LA Times Crossword 7 Dec 22, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Rich Norris
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Upside-down Cake

Themed answers are all in the down-direction and each includes a CAKE as a hidden word, written UPSIDE-DOWN:

  • 14A Food named for how it’s baked, and a hint to each set of circles : UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE
  • 4A Itinerary for touring speakers : LECTURE CIRCUIT (upside-down “RICE”)
  • 8A Brunch dish with ham and peppers : WESTERN OMELET (upside-down “LEMON”)
  • 16A Flatbed scanner relative : BARCODE READER (upside-down “CRAB”)

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

Bill’s time: 6m 08s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 GI on the lam : AWOL

MPs (military police officers) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

The initialism “GI” stands for “Government Issue”, and not “General Infantry” as is widely believed. “GI” was first used in the military to denote equipment made from Galvanized Iron and during WWI, incoming German shells were nicknamed “GI cans”. Soon after, the term GI came to be associated with “Government Issue” and eventually became an adjective to describe anything associated with the Army.

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 “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, scram”.

5 Annual festival in Austin, TX : SXSW

South by Southwest, also known as “SXSW”, is an annual festival that has been taking place in Austin, Texas since 1987. SXSW is a melded event, combining a music festival, a film festival and an interactive festival.

Austin is the capital of the state of Texas. When the area was chosen to be the capital of the Republic of Texas, it was known as Waterloo. The name was changed in honor of Stephen F. Austin, a native of Virginia who was raised in Missouri and led the first successful colonization of Texas.

9 Tot’s crumb catcher : BIB

The word “bib” comes from the Latin “bibere” meaning “to drink”, as does our word “imbibe”. So, maybe a bib is less about spilling the food, and more about soaking up the booze …

13 Short dog, for short : PEKE

The pekingese (“peke”) breed originated in China, as one might suspect from the name. Breeding practices have resulted in the dog having many health problems, including breathing issues related to the “desirable” flat face. Standards have been changed in recent years, demanding an “evident muzzle” in an attempt to breed healthier “pekes”.

14 Forearm bone : ULNA

The humerus (plural “humeri”) is the long bone in the upper arm. The bones in the forearm are the radius and ulna. “Ulna” is the Latin word for “elbow”, and “radius” is Latin for “ray”.

15 French preposition : AVEC

Our word “with” translates into “con” in Spanish, and into “avec” in French.

17 Gloomy aura : PALL

A pall is a cloth used to cover a casket at a funeral. Pallbearers actually carry the coffin, covered by the pall. The phrase “casting a pall over”, meaning to create a dark mood, is a metaphorical use of the “pall” over the casket.

18 Nissan sedans since 1982 : SENTRAS

The Nissan Sentra is sold as the Nissan Sunny back in Japan.

20 Put away, as loot : STASHED

“Loot” is the name given to anything taken by dishonesty or force, particularly during war. The term came into English from the Hindi “lut” meaning “goods taken from an enemy”.

22 “Blade Runner” actor Rutger __ : HAUER

Rutger Hauer is a Dutch actor, one famous in the US for his Hollywood roles. He was born in Breukelen in the Netherlands, which is the town that gave its name to the borough of Brooklyn in New York City.

“Blade Runner” is a cult classic, a sci-fi film made in 1982 loosely based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick. It was directed by Ridley Scott who regards “Blade Runner” as his most “complete” film. There is a phenomenon known as the “‘Blade Runner’ Curse”. An inordinate number of companies behind products that were displayed prominently in the movie found themselves in financial trouble soon after the movie’s release. Included in the list of troubled concerns are Atari, Cuisinart, Pan Am and the Bell System.

27 “Night” author Wiesel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor who is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He was also the first recipient of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Award, which was later renamed the Elie Wiesel Award in his honor.

28 Finance guru Suze : ORMAN

Suze Orman is a financial advisor who has gotten her message out on television, in books and on the speaking circuit. She often appears on PBS, and indeed is the most successful fundraiser public television has ever had.

30 1815 classic whose title character is played by Anya Taylor-Joy in a 2020 film : EMMA

Jane Austen’s novel “Emma” is the tale of Emma Woodhouse and the wonderful George Knightley. At the end of the story, Emma marries Knightley and her young friend Harriet marries Robert Martin, who had been trying to get Harriet’s attention practically from page one of the novel. Emma interfered in that troubled courtship.

The 2020 film “Emma” is a very entertaining adaptation of the 1815 novel of the same name by Jane Austen. Anya Taylor-Joy plays the title role, and musician/actor Johnny Flynn plays “Mr. Knightly”. Veteran actor Bill Nighy makes a welcome appearance as Emma’s father “Mr. Woodhouse”. I enjoyed this one …

Actress Anya Taylor-Joy had quite the international upbringing. She was born in Miami, and raised in Buenos Aires and then London. She is perhaps best known for playing the title character in the 2020 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma”, and the lead role in the Netflix miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit”.

35 “Same” : DITTO

The word “ditto” was originally used in Italian (from Tuscan dialect) to avoid repetition of the names of months in a series of dates. So, “ditto” is another wonderful import from that lovely land …

36 Campus bigwig : DEAN

A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term “bigwig” harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.

37 Novelist Morrison : TONI

Writer Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Amongst other things, Morrison is noted for coining the phrase “our first black President”, a reference to President Bill Clinton.

38 Derby town in Surrey, England : EPSOM

The Surrey town of Epsom in England is most famous for its racecourse (Epsom Downs), at which the Epsom Derby is run every year, one of the three races that make up the English Triple Crown. We also come across “Epsom salts” from time to time. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters. Epsom was indeed a spa town at one time. The town is also home to Epsom College, an English “public school” (which actually means “private, and expensive”). One of Epsom’s “old boys” was the Hollywood actor Stewart Granger.

Surrey is an English county located just to the southwest of London. Among the many historic locations in Surrey is Runnymede, famous for the signing of Magna Carta by King John in 1215.

Our use of the word “derby” to mean a race started in 1780 with the English Derby horse race, which was founded then by the 12th Earl of Derby. Ultimately, the term “derby” derives from the old English shire of “Deorby”, a word meaning “deer village”.

39 Frigg’s husband : 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.

44 Database systems giant : ORACLE

Oracle is a huge software company with headquarters in Redwood City, California. Oracle’s main product is enterprise software, software that meets the needs of an organization rather than an individual user. Oracle was co-founded in 1977 by Larry Ellison, who is now one of the richest business people in the world.

47 Jousting weapon : LANCE

“Jousting” and “tilting” are synonyms describing the medieval competition in which two horsemen yielding blunted lances attempt to unseat each other. Such an event has been referred to as “jousting” since the 1300s. At some point, the path of the two charging horsemen was separated by a cloth barrier known as a tilt (“tilt” meant “cloth covering”). The term “tilting” was applied to the sport in the 1500s, although by then the cloth barrier had been upgraded to a wooden fence.

50 Counterpoint melody : DESCANT

The term “descant” has several usages in the world of music. Primarily, it is a counterpoint sung above the main melody, especially in medieval music.

53 Fairway chunk : DIVOT

A divot is a chunk of grass and earth that is removed by a golf club immediately after striking the ball. “Divot” is derived from a Scottish word for a piece of turf or sod used as a roofing material.

56 “Law & Order: SVU” co-star : ICE-T

Rapper Ice-T must be tired 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.

57 Storm rescue op : EVAC

Evacuation (evac.)

58 2007 U.S. Women’s Open winner Cristie : KERR

Cristie Kerr is a professional golfer on the LPGA tour from Miami, Florida. Outside of golfing, Kerr is a very successful fundraiser for breast cancer research through her foundation called Birdies for Breast Cancer.

59 Lil Wayne’s “__ Carter V” : THA

“Lil Wayne” is the stage name used by rap artist Dwayne Carter, Jr. from New Orleans.

60 File partner : RANK

At the end of the 16th century, a group of soldiers marching in formation were divided into ranks and files. The ranks in the formation were the “horizontal” lines, and the files the “vertical” lines. The phrase “rank and file” was then used for “common soldiers”, and eventually “common people”.

61 “Grand” ice cream brand : EDY’S

Dreyer’s ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyer’s in the Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states. The company’s founders were William Dreyer and Joseph Edy.

Down

3 Phrase of unity in the Pledge of Allegiance : ONE NATION

The Pledge of Allegiance of the US was composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892 and was adopted by Congress in 1942. The actual words used in the pledge have changed over time. Here is the original 1892 version shown in comparison to the current version that was adopted in 1954:

1892: I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

1954: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

5 Health club amenities : SPAS

The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as “Spa” is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

8 Brunch dish with ham and peppers : WESTERN OMELET

A Western omelet (sometimes “omelette”) is also known as a Southwest omelet or a Denver omelet. The usual ingredients include diced ham, onions and green bell peppers.

Our word “brunch” is a portmanteau of “breakfast” and “lunch”. The term was coined as student slang in Oxford, England in the late 1890s. However, “brunch” described a combined meal closer to the breakfast hour, and the term “blunch” was used for a meal closer to lunchtime.

9 Malaise, with “the” : … BLAHS

A malaise is a general but undefined feeling of discomfort or illness. The term “malaise” ultimately comes from Old French with the prefix “mal-” meaning “bad” and “aise” meaning “ease”.

14 Food named for how it’s baked, and a hint to each set of circles : UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE

An upside-down cake is one baked in a single pan, with the topping at the bottom. When cooked, it is served the right way up, as it were. I think that the most popular version here in the US is a pineapple upside-down cake. Its popularity is largely due to a contest and subsequent ads by the Dole Pineapple Company in the 1920s. Another version of upside-down cake, that is particularly common in France, is the Tarte Tatin (which has a topping of caramelized apples).

16 Flatbed scanner relative : BARCODE READER

There are two types of barcode widely used today:

  1. Linear, or one-dimensional, barcodes usually comprise vertical black and white lines (“bars”) of varying thickness.
  2. Matrix, or two-dimensional, evolved from linear barcodes. They are often square in shape, and are usually made up of an array of rectangles, dots, hexagons and other shapes. A common example is a QR code.

19 Blues-rocker Chris : REA

Chris Rea is a singer-songwriter and respected blues guitar player from England. Rea’s biggest hit is a song that he wrote himself called “Fool (If You Think It’s Over”), released in 1978.

24 Mortgage balance, e.g. : DEBT

Our word “mortgage” comes from the Old French “mort gaige” which translated as “dead pledge”. Such an arrangement was so called because the “pledge” to repay “dies” when the debt is cleared.

25 Nonsense : TRIPE

“Tripe” is an informal term meaning “rubbish, of little value”. Tripe is actually the rubbery stomach lining of an animal such as a cow. Tripe is a traditional dish in British cuisine that is prepared by poaching it with onions in milk.

26 Ulan __: former Anglicization of Mongolia’s capital : BATOR

The name of Mongolia’s capital city Ulaanbaatar (formerly anglicized as “Ulan Bator”) translates as “the Red Hero”. The “Red Hero” name was chosen in honor of the country’s national hero Damdin Sükhbaatar. Sükhbaatar fought alongside the Soviet Red Army in the fight for liberation from Chinese occupation.

29 Matterhorn and Weisshorn: Abbr. : MTS

Many Alpine mountains have German names that end with “-horn”. Examples are Weisshorn and Matterhorn. “Horn” is German for “peak”.

33 Dudek of “Mad Men” : ANNE

American actress Anne Dudek is perhaps best known to American audiences for playing the antagonistic radiologist Dr. Amber Volakis on the medical drama “House”. Prior to getting the role on “House”, Dudek played the lead on the hit British show “The Book Group”.

“Mad Men” was the flagship show on the AMC television channel for several seasons. Set in the sixties, it’s all about an advertising agency located on Madison Avenue in New York (hence the title). “Mad Men” became the first show created by a basic cable channel to win an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.

41 Matterhorn or Weisshorn : ALP

“Matterhorn” is the German name for the famous Alpine peak that lies on the border between Switzerland and Italy. The Italian name for the same mountain is “Monte Cervino”, and the French call it “Mont Cervin”. “Matterhorn” comes from the German words Matte and Horn meaning “meadow” and “peak”. “Cervino” and “Cervin” come from the Latin name for the mountain, i.e. “Mons Silvius”, meaning “Forest Mountain”.

The Weisshorn is quite a famous peak in the Swiss Alps, one noted for its pure white slopes and pyramidal shape. The name “Weisshorn” translates from German as “White Peak”).

43 Courtroom VIPs : DAS

District attorney (DA)

44 Footnote abbr. : OP CIT

“Op. cit.” is short for “opus citatum”, Latin for “the work cited”. Op. cit. is used in footnotes to refer the reader to an earlier citation. It is similar to ibid, except that ibid refers the reader to the last citation, the one immediately above.

45 Jazz drummer Max : ROACH

Max Roach was a jazz drummer and pioneer of the bebop music genre. He was respected as a musician all over the world. He was awarded eight honorary doctorates in his life, including degrees from the University of Bologna and the Manhattan School of Music. Roach studied classical percussion at the latter in the 1950s.

46 Sleep disturbance : APNEA

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

49 Operatic icon : DIVA

The term “diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. It is the feminine form of “divus” meaning “divine one”. The word is used in Italy to mean “goddess” or “fine lady”, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.

51 Patches, as a driveway : TARS

The asphalt surface on roads (or basketball courts) is more properly called asphaltic concrete because asphalt itself (also known as “bitumen”) is just a sticky black liquid that comes from crude petroleum. Asphalt is used as a binder with aggregate to form asphaltic concrete.

54 Part of a moving story : VAN

The vehicle we call a “van” takes its name from “caravan”, and so “van” is a shortened version of the older term. Back in the 1600s, a caravan was a covered cart. We still use the word “caravan” in Ireland to describe what we call a “mobile home” or “recreational vehicle” here in the US.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 GI on the lam : AWOL
5 Annual festival in Austin, TX : SXSW
9 Tot’s crumb catcher : BIB
12 Rural strolling spot : LANE
13 Short dog, for short : PEKE
14 Forearm bone : ULNA
15 French preposition : AVEC
16 Rationale : BASIS
17 Gloomy aura : PALL
18 Nissan sedans since 1982 : SENTRAS
20 Put away, as loot : STASHED
22 “Blade Runner” actor Rutger __ : HAUER
23 Lives : EXISTS
24 Take away : DETRACT
26 Brought up : BRED
27 “Night” author Wiesel : ELIE
28 Finance guru Suze : ORMAN
30 1815 classic whose title character is played by Anya Taylor-Joy in a 2020 film : EMMA
34 Common interest group : BLOC
35 “Same” : DITTO
36 Campus bigwig : DEAN
37 Novelist Morrison : TONI
38 Derby town in Surrey, England : EPSOM
39 Frigg’s husband : ODIN
40 Steakhouse order : RARE
42 Steakhouse order : RED WINE
44 Database systems giant : ORACLE
47 Jousting weapon : LANCE
48 Revenue source in many a free app : POP-UP AD
50 Counterpoint melody : DESCANT
52 Kid’s plea for permission : CAN I?
53 Fairway chunk : DIVOT
55 “__ girl!” : ATTA
56 “Law & Order: SVU” co-star : ICE-T
57 Storm rescue op : EVAC
58 2007 U.S. Women’s Open winner Cristie : KERR
59 Lil Wayne’s “__ Carter V” : THA
60 File partner : RANK
61 “Grand” ice cream brand : EDY’S

Down

1 “Sad to say … ” : ALAS …
2 Greet from across the street, say : WAVE HELLO
3 Phrase of unity in the Pledge of Allegiance : ONE NATION
4 Itinerary for touring speakers : LECTURE CIRCUIT
5 Health club amenities : SPAS
6 Crosses (out) : XES
7 Winter getaway need, maybe : SKIS
8 Brunch dish with ham and peppers : WESTERN OMELET
9 Malaise, with “the” : … BLAHS
10 Cove, e.g. : INLET
11 Gets thinner, in a way : BALDS
14 Food named for how it’s baked, and a hint to each set of circles : UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE
16 Flatbed scanner relative : BARCODE READER
19 Blues-rocker Chris : REA
21 Lumberjack competition projectile : AXE
24 Mortgage balance, e.g. : DEBT
25 Nonsense : TRIPE
26 Ulan __: former Anglicization of Mongolia’s capital : BATOR
29 Matterhorn and Weisshorn: Abbr. : MTS
31 Treated, in a way : MEDICATED
32 Primary way in : MAIN ENTRY
33 Dudek of “Mad Men” : ANNE
41 Matterhorn or Weisshorn : ALP
43 Courtroom VIPs : DAS
44 Footnote abbr. : OP CIT
45 Jazz drummer Max : ROACH
46 Sleep disturbance : APNEA
49 Operatic icon : DIVA
50 Tie up at the pier : DOCK
51 Patches, as a driveway : TARS
54 Part of a moving story : VAN

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 7 Dec 22, Wednesday”

  1. Help! I suddenly can’t get to the puzzle. The list of puzzles comes up and when I click Start for today’s puzzle, nothing happens. I use Firefox. But I tried Safari and still nothing happens. Anyone else have a problem?

