LA Times Crossword 11 Dec 22, Sunday

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Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme: Wine Pairings

Themed answers sound like common phrases, but with the last syllable extended to a type of WINE:

  • 23A Very dangerous red? : MORTAL ZINFANDEL (from “mortal sin”)
  • 37A Wine on tap? : DRAFT BORDEAUX (from “draft board”)
  • 60A Sequel to Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath“? : CANNERY ROSE (from “Cannery Row”)
  • 73A Hangover caused by wine? : MAL DE MERLOT (from “mal de mer”)
  • 95A Wax eloquent about some wine? : HAIL A CABERNET (from “hail a cab”)
  • 114A Wine that’s good for one’s bones? : SKELETON CHIANTI (from “skeleton key”)

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

Bill’s time: 17m 52s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Asparagus piece : SPEAR

Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant that is grown mainly for its edible shoots (or “spears”). The shoots must be harvested when they are very young, as they become woody very quickly.

10 Open pages in a browser : TABS

A web browser is a piece of software used to access the World Wide Web. The first web browser was called “WorldWideWeb” and was invented in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the World Wide Web. The browser known as Mosaic came out in 1993, and it was this browser that drove so much interest in the World Wide Web, and indeed in the Internet in general. Marc Andreessen led the team that created Mosaic, and he then set up his own company called Netscape. Netscape created the Netscape Navigator browser that further popularized the use of the Web starting in 1994. Microsoft responded by introducing Internet Explorer in 1995, which sparked the so-called “browser war”, a war that Microsoft clearly won. As Netscape floundered, the company launched the open-source Mozilla project which eventually led to the Firefox browser. Apple then came out with its own Safari browser in 2003. Google’s Chrome browser, introduced in 2008, is by far the most popular way to view the Web today.

14 Channel with Supreme Court coverage : C-SPAN

C-SPAN is a privately-funded, nonprofit cable channel that broadcasts continuous coverage of government proceedings.

20 Biblical wedding location : CANA

According to the Christian Bible, Cana is the place where Jesus performed his first public miracle. Jesus was attending a wedding feast with his mother when the party ran out of wine. Jesus turned water into wine, wine subsequently deemed to be the best served at the feast.

23 Very dangerous red? : MORTAL ZINFANDEL (from “mortal sin”)

Zinfandel is one of my favorite red wine varietals. It amazes me that the rich and heavy red Zinfandel comes from the same grape as does the sweet White Zinfandel.

In some Christian denominations, sins can be either venial or mortal in terms of severity, with mortal sins being the more grievous.

26 Vatican City masterpiece : PIETA

The Pietà is a representation of the Virgin Mary holding in her arms the dead body of her son Jesus. The most famous Pietà is undoubtedly the sculpted rendition by Michelangelo that is located in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. That particular sculpture is thought to be the only work that Michelangelo signed. In some depictions of the Pietà, Mary and her son are surrounded by other figures from the New Testament. Such depictions are known as Lamentations.

Vatican City is a sovereign city-state that is walled off within the city of Rome. Vatican City is about 110 acres in area, and so is the smallest independent state in the world. With about 800 residents, it is also the smallest state in terms of population. Although the Holy See dates back to early Christianity, Vatican City only came into being in 1929. At that time, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini signed a treaty with the Holy See on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy that established the city-state.

27 First novel in Cather’s “Great Plains” trilogy : O PIONEERS!

American author Willa Cather wrote what’s referred to as the “Prairie Trilogy”, novels that tell the story of Swedish immigrants living in Nebraska. The titles in the trilogy are “O Pioneers!”, “The Song of the Lark” and “My Ántonia”. Cather won the Pulitzer Prize for another novel “One of Ours”, which is set in Nebraska and the French battlefields of WWI.

28 Coral formation : REEF

Polyps are tiny sea creatures that are found attached to underwater structures or to other polyps. Polyps have a mouth at one end of a cylindrical “body” that is surrounded by tentacles. Some polyps cluster into groups called stony corals, with stony corals being the building blocks of coral reefs. The structure of the reef comprises calcium carbonate exoskeletons secreted by the coral polyps.

