LA Times Crossword 4 Dec 19, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Jeff Eddings
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Noel

Themed answers are each NOELS (holiday songs), and each has NO L, no letter L in the title:

  • 74A What 21-, 41- or 61-Across is … and, phonetically, a curiously apt common feature of those answers : NOEL and NO L
  • 21A Holiday song whose first line ends, “come sailing in” : I SAW THREE SHIPS
  • 41A Holiday song first recorded by Gene Autry : FROSTY THE SNOWMAN
  • 61A Holiday song based on a traditional German folk song : O CHRISTMAS TREE

Bill’s time: 6m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Retina 5K computer : IMAC

“Retina Display” is a brand name used by Apple for screens that have a high enough pixel density so that individual pixels are not visible to the naked eye at normal viewing distance.

5 Pet collar clip-on : ID TAG

Identity document (ID)

10 Theme park with a geodesic dome : EPCOT

EPCOT Center (now just called “Epcot”) is the theme park beside Walt Disney World in Florida. EPCOT is an acronym standing for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, and is a representation of the future as envisioned by Walt Disney. Walt Disney actually wanted to build a living community for 20,000 residents at EPCOT, but he passed away without that vision being realized.

Spaceship Earth is perhaps the structure that comes to mind when we think of Epcot in the Walt Disney World Resort. It is the large, white, 18-story geodesic sphere.

The term “geodesic” originally applied to the shortest route between any two points on the Earth’s surface. In this sense, a geodesic is an arc, a segment of a great circle that goes around the whole of the Earth. A geodesic dome is a structure that gets its strength from an interlocking network of triangular elements. The sides of those triangles are geodesics, arced segments of great circles that encompass the dome.

15 Bite : NOSH

Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”. We use “nosh” as a noun that means “snack”, or as a verb meaning “to eat between meals”.

16 Bête __ : NOIRE

“Bête noire” translates from French as “black beast”, and is used in English to describe something or someone that is disliked.

19 Crooner who co-wrote the “Chestnuts roasting … ” song : TORME

Mel Tormé was a jazz singer, with a quality of voice that earned him the nickname “The Velvet Fog”. Tormé also wrote a few books, and did a lot of acting. He was the co-author of the Christmas classic known as “The Christmas Song”, which starts out with the line “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire …”

21 Holiday song whose first line ends, “come sailing in” : I SAW THREE SHIPS

“I Saw Three Ships” is a popular Christmas carol from England. According to the song’s lyrics, the title vessels, “they sailed to Bethlehem”. That’s hard to do, given that the nearest body of water to Bethlehem is the Dead Sea, the shores of which are about 20 miles away.

24 Pooh’s dour friend : EEYORE

Eeyore is the donkey character in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh”. Eeyore is very lovable, but has a gloomy and pessimistic outlook on life.

25 Leader with a dot-edu address : DEAN

The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

26 Brief “If only I could unhear that … ” : TMI …

Too much information (TMI)

29 2018 US Open winner Osaka : NAOMI

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese-born tennis professional who became the first Asian player to be ranked number-one in singles.

37 Marathoner’s woes : CRAMPS

The marathon commemorates the legendary messenger-run by Pheidippides from the site of the Battle of Marathon back to Athens, and is run over 26 miles and 385 yards. The first modern Olympic marathon races were run over a distance that approximated the length of the modern-day Marathon-Athens highway, although the actual length of the race varied from games to games. For the 1908 Olympics in London, a course starting at Windsor Castle and ending in front of the Royal Box at White City Stadium was defined. That course was 26 miles and 385 yards, the standard length now used at all Olympic Games. Organizers of subsequent games continued to vary the length of the race, until a decision was made in 1921 to adopt the distance used in London in 1908.

41 Holiday song first recorded by Gene Autry : FROSTY THE SNOWMAN

“Frosty the Snowman” is a song that was recorded first by Gene Autry, in 1950. The song was specifically written in the hope that it would become a follow-up hit to Autry’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” that topped the charts the previous year.

Gene Autry was a so-called singing cowboy who had an incredibly successful career on radio, television and in films starting in the thirties. Autry’s signature song was “Back in the Saddle Again”, and his biggest hit was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. He also had a hit with his own Christmas song called “Here Comes Santa Claus”. There’s even a town in Oklahoma called Gene Autry, named in his honor. Famously, Autry owned the Los Angeles Angels baseball team for many years, from 1961 to 1997.

