LA Times Crossword 17 Dec 22, Saturday

Advertisement

Constructed by: Erica Hsiung Wojcik & Brooke Husic
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 8m 45s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Ceremonial champagne opener : SABER

The technique of opening a bottle of champagne using a sword is known as sabrage, or sabering. It involves sliding the sword along the body of the bottle so that it hits the lip and separates the collar from the neck. Despite the need for a “sharp” movement of the sword, it is important to use the “blunt” side of the sword to provide maximum impact on the lip of the bottle.

6 Rich brown shade : MOCHA

Mocha is a port city in Yemen on the Red Sea and was once the principal port for the capital city of Sana’a. Mocha was the major marketplace in the world for coffee until the 1600s, and gave its name to the Mocha coffee bean, which in turn gave its name to the mocha brown color, and the flavor of coffee infused with chocolate.

11 Brazen personal ad? : SHAMELESS PLUG

Someone described as brazen might also be described as shameless. The term “brazen” comes from the Middle English “brasen” meaning “made of brass”. The suggestion is that a shameless person has a hardened, brass-like face. And so, the similar-meaning word “brassy” has the same etymology.

16 First name in jumps : EVEL

Daredevil Evel Knievel contracted hepatitis C from the many blood transfusions that he needed after injuries incurred during stunts. He had to have a liver transplant as a result, but his health declined after that. Knievel eventually passed away in 2007.

17 Hub served by BART : SFO

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) served as the main base of operations for Virgin America (sold to Alaska Airlines), and is also the maintenance hub for United Airlines. Even though SFO is owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco, the airport is located to the south in San Mateo County.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a commuter rail system serving the San Francisco Bay Area.

18 Initial request for an answer? : RSVP

“RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

19 “You’re killing me, __!” : SMALLS

The slang phrase “You’re killin’ me, Smalls” is used to express exasperation with someone. The phrase comes from the 1993 baseball film “The Sandlot”. It is used twice, with the same meaning, when addressing a boy named Scotty Smalls.

21 Something clasped for support : BRA

The word “brassière” is French in origin, but it isn’t the word that the French use for a “bra”. In France, what we call a bra is known as a “soutien-gorge”, which can translate as “supporting the breast”. The word “brassière” is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby’s undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. “Brassière” comes from the Old French word for an “arm protector” in a military uniform (“bras” is the French for “arm”). Later “brassière” came to mean “breastplate” and from there the word was used for a type of woman’s corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

27 Mystery-shrouded novelist Elena : FERRANTE

Elena Ferrante is an Italian author, best known for her 4-part series known as the “Neapolitan Novels”. What is very interesting about “Ferrante” is that the moniker is a pseudonym, and no one seems to know the author’s real name. There is some speculation that “Elena” is in fact a man.

29 Fancy affair : SOIREE

“Soir” is the French word for “evening” and a soirée is an evening party. The French word “soirée” has an acute accent over the first “e”, but we tend to drop this when using the word in English.

31 Symbol held aloft in an Emmy statuette : ATOM

The Emmy Awards are the television equivalent of the Oscars from the world of film, the Grammy Awards in music and the Tony Awards for the stage. Emmy Awards are presented throughout the year, depending on the sector of television being honored. The most famous of these ceremonies are the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards. The distinctive name “Emmy” is a softened version of the word “immy”, the nickname given to the video camera tubes found in old television cameras. The Emmy statuette was designed by television engineer Louis McManus in 1948, and depicts a woman holding up an atom. McManus used his wife as a model for the woman.

32 Indigenous Arizona people : APACHE

The Apache are a group of Native American peoples originally from the Southwest US. The Navajo are a separate but related people, through culture and language, and are often described as “Apachean”.

35 Minibar tool : ICE TONGS

A pair of tongs is a tool with a scissor-like hinge used to pick up things, like meat cooking on a barbecue grill or ice from an ice bucket. The verb “to tong” means “to handle with tongs”.