29 How one must win in volleyball : BY TWO

Indoor volleyball was invented in 1895 and was originally called “mintonette”, a reference to the related game of “badminton”. The variant called beach volleyball originated in 1915 on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, but was popularized on the beaches of Santa Monica starting in 1920.

30 Violinist Leopold : AUER

Leopold Auer was a Hungarian violinist, as well as a conductor and composer. Auer wrote a small number of works for the violin, the most famous of which is the “Rhapsodie Hongroise” written for violin and piano.

31 “Te __”: Rihanna song : AMO

“I love you” translates into “te amo” in Spanish, “Ich liebe dich” in German, and “je t’aime” in French.

Singer Rihanna was born and grew up on the island of Barbados and moved to the US when she was 16-years-old to pursue a singing career. The name “Rihanna” is derived from the Welsh name “Rhiannon”. And, Rihanna sometimes goes by the nickname “RiRi”, which is also the name of her line of beauty products.

36 “Invisibilia” airer : NPR

NPR’s radio show and podcast “Invisibilia” “explores the intangible forces that shape human behavior—things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.” The show was conceived by Alilx Spiegel, one of the producers behind the incredibly successful radio program “This American Life”.

37 Wine on tap? : DRAFT BORDEAUX (from “draft board”)

Bordeaux is perhaps the wine-production capital of the world. Wine has been produced in the area since the eighth century. Bordeaux has an administrative history too. During WWII, the French government relocated from Paris to the port city of Bordeaux when it became clear that Paris was soon to fall to the Germans. After the Germans took France, the capital was famously moved to Vichy.

41 Actor Mendelsohn : BEN

Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn won an Supporting Actor Emmy for his performances in the thriller-drama series “Bloodline”. He was featured in the family history show “Who Do You Think You Are?”, for which a search was made for a link to composer Felix Mendelssohn, but no luck.

42 Datebook col. : FRI

The name “Friday” comes from an Old English word meaning “day of Frigg”. Frigg was a goddess from Norse mythology who was usually depicted as the wife of Odin.

53 __ setter : IRISH

An Irish setter is a breed of dog …
… or maybe someone from Dublin who sets crosswords …

55 Kimono sash : OBI

The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied at the back in what is called a butterfly knot. The term “obi” is also used for the thick cotton belts that are an essential part of the outfits worn by practitioners of many martial arts. The color of the martial arts obi signifies the wearer’s skill level.

58 Game that begins with the murder of Mr. Boddy : CLUE

Clue is a board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …

60 Sequel to Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath”? : CANNERY ROSE (from “Cannery Row”)

Rosé wines get their color from the skins of the grapes, although the intensity of the color is not sufficient to make them red wines. Of the varying type of rosé wines available, we are most familiar with sweet White Zinfandels. Personally, I am fond of the dry Provençal rosé wines.

“Cannery Row” is a novel by John Steinbeck that was first published in 1945. The title refers to the street in Monterey, California known as Cannery Row that is home to now-defunct sardine canning factories. Back in 1945 the street was called Ocean View Avenue, but it was renamed in 1958 in recognition of the Steinbeck novel.

John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel “The Grapes of Wrath” is set during the Great Depression. It tells the story of the Joad family from Oklahoma, farmers who had to leave their home and head for California due to economic hardship.

64 Moo __ pork : SHU

Moo shu pork (also “mu shu pork”) is a traditional dish from northern China, with the main ingredients being shredded pork and scrambled egg. In North America, the dish is served with tortilla-like wrappers that are sometimes referred to as “moo shu pancakes”.

67 “Rule, Britannia” composer : ARNE

Thomas Arne was an English composer from London. Arne wrote some iconic compositions, most notably “Rule, Britannia!” He also wrote a version of “God Save the King” that became the British national anthem.