    1. Allan, it sounds like an ISP problem to me, or a website tangle, or a modem glitch, or a router disfunction, or low voltage on the mouse or keyboard, or a buffering issue, or a cranky CPU, or a kink in a cord somewhere; have you tried shutting everything down, including unplugging it all, and then restarting? Or maybe coming at the puzzle via another route??

      Computer work resembles micturation; you hardly notice when it works normally, but when it doesn’t it is a REAL BUMMER!

      Good luck with your problem. Try to put things in perspective: a pouty computer is a lot less worry than an uncooperative urinary process…

      Let me know if this helps.

  2. B-R natick clues for me today: Blade Runner and Blues-rocker…

    …and some Jeopardy! style clues, f/e 30A; trivia, f/e 58A; and obscurities, f/e 59 A.

    And ‘descant’ is a welcome word, but WTH is a popu pad? (Hee, hee!)

  3. 12:15 – with one minute added for a couple of alphabet rolls and finally a look up on “Jazz drummer Max.” I could not suss out the CH in ROACH (could see only ROARK) due to not recognizing IcET as two “words and not knowing Lil Wayne’s album name (don’t know anything by Lil Wayne).

    False starts: EYRE>EMMA, BATON>BATOR.

    New: Rutger HAUER, “Frigg,” Cristie KERR, THA Carter V, Chris REA, ANNE Dudek, Max ROACH.

    Theme was mildly helpful.

    Interesting duplicate use of two clues, “steakhouse order,” and “Matterhorn/Weisshorn”. Lately, duplicating a clue seems to be popping up more often.

  4. @Allan … FWIW, I always print a copy of the puzzle from a site calling itself “Diary of a Crossword Fiend”, but I just tried doing it on the site at “latimes.com” and it worked for me. (I’m not sure what site you’re using.)

  5. @Engineer — thanks for all the advice. In the end I just waited a couple of hours and then everything was fine.
    I’m not sure what f/e means, but I agree about what I think of as obscure names.
    I also didn’t know Emma (though I should have) and didn’t know Odin and Frigg, but now I do. 🙂

    1. I believe that f/e means “for example”. Since I’m replying instead of Engineer, I sure hope I’m right.🤪😜

    2. f/e = for example

      IMO, if one feels the urge to criticize, one should eschew the vague and offer specifics. Just sayin’.

  6. 5A.. If you’re not an Austinite, who would know that “SXSW” is the name of Austin’s festival. I sure didn’t.
    59A… I know nuttin about “Lil Wayne” but I’m curios to know what “THA” stands for in his album.

    All in all, I thought this puzzle was relatively nice, clear, and enjoyable.

    1. ‘SXSW’ means ‘south by southwest’, at least according to those who never met a compass rose, whereon the only ‘south bys’ are south by west and south by east. There is a southwest by south, but there is no telling if that is what the promulgaters of ‘SXSW’ meant…

    2. @Fitz – “I’m gettin’ nuttin’ fer Christmas, Mommy and Daddy are mad …”

      Jeez, if you remember that you’re too old …

  7. No look ups, no errors thanks to a lucky
    guess on 59A. A Puzzle shouldn’t have to
    end that way ☹️
    Didn’t bother with the mental calisthenics
    required for the theme…..

  8. Kinda tough for a Wednesday; took 15:39 with 1 error. I finally did a “check-grid” with 6 squares unfilled in the S middle, and 1 square was wrong. I changed what I had mOOR to DOCK and was able to get the rest without any further help. Just couldn’t get EVAC, RANK and DOCK…grr!

    Didn’t really know EMMA, ANNE, ICET, KERR and got THA from crosses. DESCANT is a new one for me.

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