LA Times Crossword 3 Dec 22, Saturday

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Constructed by: Taylor Johnson
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 10m 11s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Qdoba choice : SOFT TACO

Qdoba is a chain of casual restaurants specializing in Mexican cuisine. The chain started out in 1995 with the name Zuma Fresh Mexican Grill, then Z-Teca Mexican Grill in 1997. Both “Zuma” and “Z-Teca” were challenged by establishments that already had similar names, and so the company settled on Qdoba Mexican Grill in 1999, a completely invented moniker.

9 Some polytheists : PAGANS

A pagan is someone who holds religious beliefs that are different from the main religions of the world, and especially someone who believes in polytheism. In classical Latin, “paganus” means “villager, rustic”.

A polytheist is a person who believes in many deities, with the opposite being a monotheist, someone who believes in one god. The ancient Greeks and Romans were polytheists.

15 Leia’s message to Obi-Wan, for one : HOLOGRAM

In the first “Star Wars” movie, Princess Leia hides plans for the Galactic Empire’s Death Star in the droid named R2-D2. She also records a holographic message, so when it is played we can see Princess Leia as a hologram, asking for help to destroy the Death Star:

I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit. My father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.

16 Spanish cheer : ARRIBA!

“Arriba” is Spanish for “above”. Speedy Gonzales used to yell out “Arriba!” a lot, meaning “get up!”.

17 Little cherubs : AMORETTI

An “amoretto” (plural “amoretti”) is a cupid, one often represented in artwork as a little chubby naked boy.

20 Full of moxie : GUTSY

Back as far as 1876, “Moxie” was a brand name of a “medicine” peddled with the claim that it “built up your nerve”. In 1924, “Moxie” was registered as a trademark for a bitter, non-alcoholic beverage (no more claims of nerve-building). We’ve used the term “moxie” to mean “nerve” ever since …

25 Calif. home of the Harvey Milk terminal : SFO

Politician Harvey Milk became a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in January 1978, making him the first openly gay man elected to public office in California. He sponsored a civil rights bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, and that bill was passed by the city’s Board of Supervisors in a vote of 11-1, and was signed into law by Mayor George Muscone. Supervisor Dan White cast the only dissenting vote. Later that same year, just 10 months after Milk was sworn in, White assassinated both Milk and Muscone. Harvey Milk’s story is told in the 2008 biopic “Milk”, which stars Sean Penn in the title role.

28 Sushi option : 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.

35 Comedian who voices Spider-Ham in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” : MULANEY

Stand-up comedian John Mulaney worked as a writer for “Saturday Night Live” from 2008 to 2013. He went on to create and star in the sitcom “Mulaney” that ran from 2014 to 2015. His first movie role was a voice actor, voicing Spider-Ham (aka Peter Porker) in the animated feature “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”.

37 Like a naked mole rat : FURLESS

The naked mole-rat is an ugly-looking creature, I must say. Native to parts of East Africa, the naked mole-rat has very little hair and lives much of its life underground, hence its name. One reason that scientists are very interested in naked mole-rats is that they are exceedingly resistant to cancer. Discoveries made while studying the species led to the journal “Science” declaring the naked mole-rat “Vertebrate of the Year” for 2013.

39 Ones waiting for bottle openers? : GENIES

The “genie” in the bottle takes his or her name from “djinn”. “Djinns” were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book “The Thousand and One Nights” was translated into French, the word “djinn” was transformed into the existing word “génie”, because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This “génie” from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived “genius”, a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the “djinn” that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

40 Old Chevys : NOVAS

The Chevrolet Nova was produced by General Motors from 1962 to 1979, and from 1985 to 1988. I owned one of those 1985-1988 Novas many years ago. Those latter models were actually Toyota Sprinters that were assembled just down the road here in Fremont, California in a GM/Toyota joint venture.

41 Subtle glows : AURAE

An aura (plural “aurae”) is an intangible quality that surrounds a person or thing, a “je ne sais quoi”. “Je ne sais quoi” is French for “I don’t know what”.

45 “Cherry Wine” rapper : NAS

“Cherry Wine” is a 2012 song recorded by the rapper NAS. Amy Winehouse provided vocals for the song, and co-wrote it. Winehouse passed away soon after the recording, in 2011.

46 Namesake of Ohio State’s track-and-field stadium : OWENS

Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ohio is home to the Buckeyes of Ohio State University (OSU). The facility opened in 2001, and is named for the great OSU alum Jesse Owens.

48 2019 AP Female Athlete of the Year : BILES

Simone Biles holds the record for the most gold medals (4) won by an American gymnast in a single Olympic Games. She achieved the feat at the 2016 games held in Rio.

52 Mythical realm watched over by Heimdall : ASGARD

Asgard is one of the Nine Worlds of Norse religions. It is where the Norse gods live, and is also home to Valhalla, the enormous hall ruled over by the god Odin.

