached : RETINA
31 Golf’s Slammin’ Sammy : SNEAD
32 Karma : FATE
35 Vegas’ “one-armed bandit” : SLOT
36 *Vehicle’s rear warning lamp : TAILLIGHT (“white tail” & “white light”)
39 Head or tooth pain : ACHE
42 Pick out with care : CULL
43 Aficionados : BUFFS
47 “Ye Olde” retailer : SHOPPE
49 Lose its fizz, as soda : GO FLAT
50 *Feline metaphor for an empty threat : PAPER TIGER (“white paper“ & “white tiger”)
54 Pâté de __ gras : FOIE
55 Goodnight woman of song : IRENE
56 “The __ Wears Prada”: 2006 film : DEVIL
58 “__ you awake?” : ARE
59 Vied for office : RAN
60 Certain brain tissue, or what each half of the answers to the starred clues can be : WHITE MATTER
63 Pre-marital (just barely) promise : I DO
64 Parisian love : AMOUR
65 Reagan attorney general Ed : MEESE
66 After taxes : NET
67 Easy victories : ROMPS
68 Medicare Rx section : PART D

Down

1 Tops with slogans : T-SHIRTS
2 Ian Fleming or George Orwell, schoolwise : ETONIAN
3 Get the old gang together : REUNITE
4 Old Nintendo game console: Abbr. : NES
5 Job detail, briefly : SPEC
6 More accurate : TRUER
7 Change of __: trial request : VENUE
8 Stars, in Latin : ASTRA
9 Lousy grade : DEE
10 Flasher at a disco : STROBE
11 1797-1801 first lady Adams : ABIGAIL
12 City near Naples : SALERNO
13 Prodded : POKED AT
18 Stereotypical boxcar hopper : HOBO
23 1979 Donna Summer hit : HOT STUFF
25 Local govt. prison : STATE PEN
27 Bit of wine sediment : DREG
29 “Ghost” psychic __ Mae Brown : ODA
32 Winter malady : FLU
33 “__ My Children” : ALL
34 Shop __ you drop : ‘TIL
37 Rapper/actor whose name sounds like a summer drink : ICE-T
38 “Westworld” network : HBO
39 Pill for pain : ASPIRIN
40 Pantomimed act in a parlor game : CHARADE
41 “Sure wish that doesn’t happen” : HOPE NOT
44 Pool noodle, e.g. : FLOATER
45 “… who is the __ one of all?”: Evil Queen : FAIREST
46 Manned the helm : STEERED
48 Like the Great Depression, timewise : PRE-WAR
49 Like the Reaper : GRIM
51 Figure of speech : IDIOM
52 Hop out of bed : GET UP
53 Activist Medgar : EVERS
57 Tanning device : LAMP
61 Medical ins. plan : HMO
62 Scone go-with : TEA

11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 30 Sep 19, Monday”

  1. Yes, a nice Monday puzzle. I fought my way though the one yesterday. Never got the theme either, even with that said, I DNF……again! Had trouble in the mid Pacific area. By afternoon, and too much football watching, I threw the towel in.

    Baseball fans: Some of us still have the playoffs to get though. Sorry that the Cubs didn’t do so well this season. They’re my 2nd team, Dodgers being #1 to root for. Good luck to all..whoever your team is.

  2. LAT: 4:43, no errors. Universal Sunday (21×21): 13:14, 2 errors. Been so busy I probably won’t get to the rest until later.

    I’m very glad baseball is over. Can’t really support or root for the bunch of rich kids that are determining whether they bought the World Series or not.

    1. WSJ: 5:12, no errors. Newsday: 4:29, no errors. New Yorker: 17:24, no errors. CHE: 6:05, no errors. BEQ: 16:53, 2 errors. Pretty much went a lot faster than I thought it might. Recording is almost an afterthought, time wise now. Need to try for a Beginner Help video or three sooner or later.

  3. Wish I could consider 8 minutes a slow time We got it, but it took our usual hour plus.
    The only one I contested was the pre-martial promise of I DO. That comes on the day
    of the wedding. No matter; we left it.

    My first pass did not give many knowns, but after the wife made hers, a whole bunch of
    half-finished words just jumped out at me and I was able to finish very quickly. Just one
    of those puzzles that fit my brain and my eye. Use that guy some more.

    Kudos to all you guys and gals that are so good and so fast. It is a privilege to read your
    times and comments.

  4. 43 across; buff, comes from volunteers or fans of early US fire departments. These aficionados would sometimes sleep in the firehouse under buffalo skins, hence the word buff.
    I’m a retired firefighter and that’s the definition I learned many years ago, right or wrong!

  5. 6:50 but it seemed harder than that. One square wrong as I don’t know how to spell SeLERNO evidently. Good Monday puzzle.

    Cardinals made the post season. They’ve spoiled me the last couple of decades so 3 years without a post season seems like an eternity. I hope we get to play the Dodgers. That would mean we beat the Braves, and I’m not confident of that happening…at all.

    Best –

  6. Didn’t notice the theme. Didn’t know BAO or ODA. Too much French, but glad to see fellow Dutchman RIIS. No Googles or errors, but my time is closer to the good sports, the Daigles.

  7. Hello gang!!🦆

    No errors, but a personal Natick at ODA/SNEAD. Wasn’t sure of either, but I guessed right. 😊 Also never heard of WHITE MATTER. I thought it was all gray!! What do I know…

    The expression “white hunter” strikes me as distasteful, in all senses. Weird to see it referred to in a puzzle. If any of you are hunters: no offense meant….I don’t like hunting in general, but here, mainly I object to the idea of going into someone else’s country and slaughtering big game.

    Jeff, I’m glad the Cardinals made it! You know they’re one of my fave teams. Hope they beat the Braves…

    Be well~~🚋⚾️

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