45 “The Nutcracker” skirt : TUTU

The word “tutu”, used for a ballet dancer’s skirt, is actually a somewhat “naughty” term. It came into English from French in the early 20th century. The French “tutu” is an alteration of the word “cucu”, a childish word meaning “bottom, backside”.

Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” is one of the most popular ballets in the repertoire. It was premiered in St. Petersburg in 1892, but its public appeal really only emerged in the late 1960s. It’s “must-see ballet” during the Christmas holidays.

46 Like some owls : HORNED

The great horned owl is a large owl that is native to North and South America. Also called the tiger owl, it is the most common true owl in the region.

47 Cottonelle layer : PLY

Cottonelle is a Kimberly-Clark brand of toilet paper.

53 Nonprofit aid gp. : NGO

Non-governmental organization (NGO)

54 Opera set in Egypt : AIDA

“Aida” is a celebrated opera by Giuseppe Verdi that is based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. Mariette also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera was first staged in 1871 in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline, Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander who falls in love with her, and then complications arise!

57 Curtains : DRAPES

When I was growing up on the other side of the pond, a drapery was a shop where one could buy cloth for making clothes or curtains. It was only when I came to America that I heard the term “drapes” used for curtains.

61 Holiday song based on a traditional German folk song : O CHRISTMAS TREE

“O Tannenbaum” is a traditional German Christmas carol, the title of which is usually translated as “O Christmas Tree”. “Tannenbaum” is the German name for a fir tree.

65 Storybook pachyderm : BABAR

“Babar the Elephant” originated in France, a creation of Jean de Brunhoff in 1931. The first book was “Histoire de Babar”, a book so successful it was translated into English two years later for publication in Britain and the US. Jean de Brunhoff wrote six more Babar stories before he died in 1937, and then his son Laurent continued his father’s work.

A pachyderm is a large mammal noted for having very thick skin and hooves, or nails resembling hooves. In terms of taxonomy, animals such as elephants, rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses used to be classified in the order Pachydermata (from the Greek for “thick” and “skin”). That order is now obsolete, as it has been shown that the aforementioned “pachyderms” do not in fact share a common ancestor. Despite the reclassification, “pachyderm” persists in common, non-scientific usage.

68 __ Kong : HONG

Hong Kong first became part of the British Empire after the First Opium War in 1842. In 1898, Britain signed a 99-year lease to retain control of Hong Kong. That control ended 99 years later in 1997 with a formal transfer of sovereignty back to China.

69 “Home Alone” actress Catherine : O’HARA

Catherine O’Hara is an actress and comedienne from Toronto, Ontario. One of O’Hara’s more famous film roles is Kevin’s mother in the Christmas classic “Home Alone”. She also plays a lead character in the excellent sitcom “Schitt’s Creek” alongside Eugen Levy.

“Home Alone” is a 1990 film starring Macaulay Culkin that has become a Christmas classic. Culkin was nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe for his performance, becoming the youngest actor ever to be so honored.

70 Line dance : CONGA

The conga line is a dance that originated as a Cuban carnival march. It became popular in the US starting in the thirties. The dance is apparently named after the Congo region of Africa, and it was originated by slaves who were brought from there to Cuba.

74 What 21-, 41- or 61-Across is … and, phonetically, a curiously apt common feature of those answers : NOEL and NO L

“Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, and ultimately comes from the Latin word for “birth” (natalis). “Noel” has come to be used as an alternative name for a Christmas carol.

Down

2 Reindeer cousin : MOOSE

The moose is the largest species in the deer family, and can stand almost at 7 feet at the shoulder. Moose are a little unusual in that they are solitary animals, unlike other deers who tend to move in herds. We use the term “moose” here in North America, but confusingly, the same animal is referred to as “elk” in British English.

The reindeer species of deer is also known as the caribou in North America.

7 Hankook product : TIRE

Hankook is a tire manufacturer based in Seoul, South Korea that is the seventh largest producer of tires in the world. Apparently, the name “Hankook” can be translated simply as “Korea”.

9 “Six __ a-laying … ” : GEESE

The fabulous Christmas Carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dates back at least to 1780 when it was first published in England, though it may be French in origin. The concept of twelve days of Christmas comes from the tradition that the three kings came to visit the Christ Child twelve days after he was born. This same tradition is the origin of the title to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.

10 Valuable fur : ERMINE

The stoat has dark brown fur in the summer, and white fur in the winter. Sometimes the term “ermine” is used for the animal during the winter when the fur is white. Ermine skins have long been prized by royalty and are often used for white trim on ceremonial robes.