The Norse god Heimdall lived in Himinbjörg (“Heaven’s Castle/Mountain”) from where he kept watch for invaders. To aid him in his task, he had exceptional eyesight and hearing.

58 Snuggies, e.g. : SLANKETS

The first commercial sleeved blanket produced was dubbed the “Freedom Blanket”. Then came the Snuggie, and the Slanket.

59 “Planet of the Apes” role for Andy Serkis : CAESAR

Andy Serkis is an English actor whose most famous role perhaps is voicing (and providing motion capture movements for) Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” series of movies. He also provided the motion capture for the title character in the 2005 version of “King Kong”.

The “Planet of the Apes” franchise of films is based on a French novel by Pierre Boulle called “La Planète des singes”. The book was published in English as “Monkey Planet”, but was re-released as “Planet of the Apes” when Hollywood had made its choice for a movie title.

60 Language of the Eddas : OLD NORSE

“Poetic Edda” and “Prose Edda” are two ancient works that are the source for much of Norse mythology. Both Eddas were written in 13th-century Iceland.

Down

1 Drink that comes in California Dreamin’ and Grapefruit Zazz flavors : SHASTA

The soft drink company Shasta Beverages started off bottling mineral water from Shasta Springs in Northern California back in 1889. The water was originally shipped in railroad cars that were lined with glass. Costly transportation, I’d say …

2 Oktoberfest blast : OOMPAH!

The tuba is the lowest-pitched of all brass instruments, and one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra (usually there is just one tuba included in an orchestral line-up). “Tuba” is the Latin word for “trumpet, horn”. Oom-pah-pah …

Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I’ve attended twice, and it really is a remarkable party …

3 Netflix show based on a children’s game : FLOOR IS LAVA

“Floor Is Lava” is a game show based on a children’s game of the same name. In the original game, children must navigate a room, avoiding the “floor” as it is made out of “lava”. In the game show, contestants also navigate a room, but the floor/lava is 80,000 gallons of slippery, bright-red goop.

4 Bilbao bulls : TOROS

Bilbao is a city in the Basque region of northern Spain. One of the most famous buildings in the city is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, a spectacular structure standing on the banks of the Nervión river in the downtown area.

5 Neutrogena product : T/GEL

Neutrogena is a brand of skincare products that was founded in 1930 as a cosmetics company called Natone.

7 Meowth of Pokémon, for one : CAT

“Pokémon” is the second-biggest video game franchise in the world, second only to the “Mario” franchise. “Pokémon” is a contraction of “Pocket Monsters”.

10 Dadaist collection : ARPS

Jean Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. Arp was sent home …

Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement was launched in Zurich, Switzerland by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire. The same group frequently expressed disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.

11 Smartphone setting that may help reduce screen time : GRAYSCALE

Grayscale images are the digital equivalent of black-and-white images in the analog world. In a grayscale image, each pixel only has intensity information, and no information about hue. The related binary image is made from pixels that are simply black or white, with no pixels having shades of gray.

12 Band follower? : -AID

“Band-Aid” is a brand name owned by Johnson & Johnson, although like many popular brands “band-aid” has become the generic term for an adhesive bandage, at least here in North America. The generic term we use in Britain and Ireland for the same product is “plaster” …

13 Sixth Man of the Year Award org. : NBA

The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award has been presented since 1983. It is awarded to the league’s best performing “sixth man”, the player who comes off the bench as a substitute.

26 Drew Barrymore’s third film : FIRESTARTER

Stephen King’s 1980 novel “Firestarter” was adapted into a movie of the same name in 1984 starring Drew Barrymore. Barrymore plays a girl with the power of pyrokinesis, the ability to create and control fire with the mind.

29 Pennies : CENTS

The official name of our smallest denomination coin is “cent”, and our use of the word “penny” is just a colloquialism derived from the British coin of the same name. In the UK, the plural of penny is “pence”, whereas we have “pennies” in our pockets.

30 American Eagle Outfitters subsidiary : AERIE

Aerie (stylized as “aerie”) is a retailer of lingerie and general undergarments that was founded in 2006. Aptly enough, Aerie was initially a sub-brand of American Eagle. The name “Aerie” comes from “American Eagle lingerie”).

31 Travel guide : GPS

Global positioning system (GPS)

33 Spots to order calamares with un cóctel : TAPAS BARS

In Spanish, a cocktail (cóctel) might contain pineapple (piña).

In Spanish, “calamares” (squid) and “caracoles” (snails) might be served in tapas.

34 Filling option for stuffed avocados : TUNA SALAD

The wonderful avocado comes from a tree that is native to Mexico and Central America. The avocado fruit is sometimes called an avocado pear, because of its shape, even though it is not related to the pear at all. The fruit might also be referred to as an alligator pear, due to the roughness of the green skin of some avocado cultivars.

36 Wheat noodle : UDON

Udon noodles are made from wheat-flour and are very popular in Japanese cuisines such as tempura.