39 Number of World Series wins for each of Chicago’s teams : THREE

The Chicago White Sox Major League Baseball team was established in Chicago in 1900 and originally was called the White Stockings. The name was changed because the abbreviation “Sox” for “Stockings” was regularly used in newspaper headlines.

The Chicago Cubs are one of only two charter members of the baseball’s National League who are still playing, the other being the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs won the World Series in 2016 for the first time since 1908, which is a long time ago. In fact, the Cubs had the longest championship drought of any professional sports team in North America.

43 Having sex, perhaps : RATED R

The Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) film-rating system (PG-13, R, etc.) is purely voluntary and is not backed by any law. Movie theaters agree to abide by the rules that come with the MPAA ratings in exchange for access to new movies.

45 City in the Sonoran Desert : YUMA

The city and county of Yuma, Arizona take their name from the Quechan (aka “Yuma”) Native American tribe that inhabited the area.

Sonora is the state in Mexico lying just south of the borders with Arizona and New Mexico. The Sonoran Desert actually straddles the US-Mexico border, covering 120,000 square miles in parts of the states of Sonora, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Arizona and California.

46 Chest bone : RIB

In the human rib cage, the top seven sets of bones are known as true ribs as they are attached directly to the sternum or breastbone. The five sets below the true ribs are called false ribs as they don’t have this direct connection. The bottom two of the false ribs are also called floating ribs as they don’t connect to the sternum at all.

49 Entrance hall : FOYER

“Foyer”, meaning “lobby”, is a French word that we imported into English. In French, “foyer” is used for what we would call a “green room”, a place where actors can gather when not on stage or on set.

53 Triumphant declaration : NOT TODAY, SATAN

“Not today, Satan” is an old expression used when someone has managed to avoid shame or temptation. The phrase is possibly derived from “Get behind me, Satan!”, words spoken by the apostle Peter in the Christian Bible. It gained more general popularity with its recent use on the show “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.

54 Animals in Serta ads : SHEEP

Serta was founded in 1931 when a group of 13 mattress manufacturers came together, essentially forming a cooperative. Today, the Serta company is owned by eight independent licensees in a similar arrangement. Serta advertisements feature the Serta Counting Sheep. Each numbered sheep has a different personality, such as:

  • #1 The Leader of the Flock
  • #½ The Tweener
  • #13 Mr. Bad Luck
  • #53 The Pessimist
  • #86 Benedict Arnold

Down

1 Chutzpah : SASS

Our word “chutzpah” meaning “nerve, gall, impudence” is derived from the Yiddish “khutspe”, which has the same meaning.

2 Invoice no. : AMT

Amount (amt.)

An invoice is an itemized bill. The term comes from the Middle French “envois” meaning “dispatch (of goods)”. The root verb is “envoyer”, which translates as “to send”.

3 Colossus : BEHEMOTH

A behemoth is something that is huge in size. The term comes from the Hebrew word “b’hemoth”, which is a beast described in the Book of Job. It is suggested that the Biblical creature is an elephant, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, crocodile or perhaps something mythical.

A colossus (plural “colossi”) is an exceptionally large statue, the most famous of which was the Colossus of Rhodes. This was a statue of the god Helios that stood over 100 feet tall, on the Greek island of Rhodes. New York’s Statue of Liberty was designed to have similar dimensions. The Emma Lazarus poem that is inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty is in fact titled “The New Colossus”. We get our adjective “colossal”, meaning “of exceptional size”, from “colossus”.

6 Food additive : MSG

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …

8 Snack with a rock climber on its wrapper : CLIF BAR

A CLIF Bar is an energy bar, and is the flagship product of Clif Bar and Company based in Emeryville, California. The CLIF Bar was developed by baker and former mountain guide Gary Erickson in 1990. He named it for his father Clifford.

