LA Times Crossword 9 Dec 19, Monday

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Constructed by: Kurt Mengel & Jan-Michele Gianette
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Meat of the Matter

Themed answers each start with a kind of MEAT:

  • 60A Issue’s most important element … and a hint to 17-, 30-, 36- and 47-Across : MEAT OF THE MATTER
  • 17A Career-boosting political spending on local projects : PORK-BARREL BILLS
  • 30A Amateur radio hobbyist : HAM OPERATOR
  • 36A Zeros : GOOSE EGGS
  • 47A Paltry sum : CHICKEN FEED
  • Bill’s time: 5m 36s

    Bill’s errors: 0

    Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

    Across

    1 “Georgia on My Mind” singer Charles : RAY

    Ray Charles came up with his stage name by dropping the family name from his real moniker “Ray Charles Robinson”. His life was a wild ride, and was well-represented in the excellent 2004 biopic called “Ray” starring Jamie Foxx in the title role. Ray Charles was married twice and fathered 12 children with nine different women. As I said, a wild ride …

    “Georgia on My Mind” is a song composed in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell. Gorrell’s lyrics refer to the state of Georgia, although there is a common assertion that the reference is instead to Hoagy’s sister Georgia Carmichael. Hoagy himself assures us that the former is the case, in his second autobiography “Sometimes I Wonder”. Hoagy Carmichael himself made the first recording, in 1930, but the most famous is the 1960 cover version by Ray Charles. “Georgia on My Mind” was made the official state song of Georgia in 1979.

    4 Party music mix, briefly : DJ SET

    The world’s first radio disc jockey (DJ) was one Ray Newby of Stockton, California who made his debut broadcast in 1909, would you believe? When he was 16 years old and a student, Newby started to play his records on a primitive radio located in the Herrold College of Engineering and Wireless in San Jose. The records played back then were mostly recordings of Enrico Caruso.

    9 Keep from having kittens, say : SPAY

    Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.

    17 Career-boosting political spending on local projects : PORK-BARREL BILLS

    Pork-barrel politics have been around for a long time. The term “pork barrel” originated in 1863 in a story by Edward Everett Hale called “The Children of the Public”. Hale used the phrase in a positive way, describing any public spending by government for the benefit of citizens. By the 1870s the term “pork” had negative connotations, with references in the press to “pork-barrel bills” in Congress. Nowadays “pork” really applies to any government project designed to benefit a relatively small group of citizens (usually potential voters for a particular politician) with the bill being paid by the citizenry as a whole.

    21 Smitten : IN LOVE

    “Smitten” is the past participle of “to smite”, meaning “to inflict a heavy blow”. We tend to use “smitten” to mean “affected by love, love-struck”.

    22 Dancer Duncan : ISADORA

    Isadora Duncan was an American dancer who is regarded as the inventor of American modern dance. Duncan emphasised the torso in her moves, a break from the balletic tradition of moving from the feet. She left the US when she was 22 years old and moved to Europe around 1900, and from there emigrated to the Soviet Union. Duncan had a tragic passing. She loved to travel in open automobiles while wearing a long, flowing scarf. One day her scarf got wrapped around the spokes and axle of the car in which she was travelling, and that broke her neck.

    25 Thurman who played The Bride in “Kill Bill” films : 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.

    “Kill Bill” is a 3-part Quentin Tarantino movie (I haven’t seen it, as I really don’t do Tarantino). “Kill Bill” started off as one film, but as the running time was over four hours, it was split into two “volumes”, released several months apart in 2003 and 2004. There has been a lot of talk about making “Kill Bill: Volume 3”.

    30 Amateur radio hobbyist : HAM OPERATOR

    Amateur radio enthusiasts were first called “ham operators” by professional telegraph operators, and the term was intended to be insulting. It came from the similar term “ham actor”, describing a person who is less than effective on the stage. But amateur operators eventually embraced the moniker, and so it stuck.

    33 “Cats” poet’s monogram : TSE

    T. S. Eliot (TSE) was born in New England but grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Much of Eliot’s college education was at Oxford, and clearly he became comfortable with life in England. In 1927 he became a British citizen and lived the rest of life in the UK.