71 Tavern quaffs : ALES

“Quaff” is both a verb and a noun. One “quaffs” (takes a hearty drink) of a “quaff” (a hearty drink).

73 Hangover caused by wine? : MAL DE MERLOT (from “mal de mer”)

Merlot is one of the main grapes used to make Bordeaux wines, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Here are some French terms for some unpleasant conditions:

  • Mal de tête (headache)
  • Mal de mer (seasickness)
  • Mal de pays (homesickness)

76 Like gymnasts : AGILE

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.

77 Gobi locale : ASIA

The Gobi, the large desert in Asia, lies in northern China and southern Mongolia. The Gobi desert is growing at an alarming rate, particularly towards the south. This “desertification” is caused by increased human activity. The Chinese government is trying to halt the desert’s progress by planting great swaths of new forest, the so-called “Green Wall of China”. The name “Gobi” is Mongolian for “waterless place, semidesert”.

82 Become frantic : PANIC

In Greek mythology, Pan was a lecherous god who was part-man and part-goat, and one who fell in love with Echo the mountain nymph. Echo refused Pan’s advances so that he became very angry. Pan’s anger created a “panic” (a word derived from the name “Pan”) and a group of shepherds were driven to kill Echo.

89 Endangered Himalayan mammal : RED PANDA

The red panda is a relatively small mammal with reddish-brown fur and white fur highlighting features on his head. A native of the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China, it is not closely related to the giant panda, and instead is related to the raccoon, weasel and skunk.

91 Rain-__ gum : BLO

Rain-Blo bubble gum balls were introduced in 1940 by Leaf Confectionery, a company that was then based in the Netherlands.

94 Tax agcy. : IRS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.

95 Wax eloquent about some wine? : HAIL A CABERNET (from “hail a cab”)

The cabernet sauvignon (often just “cab”) grape has been around since the 17th century, and is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc grapes.

100 Sunblock letters : SPF

In theory, the sun protection factor (SPF) is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it takes 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn than it would take without protection. I say just stay out of the sun …

103 Mineral hardness scale : MOHS

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness was developed in 1812 by Friedrich Mohs. Basically Mohs took minerals and scratched them with other minerals. In this way he was able to determine which minerals were hardest (most scratch resistant) and which softest. On the scale, diamond is the hardest (and rated 10), while talc is the softest (and rated 1).

105 Forensic facilities : DNA LABS

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”.

107 Actress Polo : TERI

Teri Polo’s most prominent role on the big screen was Pam Focker in “Meet the Fockers” and its sequels. Pam is the wife of the character played by Ben Stiller. Polo also played the wife of Presidential candidate Matt Santos in “The West Wing”.

108 1965 march site : SELMA

The Bloody Sunday march took place between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama on 7 March 1965. The 600 marchers involved were protesting the intimidation of African-Americans registering to vote. When the marchers reached Dallas County, Alabama they encountered a line of state troopers reinforced by white males who had been deputized that morning to help keep the peace. Violence broke out with 17 marchers ending up in hospital, one nearly dying. Because the disturbance was widely covered by television cameras, the civil rights movement picked up a lot of support that day. The route of the march is memorialized as a US National Historic Trail called the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights Trail.

111 __ section : CAESAREAN

The story that Julius Caesar was born via Caesarean section (C-section) seems to be unfounded. Although such procedures were indeed carried out in ancient Rome, there are no reports of the mother surviving (and Julius Caesar’s mother did raise her child). The term “caesarean” comes not from (Julius) Caesar, but rather directly from the Latin “caedere” meaning “to cut”.

113 Skylit courtyards : ATRIA

In modern architecture, an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

114 Wine that’s good for one’s bones? : SKELETON CHIANTI (from “skeleton key”)

Chianti is a red wine from the Chianti region of central Tuscany in Italy. Historically, Chianti was stored in a characteristically bulbous bottle wrapped in a straw basket. However, the pragmatists have won the day and regular wine bottles tend to be used nowadays.