11 Second place : SILVER

In the Ancient Olympic Games, the winner of an event was awarded an olive wreath. When the games were revived in 1896, the winners were originally given a silver medal and an olive branch, with runners-up receiving a bronze medal and a laurel branch. The tradition of giving gold, silver and bronze medals began at the 1904 Summer Olympic Games held in St. Louis, Missouri.

12 Letters in a tab : HTTP

“http” are the first letters in many Internet links. “http” stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. More secure and “safer” websites (like this one!) use links starting with “https”, which stands for “http secure”).

13 Place for a plant : SILL

“Sill plate”, or simply “sill”, is an architectural term describing a bottom horizontal member to which vertical members are attached. Window sills and door sills are specific sill plates found at the bottoms of windows and door openings.

14 Sculptor Eva who pioneered postminimalism in the 1960s : HESSE

Eva Hesse was a German-born, American sculptor associated with the postminimal art movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Hesse used materials such as latex, fiberglass and plastic in her sculptures. Some of these materials do not hold up well over time, and so some of her works have lost their shape and are no longer suitable for exhibition.

22 King Kong or Kanzi : APE

1933’s “King Kong” really is a classic. It stars Fay Wray as the young woman (Ann Darrow) with whom Kong falls in love. Wray was very interested in the role as she was told that she would be playing opposite the “tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood”. She thought it might be Clark Gable. At least, that’s how the story goes …

Kanzi is a celebrated male bonobo that exhibits advanced use of language. When he was eight years old, he was studied by researchers alongside a two-year-old human child over a period of nine months. Both subjects were given 660 verbal instructions. The human child responded correctly to 65 percent of the instructions, and Kanzi responded correctly to 74 percent.

24 “__ Outspoken: My Life in the News”: 2012 memoir : RATHER

Journalist and former news anchor Dan Rather is from Texas, and began his career as a reporter for the Associated Press in Huntsville, Texas. Rather was the man chosen to replace Walter Cronkite as anchor and Managing Editor of “CBS Evening News” when Cronkite retired in 1981.

26 Long ride : LIMO

The word “limousine” derives from the name of the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

28 Main ingredient of zongzi : RICE

Zongzi is a rice dish from traditional Chinese cuisine. It consists of glutinous rice stuffed with a sweet, savory or neutral filling, and wrapped in bamboo leaves. They may also be called sticky rice dumplings.

29 Use a joystick, perhaps : STEER

In an airplane, a joystick is the control device that operates the elevators and the ailerons. The word “joystick” also describes any control stick capable of moving in two or more directions. The term originated as aviator slang in the early 1900s.

31 Quality assurance : ACID TEST

Gold is a metallic chemical element with the symbol “Au”. It is extremely unreactive. Silver and other base metals dissolve in nitric acid, and so testing an unknown sample with nitric acid can confirm the presence of gold. This assaying practice gave rise to the figurative use of the term “acid test” to describe any definitive test.

36 Illustrator Dustin who won an Eisner Award for “Descender” : NGUYEN

Dustin Nguyen is an illustrator of comic books. He won the 2016 Eisner Award for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist for his work on the Image Comic series “Descender” written by Jeff Lemire.

44 Diagnosis that may be accommodated with an IEP : ADHD

The “official” name for the condition we sometimes still refer to as “attention deficit disorder” (ADD) is “attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder” (ADHD).

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a document created for any child in a public school who has special education needs.

45 With 42-Across, surface for shavasana : YOGA …
[42A See 45-Down : … MAT]

In yoga, shavasana is a pose (asana) that is often used at the end of the session for relaxation. It is known as corpse pose in English.

47 Gig fraction : BYTE

In the world of computing, a bit is the basic unit of information. It has a value of 0 or 1. A “byte” is a small collection of “bits” (usually 8), the number of bits needed to uniquely identify a character of text. The prefix mega- stands for 10 to the power of 6, so a megabyte (meg) is 1,000,000 bytes. The prefix giga- means 10 to the power of 9, and so a gigabyte (gig) is 1,000,000,000 bytes. Well, those are the SI definitions of megabyte and gigabyte. The purists still use 2 to the power of 20 for a megabyte (i.e. 1,048,576), and 2 to the power of 30 for a gigabyte.