    “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” is a 1939 collection of poems by T. S. Eliot (TSE). The collection of whimsical poetry was a favorite of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber when he was a child. Webber used Eliot’s poems as inspiration for his megahit musical “Cats”.

    34 Chief Norse god : ODIN

    In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. Odin’s wife Frigg was the queen of Asgard whose name gave us our English term “Friday” (via Anglo-Saxon). Odin’s son was Thor, whose name gave us the term “Thursday”. Odin himself gave us our word “Wednesday” from “Wodin”, the English form of his name.

    35 “Great” dog : DANE

    The Great Dane breed of dog isn’t actually from Denmark, and rather is from Germany.

    36 Zeros : GOOSE EGGS

    The use of the phrase “goose egg” to mean “zero” is baseball slang that dates back to the 1860s. The etymology is as expected: the numeral zero and a goose egg are both large and round.

    43 Creme-filled cookie : OREO

    The Oreo was the best-selling cookie in the 20th century, and almost 500 billion of them have been sold since they were introduced in 1912 by Nabisco. In those early days the creme filling was made with pork fat, but today vegetable oils are used instead. If you take a bite out of an Oreo sold outside of America you might notice a difference from the homegrown cookie, as coconut oil is added in the overseas version to give a different taste.

    44 Rx : MED

    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.

    47 Paltry sum : CHICKEN FEED

    The adjective “paltry” comes from an older use of “paltry” as a noun meaning a “worthless thing”.

    51 Madison in NYC, e.g. : AVE

    Madison Avenue became the center of advertising in the US in the twenties, and serves as the backdrop to the great TV drama “Mad Men”. There aren’t many advertising agencies left on Madison Avenue these days though, as most have moved to other parts of New York City. The street takes its name from Madison Square, which is bounded on one side by Madison Avenue. The square in turn takes its name from James Madison, the fourth President of the United States.

    54 Aspen getaway : SKI TRIP

    Aspen, Colorado used to be known as Ute City, with the name change taking place in 1880. Like many communities in the area, Aspen was a mining town, and in 1891 and 1892 it was at the center of the highest production of silver in the US. Nowadays, it’s all about skiing and movie stars.

    59 “There you have it!” : VOILA!

    The French word “voilà” means “there it is”, and “voici” means “here it is”. The terms come from “voi là” meaning “see there” and “voi ici” meaning “see here”.

    65 Prefix with sonic : ULTRA-

    “Ultrasound” is the name given to sound energy that has frequencies above the audible range.

    67 Sport played on horseback : POLO

    A game of polo is divided into periods of play called chukkers (sometimes “chukkas”). The game usually lasts for two hours, plus the time between the chukkers that is used to change horses.

    68 Africa’s Sierra __ : LEONE

    The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa that lies on the Atlantic Coast. The capital city of Freetown was originally set up as a colony to house the “Black Poor” of London, England. These people were mainly freed British slaves of Caribbean descent who were living a miserable life in the run-down parts of London. Perhaps to help the impoverished souls, perhaps to rid the streets of “a problem”, three ships were chartered in 1787 to transport a group of blacks, with some whites, to a piece of land purchased in Sierra Leone. Those who made the voyage were granted British citizenship and protection. The descendants of these immigrants, and others who made the journey over the next 60 years, make up the ethnic group that’s today called the Sierra Leone Creole.

    69 Sgts.’ superiors : LTS

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

    Down

    4 Forensic evidence : DNA

    Something described as forensic is connected with a court of law, or with public discussion or debate. The term comes from the Latin “forensis” meaning “of a forum, of a place of assembly”. We mainly use the word today to mean “pertaining to legal trials” as in “forensic medicine” and “forensic science”.

    6 iPhone assistant : SIRI

    Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. Voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri a few years ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

    9 Prison knife : SHIV

    “Shiv” is a slang term describing a weapon crudely fashioned to resemble a knife. Mostly we hear of shivs that have been fashioned by prison inmates to do harm to others.

    10 Cornmeal dish : POLENTA

    Polenta is a porridge made from finely ground corn. The term “polenta” is Italian in origin.