13 Granola kernel : OAT

The names “Granola” and “Granula” were trademarked back in the late 1800s for whole-grain foods that were crumbled and baked until crisp. Granola was created in Dansville, New York in 1894.

14 MLB playoffs broadcaster : TBS

The tbs cable television station started out in 1967 as local broadcast TV station in Atlanta. The station’s first call letters were WJRJ-TV, and this was changed to WTCG in 1970 when it was acquired by Ted Turner (the TCG stood for Turner Communications Group). In 1976, Turner started distributing WTCG via satellite making its programming available in other parts of the country. WTCG was only the second channel to transmit via satellite, following HBO. The difference was that WTCG was broadcast without requiring a premium subscription. The station’s call sign was changed again in 1979 to WTBS, with “TBS” standing for Turner Broadcasting System. In 1981, the channel adopted the moniker “Superstation WTBS”.

31 Texting qualifier : IMHO

In my humble opinion (IMHO)

33 Gaping hole : MAW

“Maw” is a term used to describe the mouth or stomach of a carnivorous animal. “Maw” is also used as slang for the mouth or stomach of a greedy person.

38 Where the Amazon begins : PERU

The Amazon River of South America is the world’s largest in terms of volume, and accounts for an amazing one-fifth of the world’s total river flow. Perhaps even more amazing is that there are no bridges across the Amazon! There isn’t even one, mainly because the river flows through tropical rainforest, where there are few roads and cities.

39 Nine-digit IDs : SSNS

A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts i.e AAA-GG-SSSS, Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot. Since 2011 SSNs are assigned randomly. However, some random numbers have been excluded from use, i.e. Area Numbers 000, 666 (!) and 900-999.

42 Mystery writer Grafton : SUE

Sue Grafton wrote detective novels, and her “alphabet series” feature the private investigator Kinsey Millhone. She started off with “A Is for Alibi” in 1982 and worked her way up to “Y is for Yesterday” before she passed away in 2017.

50 Title for Patrick Stewart : SIR

Sir Patrick Stewart is perhaps most famous for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Stewart’s Hollywood career became so successful that he moved from the UK to Los Angeles, but he returned to his homeland in 2004. He stated at the time that he was homesick, and wanted to get back to playing roles in the theater.

52 Eponymous hot dog guy Handwerker : NATHAN

Nathan’s Famous is a chain of fast food restaurants that specialize in hot dogs. The chain’s first outlet was a hot dog stand in Coney Island set up by husband and wife Nathan and Ida Handwerker. Nathan’s Famous has held a Hot Dog Eating Contest every July 4th since 1916, and always at the same place on Coney Island, where that first hot dog stand was located..

55 Summer songs? : DISCO

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.

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”.

56 __ Martin: British car : ASTON

Aston Martin is a British car manufacturer, founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin. The Aston part of the company name comes from Aston Hill, a famous site for hill-climbing cars that is nearby the original factory. Aston Martin cars are much loved by the British entertainment industry. James Bond was given one in “Goldfinger”, and Michael Caine drove one in the 1969 version of “The Italian Job”. Also, Roger Moore’s character drove a yellow Aston Martin in the seventies television show “The Persuaders!”.

59 Choice start : EENIE

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!

60 Jason of “The Muppets” : SEGEL

Actor Jason Segel is best known for playing Marshall on the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother”. Segel is an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church and performed a wedding ceremony on “The Tonight Show” in 2010.

“The Muppets” is a 2011 film starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams. It was the first “Muppet” film to be released after a hiatus of twelve years, with a sequel coming out in 2014.

66 Sashimi choice : 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.

Sashimi is thinly sliced raw fish, although it can also be raw meat. The word “sashimi” translates literally as “pierced body”, which may be a reference to the practice of sticking the tail and fin to sliced fish to identify it.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Retina 5K computer : IMAC
5 Pet collar clip-on : ID TAG
10 Theme park with a geodesic dome : EPCOT
15 Bite : NOSH
16 Bête __ : NOIRE
17 Place to get clean : REHAB
18 Medication unit : DOSE
19 Crooner who co-wrote the “Chestnuts roasting … ” song : TORME
20 Swim events : MEETS
21 Holiday song whose first line ends, “come sailing in” : I SAW THREE SHIPS
24 Pooh’s dour friend : EEYORE
25 Leader with a dot-edu address : DEAN
26 Brief “If only I could unhear that … ” : TMI …
29 2018 US Open winner Osaka : NAOMI
32 Inductee : MEMBER
34 Personal : OWN
37 Marathoner’s woes : CRAMPS
40 One for the road? : AUTO
41 Holiday song first recorded by Gene Autry : FROSTY THE SNOWMAN
45 “The Nutcracker” skirt : TUTU
46 Like some owls : HORNED
47 Cottonelle layer : PLY
48 Jumps in : ENTERS
51 Apply to : USE ON
53 Nonprofit aid gp. : NGO
54 Opera set in Egypt : AIDA
57 Curtains : DRAPES
61 Holiday song based on a traditional German folk song : O CHRISTMAS TREE
65 Storybook pachyderm : BABAR
67 Pens : STIES
68 __ Kong : HONG
69 “Home Alone” actress Catherine : O’HARA
70 Line dance : CONGA
71 French friend : AMIE
72 Area component : WIDTH
73 Ready to pour : ON TAP
74 What 21-, 41- or 61-Across is … and, phonetically, a curiously apt common feature of those answers : NOEL and NO L