A skeleton or pass key is one in which much of the key’s serrated edge has been removed, allowing it to act as a master key and open several locks. The term “skeleton” arose because the key has been reduced to the bare bones, just the essential parts.

117 “Red Clocks” novelist Zumas : LENI

Author Leni Zumas’s best known work is probably her second novel “Red Clocks”, which was a bestseller. It was somewhat prescient when it was published in 2018, as it was set against the backdrop of an America in which abortion was once again illegal. In “Red Clocks”, the same administration that criminalizes abortion also bans in vitro fertilization, and codifies a requirement that adoptive parents be married.

119 Teeny pests : MITES

According to the American Lung Association, about four out of five homes in the US have dust mites in at least one bed. Houses with carpets are more likely to have dust mites, as are homes in humid parts of the country. Dust mites can be eradicated by exposing them to a temperature over 105 degrees C in a clothes dryer.

120 Private rendezvous : TRYST

In the most general sense, a tryst is a meeting at an agreed time and place. More usually we consider a tryst to be a pre-arranged meeting between lovers. The term comes from the Old French “triste”, a waiting place designated when hunting. Further, a tryst taking place at lunchtime is sometimes referred to as a nooner.

A rendezvous is a meeting. The noun used in English comes from the French phrase “rendez vous” meaning “present yourselves”.

122 Boxing ref’s decisions : TKOS

Technical knockout (TKO)

Down

1 South Pacific islander : SAMOAN

The official name for the South Pacific nation formerly known as Western Samoa is the Independent State of Samoa. Samoa is the western part of the island group, with American Samoa lying to the southeast. The whole group of islands used to be known as Navigators Island, a name given by European explorers in recognition of the seafaring skills of the native Samoans.

3 More ghoulish : EERIER

Our word “ghoul” comes from the Arabic “ghul”, the name for an evil spirit that feeds on corpses.

4 Mary of “The Maltese Falcon” : ASTOR

Mary Astor was an American actress who is best remembered perhaps for playing Brigid O’Shaughnessy in 1941’s “The Maltese Falcon” opposite Humphrey Bogart. As well as being an Oscar-winning actress, Mary Astor was also the author of five novels and a best-selling autobiography.

The classic detective novel “The Maltese Falcon” was written by Dashiell Hammett and first published in 1930. The main character is Sam Spade, a character played by Humphrey Bogart in the third movie adaptation of the book, a film of the same name and released in 1941.

5 Dappled horse : ROAN

A roan horse has an even mixture of white and colored hairs on the body with the head, lower legs, mane and tail having a more solid color.

6 Dermatology concern : ECZEMA

Eczema is a form of dermatitis. The term “eczema” comes from the Greek for “to boil over”.

9 Half-__: latte spec : CAF

Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that is found in several plants. The chemical serves as a natural pesticide by paralyzing and killing certain insects that would otherwise feed on the plant. Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug that is consumed by humans across the world.

10 Unfortunate quality in a karaoke singer : TIN EAR

“Karate” is a Japanese word meaning “empty hand”, and the related word “karaoke” translates as “empty orchestra”.

11 Arithmetic figure : ADDEND

“Addend” is short for “addendum”, and is the name given to any element in a set of numbers that is to be added.

13 Kid-lit girl with a blueberry pail : SAL

“Blueberries for Sal” is a children’s storybook by Robert McCloskey that was published in 1948. It won the Caldecott Medal in 1949, recognizing “Blueberries for Sal” as the most distinguished picture for children released in the preceding year.

15 “In the Heights” actor Jimmy : SMITS

Jimmy Smits’ most noted acting roles were probably Victor Sifuentes on “L.A. Law” and President Matt Santos on “The West Wing”. Smits is very fond of playing jai alai in a local league in his hometown of Los Angeles.

“In the Heights” is a musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda that opened on Broadway in 2008, and won the Best Musical Tony that season. John Chu directed a big-screen adaptation released in 2021. The title is a reference to the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York City.