50 Two out of nine? : ENS

There are two letters N (ens) in the word “nine”.

51 Polo, e.g. : TOP

René Lacoste was a French tennis player who went into the clothing business, and came up with a more comfortable shirt that players could use. This became known as a “tennis shirt”. When it was adopted for use in the sport of polo, the shirts also became known as “polo shirts”. The “golf shirt” is basically the same thing. The Lacoste line of clothing features a crocodile logo, because René was nicknamed “The Crocodile”.

52 Korean for “kick” : TAE

Tae kwon do is the national sport of Korea. “Tae” means “to strike or break with foot”; “kwon” means “to strike or break with fist”; “do” means “way” or “art”. Along with judo, tae kwon do is one of only two martial arts included in the Olympic Games.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Ceremonial champagne opener : SABER
6 Rich brown shade : MOCHA
11 Brazen personal ad? : SHAMELESS PLUG
14 Gains star power : HITS THE BIG TIME
15 Attacks, as a snow fort : PELTS
16 First name in jumps : EVEL
17 Hub served by BART : SFO
18 Initial request for an answer? : RSVP
19 “You’re killing me, __!” : SMALLS
21 Something clasped for support : BRA
23 Legal conclusion? : -ESE
24 Knee-slappers : RIOTS
25 Workshop device : CLAMP
27 Mystery-shrouded novelist Elena : FERRANTE
29 Fancy affair : SOIREE
30 Restless desire : ITCH
31 Symbol held aloft in an Emmy statuette : ATOM
32 Indigenous Arizona people : APACHE
35 Minibar tool : ICE TONGS
39 Number of World Series wins for each of Chicago’s teams : THREE
40 Draws (away) : SHIES
41 Continuity problem : GAP
42 See 45-Down : … MAT
43 Having sex, perhaps : RATED R
45 City in the Sonoran Desert : YUMA
46 Chest bone : RIB
48 “Phooey!” : DRAT!
49 Entrance hall : FOYER
50 “Calm down, sport” : EASY THERE, TIGER
53 Triumphant declaration : NOT TODAY, SATAN
54 Animals in Serta ads : SHEEP
55 A couple : MATES

Down

1 Chutzpah : SASS
2 Invoice no. : AMT
3 Colossus : BEHEMOTH
4 Give a lift : ELEVATE
5 Defies authority : REBELS
6 Food additive : MSG
7 Picks : OPTS
8 Snack with a rock climber on its wrapper : CLIF BAR
9 “Just play along” : HUMOR ME
10 Number that’s always positive : AGE
11 Second place : SILVER
12 Letters in a tab : HTTP
13 Place for a plant : SILL
14 Sculptor Eva who pioneered postminimalism in the 1960s : HESSE
15 Fave option : PREF
19 Starting from : SINCE
20 Hustles out : SCOOTS
22 King Kong or Kanzi : APE
24 “__ Outspoken: My Life in the News”: 2012 memoir : RATHER
26 Long ride : LIMO
28 Main ingredient of zongzi : RICE
29 Use a joystick, perhaps : STEER
31 Quality assurance : ACID TEST
32 Bread machine : ATM
33 Title derived from the ancient Egyptian for “great house” : PHARAOH
34 Skilled performer : ARTISTE
35 “Word” : I HEAR YA
36 Illustrator Dustin who won an Eisner Award for “Descender” : NGUYEN
37 One gaining star power, perhaps : GAMER
38 Go at it : SPAR
40 Water under the bridge : STREAM
44 Diagnosis that may be accommodated with an IEP : ADHD
45 With 42-Across, surface for shavasana : YOGA …
47 Gig fraction : BYTE
49 Makes sense : FITS
50 Two out of nine? : ENS
51 Polo, e.g. : TOP
52 Korean for “kick” : TAE

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 17 Dec 22, Saturday”

  1. Well that took longer than I thought.

    Messed up FERRANTE. had SERRANTE which gave me PRES instead of PREF.

