LA Times Crossword 20 Dec 22, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Erik Agard
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Oh, Man

Themed answers are names of MEN, and the only vowels in those names are letters O:

  • 66A What one might say after figuring out what the answers to the starred clues have in common? : OH, MAN
  • 1A *Fictional swordfighter with a horse named Tornado : ZORRO
  • 20A *”Parasite” director : BONG JOON-HO
  • 31A *Abolitionist who was the first person executed for treason in the United States : JOHN BROWN
  • 40A *Former MLB pitcher nicknamed “Flash” : TOM GORDON
  • 52A *Marvel supervillain who created deadly robot clones of himself : DOCTOR DOOM

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

Bill’s time: 5m 52s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 *Fictional swordfighter with a horse named Tornado : ZORRO

The character Zorro was created by Johnston McCulley in 1919 for a series of stories and pulp fiction, the first title being “The Curse of Capistrano”. The name “Zorro” (Spanish for “fox”) is the secret identity of a Spanish colonial nobleman called Don Diego de la Vega. Famously, Zorro had the habit of carving the letter Z on some object after defeating a foe.

6 Weight : HEFT

The heft of something is its weight, its heaviness. The term “heft” is derivative of the verb “to heave” meaning “to lift, raise”.

10 Early aughts music buys : CDS

“CD-ROM” stands for “compact disc read only memory”. The name indicates that you can read information from the disc (like a standard music CD for example), but you cannot write to it. You can also buy a CD-RW, which stands for “compact disc – rewritable”, with which you can read data and also write over it multiple times using a suitable CD drive.

An “aught” is a zero. The term can be used in the context of dates as in “the aughts”, the years 2000-2009. I’ve also heard those years referred to as “the noughties”.

13 French bottled water brand : EVIAN

Évian-les-Bains (or simply “Évian”) is in the very east of France, on the shores of Lake Geneva directly across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland. As one might imagine, Évian is the home of Évian mineral water, the most successful business in town. Personally, I can’t stand the distinctive taste of Évian water …

17 Largest city in Washoe County, Nevada : RENO

Washoe County is the second-most populous county in Nevada after Clark County. Clark County is home to Las Vegas, and Washoe County is home to Reno. Washoe County was one of the Nevada Territory’s original nine counties, and was named for the Washoe Native American people who lived in the area near Lake Tahoe.

20 *”Parasite” director : BONG JOON-HO

Bong Joon-ho is an Oscar-winning director and screenwriter from South Korea. Bong co-wrote and directed the 2019 film “Parasite”, which became the highest-grossing South Korean film in history. He also directed the very successful English-language film “Snowpiercer” (2013).

25 __ football : ARENA

Arena football is played indoors, on a smaller field than American (and Canadian) football. The sport was invented in 1981, and the Arena Football League (AFL) was around from 1987 till 2008. The AFL was revived in 2010, but went bankrupt in 2019.

26 Promises of eventual repayment : IOUS

I owe you (IOU)

28 Health product chain : GNC

General Nutrition Centers (GNC) is a retailer of health and nutrition supplements based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 1935 as a small health food store in downtown Pittsburgh. There are now about 5,000 stores in the US. The GNC slogan is “Live Well”.

31 *Abolitionist who was the first person executed for treason in the United States : JOHN BROWN

John Brown was a leader of the abolitionist movement who advocated the use of violence to end slavery in America. Famously, Brown led a raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia in 1859 in an attempt to spark a slave revolt. Brown was captured, tried and found guilty of treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia. He was hanged for his crimes, and became the first person in the US to be executed for treason.

35 Smart __: know-it-all : ALEC

Apparently, the original “smart Alec” (sometimes “Aleck”) was one Alec Hoag, a pimp, thief and confidence trickster who plied his trade in New York City in the 1840s.

37 Aussie animal, for short : ROO

The word “kangaroo” comes from the Australian Aborigine term for the animal. There’s an oft-quoted story that the explorer James Cook (later Captain Cook) asked a local native what was the name of this remarkable-looking animal, and the native responded with “Kangaroo”. The story is that the native was actually saying “I don’t understand you”, but as cute as that tale is, it’s just an urban myth.

39 __ ex machina : DEUS

“Deus ex machina” is a Latin phrase that translates as “god out of the machine”. It describes a plot device used in some works whereby some apparently inextricable problem is suddenly resolved by an unexpected intervention. The term was first used in Horace’s “Ars Poetica”.

40 *Former MLB pitcher nicknamed “Flash” : TOM GORDON

Tom Gordon is a retired professional baseball pitcher who set an MLB record of 54 consecutive saves. He retired after the 2009 season as the only pitcher with more than 100 wins, more than 100 saves, and more than 100 holds. Gordon gets a lot of mentions in Stephen King’s 1999 novel “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon”.

42 Form 1099 org. : IRS

There is a series of IRS 1099 forms used to report various types of income, other than wages, salaries and tips that are reported on Form W-2. Examples are Form 1099-INT used to report interest income, 1099-DIV used to report dividend income, and 1099-MISC used to report miscellaneous income.

43 Org. concerned with toxins : EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

A toxin is a naturally occurring poison, one produced by a living cell or organism. The level of toxicity in toxins varies enormously. An example of a mild toxin would be the chemicals found in a bee sting. An example of a fatal toxin would be the botulinum toxin produced by bacteria that cause botulism.

45 Ohio border lake : ERIE

Lake Erie borders four US states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan) and one Canadian province (Ontario).

52 *Marvel supervillain who created deadly robot clones of himself : DOCTOR DOOM

Doctor Doom is a supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe. He is an archenemy of the Fantastic Four.

56 Female pig : SOW

A male pig is a boar, and a female is a sow. Young pigs are piglets.

57 Masjid prayer leader : IMAM

“Masjid” is an Arabic word meaning “temple, place of worship”. It is from “masjid” that we get the English word “mosque”.

63 Quartz type : AGATE

Agate is a micro-crystalline form of quartz (and so is related to sand/silica). Some agate samples have deposited layers that give a striped appearance, and these are called “banded agate”.

Quartz is a form of silicon oxide and is the second most abundant mineral found in the Earth’s crust, after feldspar. The name “quartz” comes into English via German, and probably ultimately derives from a Slavic word meaning “hard”.

64 Internet access option : DSL

An Internet service provider (ISP) is just what the name indicates, a company that provides its customers with access to the Internet. One way that ISPs differentiate themselves from each other is in the way in which end users are connected to the ISP’s network. So, there are cable ISPs, DSL ISPs, dial-up ISPs and satellite ISPs.

Down

1 Greek Z’s : ZETAS

Zeta is the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a precursor of our Roman letter Z. The word “zeta” is also the ancestor of the letter name “zed”, which became “zee”, the term that we use here in the US.

3 Platform on a stage : RISER

A riser is a platform that elevates a group of people above a crowd, and so is ideal for the performance of a choir.

4 Zodiac rodent : RAT

The 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar uses the following animals in order:

  • Rat
  • Ox
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Goat
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

8 __ shui : FENG

Feng shui is the ancient Chinese tradition of arranging objects, buildings and other structures in a manner that is said to improve the lives of the individuals living in or using the space. “Feng shui” translates as “wind-water”, a reference to the belief that positive and negative life forces ride the wind and scatter, but are retained when they encounter water.

9 USC athlete : TROJAN

The athletic teams of the University of Southern California are called the USC Trojans. The women’s teams are also called the Trojans, but are sometimes referred to as Women of Troy.

15 Sneaker, e.g. : SHOE

“Sneaker” is a common name for an athletic shoe, one that is now used as everyday casual wear. The term “sneaker” is used widely across the US. Back in my homeland of Ireland, the terms “trainers” and “tennis shoes” are more common.

21 Fantasy creature : ORC

Orcs are mythical humanoid creatures that appear in the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien’s use of orcs, they have also been featured in other fantasy fiction as well as in fantasy video games.

24 Dangling ear part : LOBE

Despite what one might read on the Internet, humans don’t fall into two categories, one with free earlobes and one with attached earlobes. Free and attached earlobes are the extremes of a continuous range.