37 “Charlotte’s Web” girl : FERN

“Charlotte’s Web” is a children’s novel by author E. B. White. Charlotte is a barn spider, who manages to save the life of a pig named Wilbur. Wilbur is a pet pig, owned by the farmer’s daughter, Fern Arable. The story also includes a gluttonous rat named Templeton who provides some light and comical moments.

44 Robert Cormier’s “I Am the __” : CHEESE

“I Am the Cheese” is a 1977 novel for young adults by author Robert Cormier. The protagonist is the son of a newspaper reporter who was placed in the Witness Protection Program.

47 Spokescritter with a British accent : GECKO

Gecko is the “spokes-lizard” for GEICO. When Gecko was introduced in 1999, he was voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer of “Cheers” and “Frasier” fame. Since then, Gecko has been voiced by British radio presenter Dave Kelly and most recently by actor Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning on the British soap opera “EastEnders”.

49 Cookbook writer Rombauer : IRMA

Irma Rombauer was the author of the famous cookbook “The Joy of Cooking”. Rombauer self-published the book back in 1931 in St. Louis, Missouri. She and her family continued to publish privately as demand was high, and then a commercial printing house picked it up in 1936. “The Joy of Cooking” has been in print continuously ever since.

51 Logician known for overlapping diagrams : VENN

Englishman John Venn was an expert in the field of logic, and introduced the Venn diagram in his book “Symbolic Logic” in 1881. Venn diagrams are used in set theory, to illustrate the logical relationships between sets of variables.

53 With 42-Across, Wash. hub : SEA-
[42A See 53-Down : -TAC]

Sea-Tac Airport (SEA) is more fully known as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Sea-Tac is the main hub for Alaska Airlines.

56 Leader of Louisiana? : ELL

The leading letter of the word “Louisiana” is an uppercase letter L (ell).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Qdoba choice : SOFT TACO
9 Some polytheists : PAGANS
15 Leia’s message to Obi-Wan, for one : HOLOGRAM
16 Spanish cheer : ARRIBA!
17 Little cherubs : AMORETTI
18 Indulgent outing : SPA DAY
19 Winds : SPOOLS
20 Full of moxie : GUTSY
22 Changes the pitch on a roof, say : TARS
23 End : CLOSE
25 Calif. home of the Harvey Milk terminal : SFO
28 Sushi option : AHI
29 End : CEASE
30 Breezing through : ACING
32 Big stink : STENCH
34 React to sad news : TEAR UP
35 Comedian who voices Spider-Ham in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” : MULANEY
37 Like a naked mole rat : FURLESS
38 Goes with the flow : ADAPTS
39 Ones waiting for bottle openers? : GENIES
40 Old Chevys : NOVAS
41 Subtle glows : AURAE
42 See 53-Down : -TAC
45 “Cherry Wine” rapper : NAS
46 Namesake of Ohio State’s track-and-field stadium : OWENS
47 Deep cut : GASH
48 2019 AP Female Athlete of the Year : BILES
50 Loath : AVERSE
52 Mythical realm watched over by Heimdall : ASGARD
55 Picked one : SELECTEE
57 “Brewski! Now!” : BEER ME!
58 Snuggies, e.g. : SLANKETS
59 “Planet of the Apes” role for Andy Serkis : CAESAR
60 Language of the Eddas : OLD NORSE

Down

1 Drink that comes in California Dreamin’ and Grapefruit Zazz flavors : SHASTA
2 Oktoberfest blast : OOMPAH!
3 Netflix show based on a children’s game : FLOOR IS LAVA
4 Bilbao bulls : TOROS
5 Neutrogena product : T/GEL
6 Cultural spheres : ART SCENES
7 Meowth of Pokémon, for one : CAT
8 “Jeepers” : OMIGOSH
9 Product many stick with : PASTE
10 Dadaist collection : ARPS
11 Smartphone setting that may help reduce screen time : GRAYSCALE
12 Band follower? : -AID
13 Sixth Man of the Year Award org. : NBA
14 Utter : SAY
21 Function : USE
24 Like some gowns : LACY
26 Drew Barrymore’s third film : FIRESTARTER
27 Weight : ONUS
29 Pennies : CENTS
30 American Eagle Outfitters subsidiary : AERIE
31 Travel guide : GPS
33 Spots to order calamares with un cóctel : TAPAS BARS
34 Filling option for stuffed avocados : TUNA SALAD
35 “Hoo boy” : MAN
36 Wheat noodle : UDON
37 “Charlotte’s Web” girl : FERN
39 “Sure seems like it” : GUESS SO
41 Reverence : AWE
43 Financial heading : ASSETS
44 Robert Cormier’s “I Am the __” : CHEESE
46 More mature : OLDER
47 Spokescritter with a British accent : GECKO
49 Cookbook writer Rombauer : IRMA
51 Logician known for overlapping diagrams : VENN
52 Block letters? : ABC
53 With 42-Across, Wash. hub : SEA-
54 “Golly!” : GEE!
56 Leader of Louisiana? : ELL