LA Times Crossword 25 Dec 18, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Mark McClain
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: A Christmas Carol

Merry Christmas, everyone! Today’s themed answers are characters from the Charles Dickens novella “A Christmas Carol”. Each character is clued with reference to a different movie adaptation of the novella:

  • 55A. Novella that introduced the three film characters : A CHRISTMAS CAROL
  • 17A. Film character #1 (played by George C. Scott in 1984) : EBENEZER SCROOGE
  • 25A. Film character #2 (played by Leo G. Carroll in 1938) : JACOB MARLEY
  • 43A. Film character #3 (played by Kermit the Frog in 1992) : BOB CRATCHIT

Bill’s time: 4m 25s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6. October gem : OPAL

Here is the “official” list of birthstones by month, that we tend to use today:

  • January: Garnet
  • February: Amethyst
  • March: Bloodstone or Aquamarine
  • April: Diamond
  • May: Emerald
  • June: Pearl or Moonstone
  • July: Ruby
  • August: Sardonyx or Peridot
  • September: Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
  • October: Opal or Pink Tourmaline
  • November: Topaz or Citrine
  • December: Turquoise or Zircon (also now, Tanzanite)

10. Most eligible, draftwise : ONE-A

The US government maintains information on all males who are potentially subject to military conscription, using what is called the Selective Service System (SSS). In the event that a draft was held, men registered would be classified into groups to determine eligibility for service. Class 1-A registrants are those available for unrestricted military service. Other classes are 1-A-O (conscientious objector available for noncombatant service), 4-A (registrant who has completed military service) and 4-D (Minister of religion).

14. Temple scroll : TORAH

A Torah scroll (also “Sefer Torah”) is a handwritten copy of the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures.

15. “The X-Files” agent Scully : DANA

“The X-Files” is a very successful science fiction show that originally aired on the Fox network from 1993 to 2002. The stars of the show are David Duchovny (playing Fox Mulder) and the very talented Gillian Anderson (playing Dana Scully). By the time the series ended, “The X-Files” was the longest running sci-fi show in US broadcast history. An “X-Files” reboot started airing in 2016 with Duchovny and Anderson reprising their starring roles.

16. Gym specimens : BODS

Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed in ancient Greece.

17. Film character #1 (played by George C. Scott in 1984) : EBENEZER SCROOGE

“A Christmas Carol” is a 1984 adaptation of the celebrated Charles Dickens novella of the same name. This made-for-TV film version stars George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge. It has been well-received for its acting performances, as well as for its faithful interpretation of the original story.

Actor George C. Scott was best known as a stage actor, although he made several lauded appearances on the big screen, most notably in the title role of the film “Patton”. Scott became the first actor to refuse an Oscar, doing so for his portrayal of General George S. Patton in that 1970 film. Scott’s refusal reflected his view that one dramatic performance should not be compared with another.

20. Non-commercial TV commercial : PSA

Public service announcement (PSA)

22. Canadian province with a French motto : QUEBEC

The motto of the Canadian province of Quebec is “Je me souviens”, which translates from French as “I remember”. The phrase is often translated more elaborately as something like “We do not forget, and will never forget, our ancient lineage, traditions and memories of all the past”.

23. New Mexico art hub : TAOS

The town of Taos, New Mexico is named for the Native American village nearby called Taos Pueblo. Taos is famous for its art colony. Artists began to settle in Taos in 1899, and the Taos Society of Artists was founded in 1915.

25. Film character #2 (played by Leo G. Carroll in 1938) : JACOB MARLEY

“A Christmas Carol” is a 1938 film adaption of the Charles Dickens novella of the same name. English character actor Reginald Owen plays Ebenezer Scrooge, supported by married couple Gene and Kathleen Lockhart playing Bob Cratchit and his wife.

Jacob Marley is a character appearing in the wonderful novella by Charles Dickens called “A Christmas Carol”. Marley is the deceased business partner of Ebenezer Scrooge who appears to him as a ghost.

Leo G. Carroll was an actor from England who is perhaps best remembered for playing supporting characters in several Hitchcock movies in the forties and fifties, including “Rebecca”, “Suspicion”, “Strangers on a Train” and “North by Northwest”. But, I remember Carroll as Alexander Waverly on the TV show “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” I loved that show as a kid …

33. Spot for an AirPod : EAR

AirPods are Apple’s line of bluetooth earpods. When AirPods were introduced in 2016, the market reacted with some skepticism. The left and right AirPods are not connected by any wire, so there was concern that individual earbuds could fall out of the ear, and possibly get lost. Another concern is Apple’s stated intent to abandon the wired headphone socket on new iPhone models.