Down

1 Many a low-budget flick : INDIE
2 Reindeer cousin : MOOSE
3 Analyze : ASSAY
4 Ponder : CHEW ON
5 On paper : IN THEORY
6 Spot for a wreath : DOOR
7 Hankook product : TIRE
8 Like bodyguards : ARMED
9 “Six __ a-laying … ” : GEESE
10 Valuable fur : ERMINE
11 Sound often not allowed? : PEEP
12 Celebratory gesture : CHEST BUMP
13 Granola kernel : OAT
14 MLB playoffs broadcaster : TBS
22 Stretch of land : TRACT
23 Holiday roast : HAM
27 Heavy __ : METAL
28 Wry twist : IRONY
30 “Do the __!” : MATH
31 Texting qualifier : IMHO
33 Gaping hole : MAW
34 Quite a lot : OFTEN
35 Squeezed (out) : WRUNG
36 Decently : NOT TOO BAD
38 Where the Amazon begins : PERU
39 Nine-digit IDs : SSNS
42 Mystery writer Grafton : SUE
43 Rush job phrase : NEED ASAP
44 Fragrances : ODORS
49 Really spirited : RAH-RAH
50 Title for Patrick Stewart : SIR
52 Eponymous hot dog guy Handwerker : NATHAN
55 Summer songs? : DISCO
56 __ Martin: British car : ASTON
58 Ad : PROMO
59 Choice start : EENIE
60 Jason of “The Muppets” : SEGEL
62 E-commerce icon : CART
63 Color variant : TINT
64 Huge opening? : MEGA-
65 Present prettifier : BOW
66 Sashimi choice : AHI

11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 4 Dec 19, Wednesday”

  1. 10:24, but I lost a lot of time after hastily putting in DUMBO for the storybook pachyderm, which then led me to EBAY for the e-commerce icon, and then I was all jammed up in that corner for quite a while.

    I also stared at STIES for “pens” for a long time, thinking it couldn’t possibly be right even though everything around it fit in just fine. I was stuck on either the writing instrument or a synonym for “writes.”

  2. No errors, partly because I’m old enough to remember “Babar the
    Elephant ” reading it at my grandmother’s house when I was a wee
    child.

  3. No errors but spent too much time in the south middle section. Had “tone” instead of “tint” and “Astin” instead of “Aston.” Finally made it all work! Thought it was harder than the usual Wed.

    Having lovely rain here in LA. Just a steady soaker.

  4. What a mess I made of this one. 15:43 and three errors: STIES, TINT and ONTAP. The latter just would not come to mind (I *HATE* how you can’t have “spaces” between words in a fill!!!!). Overall, I struggled throughout this grid, moving between quadrants when I got momentarily stumped (which was OFTEN). A real cluster—-….

  5. I guess I made an even bigger mess, because we only got 80% of it. Could not
    quite grab ahold of it. Did better yesterday and would have gotten it if we
    had known who was out to get Charlie.

  6. I finally figured out “pens” = STIES – houses for pigs.

    Had kiNG before HONG, ASTiN before ASTON.

    Had to Google for something to get going, so it was EPCOT, MEMBER, SEGEL, NEED ASAP. Never heard of Hankook.

  7. Aloha meine Freunden!!🦆

    No errors. Pretty easy puzzle. Once I finished I took several minutes to get the theme. STIES looked wrong to me too.🤔

    I guess at some point I’ll have to dig out the holiday records. I don’t really catch the mood till the week of Christmas–

    Yes the rain was lovely in LA today! 🌧 We had a sun shower in the afternoon: steady rainfall but sky partly open and sunshine on the damp trees.

    Be well~~🍸

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