    Didn’t know either one.

    Also never heard of or have seen a CLIF BAR. I googled it but I don’t recognize it. Must be in the “REALLY HEALTHY SECTION” of the store.

  2. Typical difficult Saturday puzzle. No errors, but quite a few
    lookups….for instance “shamelessplug”…..who knows that?
    Lots of PPP’S to make it even harder. Got it done, but not without
    a lot of grumbling.

  3. Every time I think I’m getting better at these puzzles, one like this comes along and gives me a big dope-slap. Too many look-ups to say “I” finished it; rather, Mr. Google deserves the credit.

  4. Yeah, right. Two of us working together took more than 45 minutes. But WHY is the emmy statuette holding an atom?

    1. I wondered about the atom, as well, and you’ve just reminded me that I was going to look it up. Google says this: “The design featured a woman with wings to represent the arts, holding an atom to symbolize the sciences. Louis McManus, a television engineer and the design’s creator, had modeled the figure after his wife.”

  5. I think the whole idea behind these LATimes puzzles is to make sure no one can get them. Over half the answers make no sense in til you read the reasons and then it’s dubious at best.

  6. Took a while but finished it without error. Never heard of Saber, Clifbar, and most of the proper names. Was able to solve them with workarounds. Really enjoyed this puzzle. A good (for me) degree of difficulty for Saturday.

  7. This puzzle wasn’t the worst of the year, but it would be under consideration for that dubious (dis)honor. The clues, the fills, the references to people nobody has ever heard of, all combine to create a hot mess on a grid.

    16 minutes 12 seconds, no errors (thankfully).

  8. Although I lean toward Barb, even I am not quite that cynical. Far too many oddities and PPP’s (what else is new?) for my taste that didn’t make much sense, even with the explanations. I know it’s Saturday and certainly don’t expect it to be anything but easy, but this is ridiculous.

  9. 53:52 no errors…I finished the NYT#-1112 in fifteen minutes and then this.Go figure.
    Never heard of 19A and any explanation of 35D would be appreciated.
    Stay safe😀
    Go Ravens🏈

  10. No look ups, one Natick. Had prev instead of
    pref. PPP on Ferrante got me on that one. A
    PPP starting with Ng is just brutal (Nguyen)
    hard to even guess! Almost threw in the
    towel but somehow almost got the banner.
    Wasn’t a typical Saturday grid either. (Black
    corners in the NW and SE).

  11. Pretty tough Saturday for me; took 1:14:02 with me only getting the top 2/3rds and only sparsely below that. I needed several “check-grids” to bottom 1/3. Also got PRE?/?ERRANTE wrong.

    @Jack – The expression “Word!” is used by teens/young adults to mean “I agree with you” or, in other words “I hear ya.”

    1. @ Jack and Dirk
      I believe the original version was “ word to
      your mother”. Very slangy…..

      How about them Vikings!

  12. 47:24 – no errors or lookups. False starts: LAG>GAP, RATS>DRAT, SPRING>STREAM.

    The bottom-middle section just did not easily lead me to answers. The words just wouldn’t come for “quality assurance,” “word,” “diagnosis with an IEP,” “water under the bridge,” “a couple.”

    New: SMALLS, Eva HESSE, “zongzi,” Dustin NGUYEN, Korean “kick,” “word” for IHEARYA.

    Just a tough combination of things in that bottom-middle section.

  13. The killer for me were the obscure names: Smalls, Ferrante, Hesse, Rather (although I might have guessed that one), and Nguyen.
    I’ll check with my son about Smalls, he watched that movie many times.
    When I read the clue, “Restless desire” I thought, that soumds like fun. Itch was a bit of a let-down!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *