LA Times Crossword 12 Dec 22, Monday

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Constructed by: David Tuffs
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Pet Peeves

Themed answers each end with something that is often a particular PEEVE of house PETS:

  • 55A Irritating behaviors, and what the ends of the answers to the starred clues may be? : PET PEEVES
  • 17A *Post-workout relaxation spot : STEAM BATH
  • 23A *Experienced pro : SEASONED VET
  • 33A *1990 action film with cameos by famous NASCAR drivers : DAYS OF THUNDER
  • 44A *Absence of clear leadership : POWER VACUUM

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

Bill’s time: 5m 15s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Touchdown signalers : REFS

A football referee is sometimes called a “zebra”, a reference to the striped shirt that is part of the official uniform.

15 Not worth discussing : MOOT

To moot is to bring up as a subject for discussion or debate. So, something that is moot is open to debate. Something that is no longer moot, is no longer worth debating. We don’t seem to be able to get that right, which drives me crazy …

19 Lone Star State resident : TEXAN

The single star on the state flag of Texas is a reminder of the “lone star” on the 1836 National Standard of Texas. The single white star on a blue background symbolizes Texas as an independent republic and its struggle for independence from Mexico.

20 Enchilada wrap : TORTILLA

“Enchilada” is the past participle of the Spanish word “enchilar” meaning “to add chili pepper to”. An enchilada is basically a corn tortilla rolled around some filling and then covered in chili pepper sauce. The term “big enchilada” is used in the same way as we would use “big cheese” i.e. the top dog. The phrase was popularized in the sixties when John Ehrlichman refers to Attorney General John Mitchell as “the big enchilada” on one of the Watergate Tapes.

21 Trig ratio : SINE

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio: a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are cosecant, secant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

27 “New Girl” girl : JESS

Zooey Deschanel is an actress and singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. She is the younger sister of Emily Deschanel who plays the title role on the TV show “Bones”. Zooey plays Jess Day, the lead character on the sitcom “New Girl”. In the world of music, Zooey teams up with “M” Ward in the duo that goes by the name “She & Him”.

29 Abbr. on NYC maps : AVE

The famous grid layout of Manhattan’s streets and avenues was the result of the Commissioner’s Plan of 1811. The plan only applied to streets above Houston Street as almost all of the development in lower Manhattan had taken place organically, as the original colony of New Amsterdam grew. One notable exception from the 1811 plan was New York’s magnificent Central Park, which was not envisioned until the 1850s.

30 Feb. follower : MAR

March is the third month in our Gregorian calendar. It takes its name from the Latin “Martius”, which was the first month of the earliest Roman calendar. In turn, Martius was named for Mars, the Roman god of war.

33 *1990 action film with cameos by famous NASCAR drivers : DAYS OF THUNDER

“Days of Thunder” is 1990 movie about NASCAR racing that stars Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Robert Duvall. “Days of Thunder” is the first of three films that co-starred Cruise and Kidman, with the other two being “Far And Away” and “Eyes Wide Shut”.

38 “__ Misérables” : LES

Victor Hugo’s famous 1862 novel “Les Misérables” has been translated into English several times. However, the title is usually left in the original French as a successful translation of “les misérables” seems to be elusive. Some suggestions for an English title are “The Wretched”, “The Victims” and “The Dispossessed”. The novel follows the lives of several characters including an ex-convict Jean Valjean, a fanatic police inspector Javert, a beautiful prostitute Fantine, and Fantine’s illegitimate daughter Cosette.

42 Plumber’s challenge : CLOG

“Plumbum” is 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 pipes were leaking.

47 Sixth sense letters : ESP

The so-called sixth sense is extrasensory perception (ESP). It is also referred to as second sight.

50 Sunburn balm : ALOE

Aloe vera has a number of alternate names that are descriptive of its efficacy as a medicine. ancient Egyptians knew it as the plant of immortality, and Native Americans called it the wand of heaven.

53 __-card stud: poker variety : SEVEN

“Stud poker” is the name given to many variants of poker, all of which are characterized by the dealer giving each player a mix of cards face-down and face-up. The cards facing upwards are called “upcards”. The cards facing downwards are called “hole cards”, cards only visible to the individual who holds that particular hand. This gives rise to the phrase “ace in the hole”, a valuable holding that only the player with the ace is aware of.

55 Irritating behaviors, and what the ends of the answers to the starred clues may be? : PET PEEVES

The phrase “pet peeve”, meaning “thing that provokes one most”, seems to be somewhat ironic. A “peeve” is a source of irritation, and the adjective “pet” means “especially cherished”.

57 Traditional Indian wedding dress : SARI

The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that it is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

58 Ravioli option : MEAT

Ravioli (singular “raviolo”) are filled dumplings served in Italian cuisine.

61 Norway’s capital : OSLO

Oslo is the capital of Norway. The city burns trash to fuel half of its buildings, including all of its schools. The problem faced by the city is that it doesn’t generate enough trash. So, Oslo imports trash from Sweden, England and Ireland, and is now looking to import some American trash too.

Down

2 Praise highly : EXTOL

To extol something is to praise it loudly. The term “to extol” comes from the Latin “extollere” meaning “to raise up, elevate”.

6 Fluffy-eared marsupials : KOALAS

The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …

Marsupials are mammals that carry their young in a pouch called a marsupium. Better-known marsupials are kangaroos, koalas, wombats and Tasmanian devils. As you can probably tell from this list, most marsupials are native to the Southern Hemisphere.

7 Tiny bits : IOTAS

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, and one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

11 IRS auditor’s target : TAX EVADER

Tax evasion is illegal, and tax avoidance is legal. Evading taxes involves dishonest tax reporting, whereas avoiding taxes uses the tax laws as written to reduce the amount of tax owed. Both evasion and avoidance might be regarded as noncompliance, because tax avoidance often involves legal manipulation of the system (using “loopholes”) in a manner that subverts the intent of the tax code.

12 Airport safety gp. : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

13 Govt.-issued ID : SSN

The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an identity number to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So starting in 1986, the IRS made it a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, seven million dependents “disappeared” in 1987. Today, a SSN is required for a child of any age in order to receive a tax exemption.

21 Utter fiasco : SNAFU

“SNAFU” is an acronym standing for “situation normal: all fouled up” (well, that’s the polite version!). As one might perhaps imagine, the term developed in the US Army, during WWII.

Back in the mid-1800s, “fiasco” was theater slang meaning “failure in performance”. The meaning morphed soon after into any kind of failure or flop. The term evolved from the Italian “far fiasco”, a phrase that had the same meaning in Italian theater, but translated literally as “make a bottle”. It turns out that “fiasco” and “flask” both derive from the Latin “flasco” meaning “bottle”.

24 Texter’s “however” : OTOH

On the other hand (OTOH)

25 “Be it __ so humble … ” : EVER

“Home! Sweet Home!” is a song that has been around at least since 1827. The melody was composed by Englishman Sir Henry Bishop, using lyrics written by American John Howard Payne.

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home;
A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there,
Which seek thro’ the world, is ne’er met elsewhere.
Home! Home!
Sweet, sweet home!
There’s no place like home
There’s no place like home!

27 Blue birds : JAYS

The blue jay is a perching bird that is native to eastern North America. They can be extremely aggressive to other birds, often raiding their nests. If a fight breaks out, the blue jay has been known to decapitate its opponent.

31 Tense NFL periods : OTS

Overtime (OT)

33 Extinct bird : DODO

The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and the dove, although the fully-grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago (last recorded alive in 1662) and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius and when humans arrived, we cut back the forests that were its home. We also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests. The dodo was deemed to be an awkward flightless bird and so the term “dodo” has come to mean a dull-witted person.

34 Greek salad ingredient : OLIVE
35 Greek salad ingredient : FETA

What we know as a Greek salad here in North America evolved from the horiatiki salad from Greek cuisine. The name “horiatiki” translates as “peasant, village salad”. A typical horiatiki salad consists of tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, olives with a slice of feta cheese on top. It also includes a dressing made from Greek oregano and salt in olive oil. Notably, the original dish does not include lettuce.

36 “Moonlight” actress Harris : NAOMIE

English actress Naomie Harris portrays the iconic Miss Eve Moneypenny in several “James Bond” films, starting with 2012’s “Skyfall”. She took on a more serious role in 2013’s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”, playing Winnie Mandela opposite Idris Elba.

“Moonlight” is a 2016 semi-autobiographical film based on an unpublished play by Tarell Alvin McCraney titled “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”. “Moonlight” won the season’s Best Picture Oscar, thus becoming the first film to do so with an all-black cast, and the first with an LGBT storyline.

37 Lead-in to rock or Rocks : POP …

The fizzy candy marketed as Pop Rocks was introduced in 1975. The candy is made by exposing a melted sugar syrup to carbon dioxide at high pressure. As the syrup cools, it traps high-pressure bubbles of the gas inside the candy. When the candy dissolves in the mouth, the carbon dioxide is released with a popping sound.

41 “Jane Eyre” novelist Charlotte : BRONTE

Charlotte Brontë was the eldest of the three Brontë sister authors. Her most famous work is the novel “Jane Eyre”, which she published under the pen name Currer Bell. The pen name veiled her gender, but preserved the initials of her real name. After “Jane Eyre” was published, Brontë started to move in the same circles as other successful novelists of the day, including William Makepeace Thackeray and Elizabeth Gaskell. Just two years after Bronte died in her late thirties, it was Gaskell who published the first biography of Charlotte Brontë.

49 Basil sauce : PESTO

Pesto sauce is more completely called “pesto alla genovese”, i.e. pesto from Genoa. A traditional recipe calls for crushed garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil leaves, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Yum …

52 Fish sought by Marlin and Dory in a Pixar film : NEMO

“Finding Nemo” is a 2003 animated blockbuster from Pixar. The film was the winner of the Oscar that year for Best Animated Feature. Believe it or not, “Finding Nemo” is the best-selling DVD of all time and, until 2010’s “Toy Story 3”, it was the highest-grossing, G-rated movie at the box office.

55 Tire pressure meas. : PSI

Pounds per square inch (PSI) is a measure of pressure.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Touchdown signalers : REFS
5 Similar (to) : AKIN
9 Short golf strokes : PUTTS
14 Hotel corridor word in red : EXIT
15 Not worth discussing : MOOT
16 “None for me” : I PASS
17 *Post-workout relaxation spot : STEAM BATH
19 Lone Star State resident : TEXAN
20 Enchilada wrap : TORTILLA
21 Trig ratio : SINE
22 Slick : SLY
23 *Experienced pro : SEASONED VET
27 “New Girl” girl : JESS
28 Tiny bit : TAD
29 Abbr. on NYC maps : AVE
30 Feb. follower : MAR
31 Sound after a gut punch : OOF!
32 Brainchild : IDEA
33 *1990 action film with cameos by famous NASCAR drivers : DAYS OF THUNDER
37 Pea holders : PODS
38 “__ Misérables” : LES
39 Balloon filler : AIR
40 Poem of praise : ODE
41 Drill insert : BIT
42 Plumber’s challenge : CLOG
44 *Absence of clear leadership : POWER VACUUM
47 Sixth sense letters : ESP
50 Sunburn balm : ALOE
51 Protect with plastic coating, as an ID card : LAMINATE
53 __-card stud: poker variety : SEVEN
55 Irritating behaviors, and what the ends of the answers to the starred clues may be? : PET PEEVES
56 Upright : ERECT
57 Traditional Indian wedding dress : SARI
58 Ravioli option : MEAT
59 Fail to make use of : WASTE
60 Remove wrinkles from : IRON
61 Norway’s capital : OSLO

Down

1 Puts one’s feet up : RESTS
2 Praise highly : EXTOL
3 Passionate : FIERY
4 ER doc’s “Now!” : STAT!
5 Walks along : AMBLES
6 Fluffy-eared marsupials : KOALAS
7 Tiny bits : IOTAS
8 To the __ degree : NTH
9 Felt sorry for : PITIED
10 Topple : UPEND
11 IRS auditor’s target : TAX EVADER
12 Airport safety gp. : TSA
13 Govt.-issued ID : SSN
18 Penny pinchers : MISERS
21 Utter fiasco : SNAFU
24 Texter’s “however” : OTOH
25 “Be it __ so humble … ” : EVER
26 Brewed beverage that may be hot or iced : TEA
27 Blue birds : JAYS
30 Caused a disturbance : MADE WAVES
31 Tense NFL periods : OTS
32 Quaint “Gotcha” : I DIG
33 Extinct bird : DODO
34 Greek salad ingredient : OLIVE
35 Greek salad ingredient : FETA
36 “Moonlight” actress Harris : NAOMIE
37 Lead-in to rock or Rocks : POP …
41 “Jane Eyre” novelist Charlotte : BRONTE
42 Spanish four : CUATRO
43 Group together : LUMP IN
45 Vote into office : ELECT
46 Easy to understand : CLEAR
47 Roof overhangs : EAVES
48 Swipe : STEAL
49 Basil sauce : PESTO
52 Fish sought by Marlin and Dory in a Pixar film : NEMO
53 Attach a button, say : SEW
54 Time period : ERA
55 Tire pressure meas. : PSI

12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Dec 22, Monday”

  1. No errors, no lookups. Even though it was an “easy Monday” puzzle
    it still took me 15 minutes…which is 3 times Bill’s time. How does he
    DO that?

  2. Never heard of “New Girl”. My mind went blank (if it wasn’t already) and I was totally stuck by dodo, days of thunder, jays and Jess. Flew through the rest, though. 🙂

  3. 17:04 no errors…didn’t get the theme until I got here🤪
    My Saturday paper was not delivered for some reason and it contains the Saturday and Sunday NYT and LAT puzzles…kinda left me with nothing to do until football hit the airways.
    The Ravens are down to QB #3 but still pulled it out🙏👍👍🏈
    Stay safe😀

  4. Finished with no lookups or errors but never could get a handle on the theme. When explained, thought it was a pretty big stretch and it certainly didn’t help solve this relatively easy puzzle.

  5. Finished with no lookups or errors but never could get a handle on the theme. When explained, thought it was a pretty big stretch and it certainly didn’t help solve this relatively easy puzzle.

  6. 9:48 – no errors or lookups. False starts: RELAX>RESTS, EXALT>EXTOL, LEAK>CLOG.

    New: “New Girl” JESS, NAOMIE Harris.

    Another case of a duplicated clue: “Greek salad ingredient.”

    Theme was not difficult to see, of little use in solving, but kind of cute.

  7. Nice easy Monday for me; took 8:16 with no peeks or errors. Had to dance around a little, but no real issues. Kind of looked at the theme but didn’t really get it until I got here.

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