    11 “__ the President’s Men” : ALL

    “All the President’s Men” is a marvelous book by “The Washington Post” journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. The book tells the remarkable tale of the investigation undertaken by Woodward and Bernstein into the Watergate scandal. The pair followed “All the President’s Men” with a sequel called “The Final Days” which told of President Nixon’s final months in office. One of my favorite movies of all time is the 1976 film adaption of “All the President’s Men” that stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.

    23 Swiss watch brand : RADO

    Rado is a manufacturer of watches that is noted for pioneering the use of scratch-proof materials. Rado makes a watch that the Guinness Book of Records calls “the hardest watch on Earth”.

    24 Friends in Lyon : AMIS

    The city of Lyon in France, is sometimes known as “Lyons” in English. Lyon is the second-largest metropolitan area in the country, after Paris. It is located just to the north of the confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers.

    36 Yukon automaker : GMC

    The GMC Yukon is basically the same vehicle as the Chevrolet Tahoe.

    37 “__ to you, matey!” : ‘ERE’S

    A Cockney is someone who, according to tradition, is born within the sound of Bow Bells in the center of London. The Cockney accent is usually considered “working class”. Cockney speakers often use a wonderful form of speech called rhyming slang. So, Cockney’s drink a lot of “Rosie Lea” (tea), and climb the “apples and pears” (stairs) using their “plates of meat” (feet). Cockneys also tend to “drop their aitches”, so “home” becomes “‘ome” and “horse” becomes “‘orse”.

    38 Many a techie : GEEK

    Originally, a geek was a sideshow performer, perhaps one at a circus. Sometimes the term “geek” is used today for someone regarded as foolish or clumsy, and also for someone who is technically driven and expert, but often socially inept.

    39 Bare-naked Lady : GODIVA

    In the legend of Lady Godiva, the noblewoman rode naked through the streets of Coventry in England, basically as a dare from her husband in return for relieving the taxes of his tenants. Lady Godiva issued instructions that all the town’s inhabitants should stay indoors while she made her journey. However, a tailor in the town named Tom disobeyed the instructions by boring holes in the shutters on his windows, and “peeped”. As a result, Peeping Tom was struck blind, and the term “peeping Tom” has been in our language ever since.

    40 Variety show hosts, briefly : MCS

    The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

    41 Sushi tuna : AHI

    Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

    48 Syrup brand since 1902 : KARO

    Karo is a brand of corn syrup. It is an industrially-manufactured sweetener derived from corn.

    50 Quik maker : NESTLE

    Nestlé Quik was introduced in 1948, and is a flavored powdered milk drink. It was sold in Europe as “Nesquik”, and that brand name replaced “Quik” here in the US in 1999. The Nesquik mascot is the Quik Bunny. The Quik Bunny had a large “Q” on a collar around his neck, and with the brand name change this “Q” became an “N”, and he is now known as the Nesquik Bunny.

    57 Director Preminger : OTTO

    Otto Preminger was noted for directing films that pushed the envelope in terms of subject matter, at least in the fifties and sixties. Great examples would be 1955’s “The Man with the Golden Arm” that dealt with drug addiction, 1959’s “Anatomy of a Murder” that dealt with rape, and 1962’s “Advise and Consent” that dealt with homosexuality. If you’ve seen these films, you’ll have noticed that the references are somewhat indirect and disguised, in order to get past the censors.

    58 “__ be in England … “: Browning : OH, TO

    Robert Browning met fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett in 1845. Elizabeth was a sickly woman, confined to her parents’ house in Wimpole Street in London, largely due to the conservative and protective nature of her father. Robert and Elizabeth eventually eloped in 1846, and lived in self-inflicted exile in Italy. Away from the country of his birth, Browning was moved to write his now famous “Home Thoughts, From Abroad”, the first line of which is “Oh, to be in England …”

    63 Daisy __: Li’l Abner’s wife : MAE

    Daisy Mae Scragg is the vampish woman who chases Li’l Abner trying to goad him into marriage. This went on for 15 years in the cartoon strip until creator Al Capp succumbed to public pressure and married the couple at the end of March 1952. The marriage was such a big event that it made the cover of “Life” magazine.

    Complete List of Clues/Answers

    Across

    1 “Georgia on My Mind” singer Charles : RAY
    4 Party music mix, briefly : DJ SET
    9 Keep from having kittens, say : SPAY
    13 “Big Band” and “Jazz” periods : ERAS
    15 Easily fooled : NAIVE
    16 __-in-one: golfer’s ace : HOLE
    17 Career-boosting political spending on local projects : PORK-BARREL BILLS
    20 Speaker sound : AUDIO
    21 Smitten : IN LOVE
    22 Dancer Duncan : ISADORA
    25 Thurman who played The Bride in “Kill Bill” films : UMA
    26 Chill in the air : NIP
    29 Pos. opposite : NEG
    30 Amateur radio hobbyist : HAM OPERATOR
    33 “Cats” poet’s monogram : TSE
    34 Chief Norse god : ODIN
    35 “Great” dog : DANE
    36 Zeros : GOOSE EGGS
    40 Polite address to a woman : MA’AM
    43 Creme-filled cookie : OREO
    44 Rx : MED
    47 Paltry sum : CHICKEN FEED
    51 Madison in NYC, e.g. : AVE
    52 Polite way to address a man : SIR
    53 Positive vote : AYE
    54 Aspen getaway : SKI TRIP
    56 To a greater extent : MORE SO
    59 “There you have it!” : VOILA!
    60 Issue’s most important element … and a hint to 17-, 30-, 36- and 47-Across : MEAT OF THE MATTER
    64 Leave out : OMIT
    65 Prefix with sonic : ULTRA-
    66 Sunrise direction : EAST
    67 Sport played on horseback : POLO
    68 Africa’s Sierra __ : LEONE
    69 Sgts.’ superiors : LTS

    Down

    1 Change the wall color : REPAINT
    2 Excites : AROUSES
    3 Football play measure : YARDAGE
    4 Forensic evidence : DNA
    5 Glass container : JAR
    6 iPhone assistant : SIRI
    7 Tie, as a score : EVEN UP
    8 “I have to know!” : TELL ME!
    9 Prison knife : SHIV
    10 Cornmeal dish : POLENTA
    11 “__ the President’s Men” : ALL
    12 “I agree” : YES
    14 Slide on the road : SKID
    18 Word of mock sadness : BOOHOO!
    19 Wild hog : BOAR
    23 Swiss watch brand : RADO
    24 Friends in Lyon : AMIS
    27 + or – particle : ION
    28 Opposite of post- : PRE-
    31 __ a kind : ONE OF
    32 Commercials : ADS
    36 Yukon automaker : GMC
    37 “__ to you, matey!” : ‘ERE’S
    38 Many a techie : GEEK
    39 Bare-naked Lady : GODIVA
    40 Variety show hosts, briefly : MCS
    41 Sushi tuna : AHI
    42 Postal service : AIRMAIL
    44 Word before vows or status : MARITAL …
    45 Most wicked : EVILEST
    46 Leaves : DEPARTS
    48 Syrup brand since 1902 : KARO
    49 Impressive sight : EYEFUL
    50 Quik maker : NESTLE
    55 Convenient bag : TOTE
    57 Director Preminger : OTTO
    58 “__ be in England … “: Browning : OH, TO
    60 Floor cleaner : MOP
    61 Broody music genre : EMO
    62 Geographical direction suffix : -ERN
    63 Daisy __: Li’l Abner’s wife : MAE

    9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 Dec 19, Monday”

    1. 5:08, not much to say about this one… pretty typical Monday fare. GOOSE seemed a little out of place as a MEAT, but maybe because it’s not much eaten these days.

    2. Had nErd before GEEK. DEseRT before DEPART. Never heard of RADO, but no problem. Thanks Bill, for instructing me.

      POLENTA is eaten in Northern Italy rather than pasta, which is wheat based. The expression, Mangia-polent’ is used to indicate a Northerner, in a sort of piteous way. However, in the case of the late NYC Gov. Mario Cuomo saying his (Mario’s) mother referred to Mondale as “polent,” it was meant Mondale was simply plain.

    3. 10:15 (!!) and no errors!!! But overwrites all over the place!!! Like a patch of black ice, I just could not find my footing in this bewildering Monday grid!!!

    4. 7:20 but that was done in pretty heavy tubulance and the flight attendant bugging me. Back home tonight. Great trip to Mexico.

      ISADORA Duncan. Wow. What a way to go.

      Best

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