16 Wine that comes in tiny bottles? : PEEWEE RIESLING (from “Pee Wee Reese”)

The Riesling grape variety originated in the Rhine region of Germany, and is used to make wines that are often described as fruity and aromatic. The wine generally has a high level of acidity which makes it ideal for aging, with some examples being proclaimed as excellent at over a hundred-years-old.

Pee Wee Reese was a shortstop who played his professional career with the Brooklyn and LA Dodgers. Reese is remembered not only for his skill on the field, but for his very visible support for teammate Jackie Robinson, who famously struggled to be accepted as the first African-American player in the majors. As he was an outstanding marbles player as a child, Reese was given the nickname “pee wee” after the name for a small marble.

17 Lost and found, e.g. : ANTONYMS

An antonym is an “anti-synonym”. A synonym is a word having the same sense as another, and an antonym the opposite. For example, “love” is an antonym of “hate”, and “stop” is an antonym of “go”.

25 With the bow, in music : ARCO

“Arco” is a musical direction instructing a string player to return to normal bowing technique after a passage played using some other technique (perhaps pizzicato).

32 Footnote kin of op. cit. : IBID

Ibid. is short for the Latin word “ibidem” and is typically found in footnotes and bibliographies. Ibid. is used to refer the reader to the prior citation, instead of giving the same information all over again (title, author etc.).

“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.

35 Radio host John : TESH

John Tesh is a pianist and composer, as well as a radio and television presenter. For many years Tesh presented the show “Entertainment Tonight”. For “ET” he once covered the filming of an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. As part of the piece, he volunteered to act as a Klingon warrior. If you see the “Star Trek: TNG” episode called “The Icarus Factor” in reruns, watch out for John Tesh engaging in ritual torture with Mr. Worf as his victim.

39 Case for Mulder and Scully : X-FILE

“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.

44 Tulsa sch. : ORU

Oral Roberts University (ORU) is a private school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ORU was founded relatively recently, in 1963 by the late televangelist Oral Roberts. The campus includes a Prayer Tower at its center, a spectacular glass and steel structure designed by architect Frank Wallace. The tower includes an observation deck, and is a popular tourist attraction. The school’s sports teams are known as the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.

47 Tale about one Corleone’s love of fortified wine? : SONNY AND SHERRY (from “Sonny and Cher”)

Sonny Corleone was the eldest son of Don Vito Corleone in Mario Puzo’s great novel “The Godfather”. In the movie, Sonny was played by James Caan. Sonny appears as a boy in the movie “The Godfather: Part II”, and is played by director Francis Ford Coppola’s own son, Roman Coppola.

Sherry is a fortified wine made using grapes from around the town of Jerez de la Frontera (formerly “Xerez” or “Xeres”) in the autonomous community of Andalusia in Spain. The word “sherry” is an anglicized form of the name “Jerez”.

Singing duo Sonny & Cher started out in the mid-1960s as backing singers working with Phil Spector. The couple married in 1964, and the next year released their breakthrough numbers “Baby Don’t Go” and “I Got You Babe”. Sonny and Cher divorced in 1975, and dissolved their act that same year. Cher moved onto a successful solo career that continues to this day. Sonny Bono was elected as a US Congressman for California in 1995. Sadly, he didn’t finish his term in the House as he died from injuries sustained in a skiing accident in 1998.

48 L.A.’s region : SOCAL

Southern California (SoCal)

50 Some calorie counters : DIETERS

I wish we’d stop using the term “calorie”, because it is so confusing. In terms of physics, a calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree celsius (at one atmosphere of pressure). The so-called “food calorie” is one thousand times as large, as it is defined in terms of kilograms instead of grams. In attempts to differentiate between these two definitions, the former is sometimes referred to as the “small calorie” and is given the symbol “cal”. The latter is referred to as the “large calorie” and given the symbol “Cal”, with a capital C. If only we’d use the SI system of units, we’d be thinking in just joules, instead of large and small and food calories.