34. The Grinch’s dog : MAX

The Grinch is the title character in Dr. Seuss’s 1957 children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” He is a grouchy creature who lives as a hermit in a cave outside the town of Whoville. The Grinch’s only companion is his dog Max. Based on Seuss’s hero, we now use the term “grinch” for someone who is opposed to Christmas festivities or who is coarse and greedy in general.

36. Fronts of hands : PALMS

Our word “palm”, meaning the front of the hand, comes from the Latin “palma”. The term “palma” referred to several different items, i.e. palm of the hand, blade of an oar, and palm tree”.

38. __ torch: party light : TIKI

A tiki torch is a bamboo torch that’s commonly used in Tiki culture. Tiki culture is a relatively modern invention dating from the 20th century, and is the experience created in Polynesian-style restaurants. The word “Tiki” is borrowed from Polynesia.

39. Commercial URL suffix : BIZ

When it comes to Internet top-level domains, there are four that are considered the core group of generic top-level domains, i.e. com, info, net and org. The generic domains biz, name and pro were added, but there are designated as restricted top-level domains. If you want register one a domain name that uses biz, name or pro than you have to prove that you are eligible to do so. So, anyone could register a name like Uber.com, and the company Uber would probably pay that person a pretty penny to get hold of that domain name. Registering Uber.biz would require some proof that the owner had some right to use the .biz domain name.

40. Sac fly result : RBI

That would be baseball.

43. Film character #3 (played by Kermit the Frog in 1992) : BOB CRATCHIT

“The The Muppet Christmas Carol” is a 1992 comedic adaptation of the Charles Dickens novella “A Christmas Carol”. Michael Caine portrays Ebenezer Scrooge, alongside Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit.

Kermit has to be the most readily recognized puppet character created by the late great Jim Henson. Henson came up with Kermit way back in 1955 when he appeared on a puppet show called “Sam and Friends” that aired in Washington, D.C. Kermit is loved so much that he even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

48. Long-eared dog : BEAGLE

The beagle breed of dog is a scent hound, one developed for tracking small game. Because of this characteristic, beagles are often used as detection dogs in customs halls around the world. The world’s most famous beagle is probably Snoopy from the comic strip “Peanuts”.

52. Fed. law known as Obamacare : ACA

The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA).

55. Novella that introduced the three film characters : A CHRISTMAS CAROL

The classic 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has left us with a few famous phrases and words. Firstly, it led to popular use of the phrase “Merry Christmas”, and secondly it gave us the word “scrooge” to describe a miserly person. And thirdly, everyone knows that Ebenezer Scrooge uttered the words “Bah! Humbug!”.

62. Drink with sushi : SAKE

We refer to the Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice as “sake”. We’ve gotten things a bit mixed up in the West. “Sake” is actually the word that the Japanese use for all alcoholic drinks. What we know as sake, we sometimes refer to as rice wine. Also, the starch in the rice is first converted to sugars that are then fermented into alcohol. This is more akin to a beer-brewing process than wine production, so the end product is really a rice “beer” rather than a rice “wine”.

63. Plumbing issues : LEAKS

Plumbum is the Latin for “lead”, explaining why the symbol of the element in the Periodic Table is “Pb”. It also explains why the original lead weight on the end of a line used to check vertical was called a “plumb line”. And, as pipes were originally made of lead, it also explains why we would call in a “plumber” if one of those popes was leaking.

Down

5. George Herman Ruth’s nickname : THE BABE

Baseball legend George Herman Ruth, Jr. had several nicknames, the best known being “Babe”. He was also called “the Bambino” and “the Sultan of Swat”.

6. Ukrainian city : ODESSA

The city of Odessa (also “Odesa”) in Ukraine was founded relatively recently, in 1794 by Catherine the Great. The city was originally meant to be called Odessos after an ancient Greek city believed to have been located nearby. Catherine liked the way the locals pronounced the name as “Odessa” and so went with the less Greek-sounding name.

8. Q&A part: Abbr. : ANS

Question and answer (Q&A)

9. Glossy coatings : LACQUERS

Lacquers are durable varnishes. The original lacquers were all natural products, but there’s a tendency today to use the term “shellacs” for natural finishes, and to use “lacquers” for synthetic finishes. The term “lacquer” ultimately comes from the Sanskrit word “laksha”, which described both the lac insect and the resinous secretion the insect produces.

10. Orchestral reeds : OBOES

We’ve all probably heard the phrase “‘tis an ill wind that blows nobody any good”. The poet Ogden Nash made a “punny” statement about the oboe, calling the instrument “an ill wind nobody blows good”. I must say though, I disagree …

11. Rookie, in gaming : NOOB

“Noob” is a not-so-nice slang term for a “newbie”, and often refers to someone who is new to an online community.

The term “rookie”, used for a raw recruit, first appeared in Rudyard Kipling’s collection of songs and poems called the “Barrack-Room Ballads”, which was originally published in 1892.

18. Repeated Mazda ad word : ZOOM

“Zoom-zoom” is a catchphrase used by the automaker Mazda. Mazda is based in the Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan. The ballpark where the Hiroshima baseball team play was for many years known as the MAZDA Zoom-Zoom Stadium.

19. Shade of red : RUBY

Ruby is a precious stone made from the mineral corundum, also called aluminium oxide. The corundum includes some of the element chromium, which results in the red or pink color.

24. Chowder morsel : CLAM

The type of soup known as “chowder” is possibly named for the pot in which it used to be cooked called a “chaudière”, a French term.

25. Hutt in “Star Wars” : JABBA

Jabba the Hutt is the big blob of an alien that appears in the “Star Wars” movie “The Return of the Jedi”. Jabba’s claim to fame is that he enslaved Princess Leia and kitted her out in that celebrated metal bikini.

26. “Time and __”: illustrated Jack Finney novel : AGAIN

“Time and Again” is an illustrated novel by Jack Finney that was first published in 1970. The storyline heavily relies on time travel, with the main character traveling from 1970 back to 1882 in New York City.

29. Barn-raising sect : AMISH

The Amish are members of a group of Christian churches, and a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. The Amish church originated in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693 when it was founded by Jakob Ammann. It was Ammann who gave the name to the Amish people. Many Amish people came to Pennsylvania in the 18th century.

30. “Oh Myyy!” memoirist George : TAKEI

Mr. Hikaru Sulu was played by George Takei in the original “Star Trek” series. Takei has played lots of roles over the years, and is still very active in television. Did you know that he appeared in the 1963 film, “Pt-109”? He played the helmsman steering the Japanese destroyer that ran down John F. Kennedy’s motor torpedo boat. From destroyer helmsman to starship helmsman …

37. First name in advice : ABBY

The advice column “Dear Abby” first appeared in 1956. Pauline Phillips was Abby back then, but now the column is written by Jeanne Phillips, her daughter. The full name of the “Abby” pen name is Abigail Van Buren, which Pauline Phillips came up with by combining “Abigail” from the biblical Book of Samuel, and “Van Buren” after the former US president. “Dear Abby” was also a radio show in the sixties and seventies.

43. Indonesian resort island : BALI

Bali is both an island and a province in Indonesia. It is a popular tourist spot, although the number of visitors dropped for a few years as a result of terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005 that killed mainly tourists. Bali became more popular starting in 2008 due to a significant and favorable change in the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Indonesian rupiah.

44. “I can __”: words of empathy : RELATE

“Sympathy” and “empathy” are related but different terms. A person exhibiting sympathy acknowledges another person’s emotional distress. A person exhibiting empathy also acknowledges distress, but understands the emotions felt as they have had a similar experience, or can at least put themselves in the shoes of the person affected.

48. Dugout rack items : BATS

A dugout is an underground shelter. The term was carried over to baseball because the dugout is slightly depressed below the level of the field. This allows spectators behind the dugout to get a good view of home plate, where a lot of the action takes place.

49. Earth tone : ECRU

The shade ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.

51. Run __: go wild : AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy …

52. Puccini solo : ARIA

Giacomo Puccini was an Italian composer who was famous for his operas that are so often performed all over the world. Included in the list of his works are “La bohème”, “Tosca”, “Madama Butterfly” and “Turandot”. Puccini died in Brussels, Belgium in 1924 having suffered from throat cancer. An audience attending a performance of “La bohème” in Rome heard of the composer’s death in the middle of the performance. At the news, the opera was stopped, and the orchestra instead played Chopin’s “Funeral March”.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Clever or stylish : SMART
6. October gem : OPAL
10. Most eligible, draftwise : ONE-A
14. Temple scroll : TORAH
15. “The X-Files” agent Scully : DANA
16. Gym specimens : BODS
17. Film character #1 (played by George C. Scott in 1984) : EBENEZER SCROOGE
20. Non-commercial TV commercial : PSA
21. Order (around) : BOSS
22. Canadian province with a French motto : QUEBEC
23. New Mexico art hub : TAOS
24. Little bears : CUBS
25. Film character #2 (played by Leo G. Carroll in 1938) : JACOB MARLEY
29. Polished off : ATE
32. Go along (with) : AGREE
33. Spot for an AirPod : EAR
34. The Grinch’s dog : MAX
35. Meadow bleats : BAAS
36. Fronts of hands : PALMS
38. __ torch: party light : TIKI
39. Commercial URL suffix : BIZ
40. Sac fly result : RBI
41. Makes simpler : EASES
42. No particular one : ANY
43. Film character #3 (played by Kermit the Frog in 1992) : BOB CRATCHIT
46. Like many breakfast bars : OATY
47. Resound : ECHO
48. Long-eared dog : BEAGLE
51. Height: Pref. : ALTI-
52. Fed. law known as Obamacare : ACA
55. Novella that introduced the three film characters : A CHRISTMAS CAROL
58. Shade provider : TREE
59. Jog : TROT
60. Geometric truth : AXIOM
61. Totals : SUMS
62. Drink with sushi : SAKE
63. Plumbing issues : LEAKS

Down

1. How-to instruction : STEP
2. Unruly crowds : MOBS
3. Geometric product : AREA
4. Sought office : RAN
5. George Herman Ruth’s nickname : THE BABE
6. Ukrainian city : ODESSA
7. Golf scorecard numbers : PARS
8. Q&A part: Abbr. : ANS
9. Glossy coatings : LACQUERS
10. Orchestral reeds : OBOES
11. Rookie, in gaming : NOOB
12. Sharp part of a sheet of paper : EDGE
13. “Just __!” : A SEC
18. Repeated Mazda ad word : ZOOM
19. Shade of red : RUBY
23. Wiggled digits : TOES
24. Chowder morsel : CLAM
25. Hutt in “Star Wars” : JABBA
26. “Time and __”: illustrated Jack Finney novel : AGAIN
27. Outlandish, as an idea : CRAZY
28. Artifact : RELIC
29. Barn-raising sect : AMISH
30. “Oh Myyy!” memoirist George : TAKEI
31. Be real : EXIST
36. Some public demonstrations : PROTESTS
37. First name in advice : ABBY
38. Tex-Mex snack : TACO
41. Principled : ETHICAL
43. Indonesian resort island : BALI
44. “I can __”: words of empathy : RELATE
45. Doesn’t just sit there : ACTS
46. Fairy tale beasts : OGRES
48. Dugout rack items : BATS
49. Earth tone : ECRU
50. “Excuse me … ” : AHEM …
51. Run __: go wild : AMOK
52. Puccini solo : ARIA
53. Kitchen worker : COOK
54. Help for the poor : ALMS
56. Refrain syllable : TRA
57. Firefighter’s tool : AXE

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10 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 25 Dec 18, Tuesday”

  1. Had to Google JABBA. I’m losing it. Maybe with the AMISH question, I got hung-up on Hutterites.

    @Steve – I can’t imagine the Amish finding anyone else to build barns the way they do, so they can’t hire anyone else. And they all seem to know how.

  2. LAT: 8:03, no errors. Newsday: 5:58, no errors. Jones: 8:07, no errors.

    New Yorker #2: DNF after 43:00, 2 errors. Lot of guessing in this one, but just couldn’t guess past a block in the direct right between a popular character played by an unknown actor, and another character connected with modern Harry Potter lore. Reminded me a lot of most of the grids in the movie book I did a while back. Serviceable grid if the constructor didn’t try so hard to “topic-fit” the grid and require weird fill in order to make it work.

    @Dave
    Could be wrong from yesterday. It may be the first 10 that e-mail with the answer on Friday. If so, that’ll be a mess.

  3. 8:27. Christmas theme just like the NYT today. I thought I remembered both as not having Xmas themes in the past. Oh well, nice theme today.

    Best –

  4. Late to the party today, as I spent my day cooking, eating, and cleaning up afterwards. (In fact, I’m currently turning the leftover turkey into turkey soup.) Anyhooo …

    LAT: 7:49, no errors. Newsday: 5:51, no errors. Croce: 1:01:22, no errors. Jones: 11:37, no errors. New Yorker: finished with no errors and no undue problems (except maybe where the name of a baseball player intersected the name of a recent Japanese movie, both of which were unknown to me), but I did it with many interruptions, so I really have no idea what my time was.

    @Glenn … All that boiler-plate legal mumbo-jumbo over a WSJ tote bag?! How tacky! … 😜.

  5. Ho ho ho y’all!! 🎄

    No errors; fun theme! I’d love to see more of these, with characters from a book. 🌟 I’ve never read A Christmas Carol, which is odd, as I’m a big Dickens fan and have read most all his novels….this one never interested me (except in this grid!) 😯

    Hi George TAKEI!! I just love him.

    Twas a tranquil Christmas here. I’m feeling like The Pie Gal, having brought pies as well as homemade fudge to several little events. What diet??!😯 I’m glad New Year’s doesn’t involve food — at least not to the same degree. I CAN’T HAVE THIS STUFF IN MY HOUSE!!!

    Be well~~🥃

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