52 Historic Nevada city : ELY

Ely is a city in eastern Nevada. The city was founded as a Pony Express stagecoach station, and then experienced a mining boom after copper was discovered locally in 1906. One of Ely’s former residents was First Lady Pat Nixon, who was born there in 1912.

58 Forensic series starring Paula Newsome, familiarly : CSI

Actress Paula Newsome is perhaps best known as a lead in the TV show “CSI: Vegas”, playing the head of the Las Vegas Crime Lab Max Roby.

65 Oscar winner Mirren : HELEN

Helen Mirren, one of my favorite English actresses, has played three different queens on film and television. She played Queen Elizabeth II on the 2006 film “The Queen”, the title role in the TV drama “Elizabeth I”, and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of the title character in the 1994 film “The Madness of King George”. Mirren won the “Triple Crown of Acting” for playing:

  • Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen” (winning Best Actress Oscar)
  • Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience” (winning Best Actress in a Play Tony)
  • Detective Jane Tennison in “Prime Suspect” (winning Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy)

73 Hebrew prophet : MICAH

The name “Micah” translates into English from Hebrew as “Who is like God?”

74 Federal org. with a flower logo : EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

76 Portfolio part : ASSET

Our word “portfolio” comes from the Italian “portafoglio” meaning “case for carrying loose papers”. The Italian term comes from “porta” meaning “carry” and “foglio” meaning “sheet, leaf”.

83 Ford’s first minivan : AEROSTAR

The Aerostar was the first minivan released by the Ford Motor Company, and was produced from 1986 to 1997.

84 Score after deuce, perhaps : AD IN

In tennis, if the score reaches deuce (i.e. when both players have scored three points), then the first player to win two points in a row wins the game. The player who wins the point immediately after deuce is said to have the advantage. If the player with the advantage wins the next point then that’s two in a row and that player wins the game. If the person with the advantage loses the next point, then advantage is lost and the players return to deuce and try again. The player calling out the score announces “ad in”, or more formally “advantage in”, if he/she has the advantage. If the score announcer’s opponent has the advantage, then the announcement is “ad out” or “advantage out”. Follow all of that …?

85 Hogwash : MALARKEY

It’s not really known how the word “malarkey” came to mean “lies and exaggeration”. What is known is that “Malarkey” is also used as a family name.

“Hogwash” means “rubbish, of little value”. “Hogwash” was originally the name of swill fed to pigs.

92 City near Disney World : ORLANDO

Orlando in Central Florida is the largest inland city in the state. Orlando was the most visited city in the US in 2009. That’s mainly because it is home to many theme parks, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida and SeaWorld. Orlando has a few nicknames, including “O-Town” and “Theme Park Capital of the World”.

Walt Disney World, located near Orlando in Florida, is the most visited vacation resort in the world. The resort comprises four different theme parks as well as two water parks:

  • Magic Kingdom
  • Epcot
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach

97 “Heads or tails?” : CALL IT

The two sides of a coin are known as the “obverse” and the “reverse”. The obverse is commonly referred to as “heads”, as it often depicts someone’s head. The reverse is commonly called “tails”, as it is the opposite of “heads”.

109 Sloop pole : MAST

Sloops and cutters are sailboats, and each has just one mast. One major difference between the two types of vessel is that the mast on a cutter is set much further aft than the mast on a sloop.

114 Great Basin cap. : SLC

Salt Lake City (SLC) was founded by Brigham Young, in 1847. The city takes its name from the Great Salt Lake on which it sits, and indeed was known as “Great Salt Lake City” up until 1868.

The Great Basin is a large region of the US covering most of Nevada, much of Utah and some parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and California. The 200,000 square mile area drains internally, with all precipitation sinking underground or flowing into lakes. Most of the lakes in the Great Basin are saline, including the Great Salt Lake, Pyramid Lake and the Humboldt Sink.

115 Blast letters : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Asparagus piece : SPEAR
6 For the ages : EPIC
10 Open pages in a browser : TABS
14 Channel with Supreme Court coverage : C-SPAN
19 Childish comeback : ARE SO!
20 Biblical wedding location : CANA
21 Writer’s block cure : IDEA
22 Troubling signs : OMENS
23 Very dangerous red? : MORTAL ZINFANDEL (from “mortal sin”)
26 Vatican City masterpiece : PIETA
27 First novel in Cather’s “Great Plains” trilogy : O PIONEERS!
28 Coral formation : REEF
29 How one must win in volleyball : BY TWO
30 Violinist Leopold : AUER
31 “Te __”: Rihanna song : AMO
32 “Just watch me!” : I CAN TOO!
34 Email folder : SENT
36 “Invisibilia” airer : NPR
37 Wine on tap? : DRAFT BORDEAUX (from “draft board”)
40 Look at : EYE
41 Actor Mendelsohn : BEN
42 Datebook col. : FRI
43 Painting, cinema, ballet, etc. : ART FORMS
45 Have : POSSESS
49 Formal talk : ADDRESS
53 __ setter : IRISH
54 Steer clear of : AVOID
55 Kimono sash : OBI
57 Proverb ending? : -IAL
58 Game that begins with the murder of Mr. Boddy : CLUE
59 Remains unsettled : PENDS
60 Sequel to Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath”? : CANNERY ROSE (from “Cannery Row”)
64 Moo __ pork : SHU
67 “Rule, Britannia” composer : ARNE
68 Outlaw : BAN
69 Snacked on : ATE
70 French assent : OUI
71 Tavern quaffs : ALES
72 Trough spot : STY
73 Hangover caused by wine? : MAL DE MERLOT (from “mal de mer”)
76 Like gymnasts : AGILE
77 Gobi locale : ASIA
79 A pop : PER
80 At the stern : AFT
81 More rational : SANER
82 Become frantic : PANIC
84 Stockpiled : AMASSED
87 Delegates, as duties : ASSIGNS
89 Endangered Himalayan mammal : RED PANDA
91 Rain-__ gum : BLO
93 Coop resident : HEN
94 Tax agcy. : IRS
95 Wax eloquent about some wine? : HAIL A CABERNET (from “hail a cab”)
100 Sunblock letters : SPF
103 Mineral hardness scale : MOHS
105 Forensic facilities : DNA LABS
106 Stretch the truth : LIE
107 Actress Polo : TERI
108 1965 march site : SELMA
110 Little brook : RILL
111 __ section : CAESAREAN
113 Skylit courtyards : ATRIA
114 Wine that’s good for one’s bones? : SKELETON CHIANTI (from “skeleton key”)
116 Nested supermarket rollers : CARTS
117 “Red Clocks” novelist Zumas : LENI
118 Connection point : NODE
119 Teeny pests : MITES
120 Private rendezvous : TRYST
121 Dermatology concern : CYST
122 Boxing ref’s decisions : TKOS
123 Wade noisily : SLOSH

Down

1 South Pacific islander : SAMOAN
2 Keep from falling : PROP UP
3 More ghoulish : EERIER
4 Mary of “The Maltese Falcon” : ASTOR
5 Dappled horse : ROAN
6 Dermatology concern : ECZEMA
7 Create couples : PAIR OFF
8 Cozy retreats : INNS
9 Half-__: latte spec : CAF
10 Unfortunate quality in a karaoke singer : TIN EAR
11 Arithmetic figure : ADDEND
12 Meat-flavored broths : BEEF TEAS
13 Kid-lit girl with a blueberry pail : SAL
14 __ and paste : COPY
15 “In the Heights” actor Jimmy : SMITS
16 Wine that comes in tiny bottles? : PEEWEE RIESLING (from “Pee Wee Reese”)
17 Lost and found, e.g. : ANTONYMS
18 Govt. cybersecurity monitor : NSA
24 Picks up : LEARNS
25 With the bow, in music : ARCO
29 Ring event : BOUT
32 Footnote kin of op. cit. : IBID
33 Couple in a boat : OARS
35 Radio host John : TESH
37 Acts : DEEDS
38 Get in shape : TRAIN
39 Case for Mulder and Scully : X-FILE
41 Back of a hit 45 record : B-SIDE
44 Tulsa sch. : ORU
45 Family guys : PAPAS
46 In plain view : OVERT
47 Tale about one Corleone’s love of fortified wine? : SONNY AND SHERRY (from “Sonny and Cher”)
48 L.A.’s region : SOCAL
50 Some calorie counters : DIETERS
51 Less common : RARER
52 Historic Nevada city : ELY
56 Rock group : BAND
58 Forensic series starring Paula Newsome, familiarly : CSI
61 Ben and Jerry : NAMES
62 Car top : ROOF
63 “__ my way!” : OUTTA
65 Oscar winner Mirren : HELEN
66 Icon tappers : USERS
68 “Hello, ewe!” : BAA!
71 Once more : AGAIN
73 Hebrew prophet : MICAH
74 Federal org. with a flower logo : EPA
75 Sauce dispenser : LADLE
76 Portfolio part : ASSET
78 Small drink : SIP
82 Buttoned-up : PRIM
83 Ford’s first minivan : AEROSTAR
84 Score after deuce, perhaps : AD IN
85 Hogwash : MALARKEY
86 Flows back, as the tide : EBBS
88 “You gotta be kidding!” : SHEESH!
90 Zip : NADA
92 City near Disney World : ORLANDO
96 Sci-fi invaders : ALIENS
97 “Heads or tails?” : CALL IT
98 Equal to the task : ABLE
99 Nephews’ sisters : NIECES
100 Taken care of : SEEN TO
101 Jabbers : PRATES
102 Wind up : FINISH
104 Thin openings : SLITS
107 Hiking path : TRAIL
109 Sloop pole : MAST
111 “Order up!” shouter : COOK
112 Goals : AIMS
113 Play a role : ACT
114 Great Basin cap. : SLC
115 Blast letters : TNT

10 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 11 Dec 22, Sunday”

  1. It was fun once I FINALLY figured out what was going on. I had a big forehead slap with OPioneers. I kept thinking “how can this start with OPION?” I think my favorite one was SonnyandSherry. 🙂

  2. 21:26 and DNF, with two fills (affecting four), caused by these insufferable pun “theme entries”. Insufferable.

  3. No errors but the theme felt a little forced. I got it though.

    Never heard of BEEF TEAS. so I looked it up. Here is what I got for definition

    “… a drink made from stewed extract of beef, used as nourishment for invalids.”

    What?

  4. Took a long time today…and about half of it was spent trying to figure
    out 73-across. I finally went with mal de merlot although I always
    thought mal de mer was seasickness not a hangover. One lookup…
    the Red Clocks novelist. No errors at the end. Finally!

  5. Mal de mer is not a hangover, it’s French for seasickness, not the same at all. There are good omens and bad omens, so, they are not necessarily “troubling signs”. WTH?

    1. But, but, but … given that the phrase “mal de tete” refers to a headache and “mal de mer” refers to seasickness, one might suppose, humorously, that “mal de merlot” refers to “a kind of malady caused by drinking wine” – in other words, a hangover! And the fact that not all omens are troubling doesn’t invalidate the clue “Troubling signs” for the answer “OMENS” – similarly, not all pets are cats, but the clue “Domestic pets” might, in fact be used for the answer “CATS”.

      They’re called “clues”, not “precise definitions”!

  6. Very enjoyable Sunday for me; took 26:18 with 1 silly error. After rejiggering my spelling of ECZEMA and …ZINFANDEL (kinda sad, because I’m actually going through a bottle at the moment) and feeling my way through …BORDEAUX, I managed to screw up SaC/aENI which I found with a “check-grid.” Lets see, Great Basin…hmm, not Central Valley…

    I checked out a video of the red panda – incredibly cute little critter!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13Kaw0mbCM0

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