28 Small garden party? : GNOME

In English folklore, the fairy’s anti-hero is the diminutive gnome, an evil ugly character. Although the charastics of gnomes vary in folklore, typically they are described as diminutive humanoids who live underground. Over the centuries, the gnome has become more lovable. We now have garden gnomes, and even the Travelocity Gnome.

30 Class studying demand curves, for short : ECON

Economics (econ.)

31 “Star Wars” knights : JEDI

The Jedi are the good guys in the “Star Wars” series of movies. The most famous Jedi knights from the films are Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Alec Guinness, and later Ewan McGregor) and Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz). Well, they’re my favorites anyway …

38 Meat cut : LOIN

Loin is the tissue along the top of the ribs.

47 Dispensers of 20s : ATMS

The twenty-dollar bill is called a “Jackson” as it bears the portrait of President Andrew Jackson on the front side of the bill. Jackson’s image replaced that of President Grover Cleveland in 1928, and there doesn’t seem to be any record documenting just why that change was made. Over one-fifth of all notes printed today are 20-dollar bills. The average life of a Jackson is a little over 2 years, after which it is replaced due to wear.

49 Five Pillars faith : ISLAM

Followers of the Muslim tradition believe in the Five Pillars of Islam, five obligatory acts that underpin Muslim life. The Five Pillars are:

  1. The Islamic creed
  2. Daily prayer
  3. Almsgiving
  4. Fasting during the month of Ramadan
  5. The pilgrimage to Mecca (haj, hajj, hadj) once during a lifetime

50 __ Rica : COSTA

Costa Rica is a country in Central America that is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the South. Costa Rica is remarkable in my opinion, a leader on the world stage in many areas. It has been referred to as the “greenest” country in the world, the “happiest” country in the world, and has a highly educated populace. In 1949, the country unilaterally abolished its own army … permanently!

51 Preadolescent : TWEEN

The term “tween” is used to describe preadolescence, the years “between” 8 and 12 years of age.

53 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.

54 Nocturnal birds : OWLS

Much of an owl’s diet consists of small mammals. As a result, humans have used owls for centuries to control rodent populations, usually by placing a nest box for owls on a property. Despite the fact that owls and humans live together in relative harmony, owls have been known to attack humans from time to time. Celebrated English bird photographer Eric Hosking lost an eye when attacked by a tawny owl that he was trying to photograph. Hosking wrote a 1970 autobiography with the wry title “An Eye for a Bird”.

59 Kung __ chicken : PAO

Kung Pao chicken is a Sichuan stir-fry dish that includes chicken, peanuts, vegetables and chili peppers. The name “Kung Pao” is thought to come from a governor of the Sichuan province whose title was “Gongbao”, meaning “Palace Guardian”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 *Fictional swordfighter with a horse named Tornado : ZORRO
6 Weight : HEFT
10 Early aughts music buys : CDS
13 French bottled water brand : EVIAN
14 At any point : EVER
15 “Go bother someone else!” : SHOO!
16 Midterms and finals : TESTS
17 Largest city in Washoe County, Nevada : RENO
18 Hard precipitation : HAIL
19 “Rules __ rules” : ARE
20 *”Parasite” director : BONG JOON-HO
22 Leisurely walk : STROLL
25 __ football : ARENA
26 Promises of eventual repayment : IOUS
28 Health product chain : GNC
29 Holiday lead-in : EVE
31 *Abolitionist who was the first person executed for treason in the United States : JOHN BROWN
35 Smart __: know-it-all : ALEC
36 Bring to mind : EVOKE
37 Aussie animal, for short : ROO
38 Deceive : LIE TO
39 __ ex machina : DEUS
40 *Former MLB pitcher nicknamed “Flash” : TOM GORDON
42 Form 1099 org. : IRS
43 Org. concerned with toxins : EPA
45 Ohio border lake : ERIE
46 Completely stop : CEASE
48 Formally charge : INDICT
52 *Marvel supervillain who created deadly robot clones of himself : DOCTOR DOOM
56 Female pig : SOW
57 Masjid prayer leader : IMAM
58 Cut, as grass : MOWN
59 Throb : PULSE
61 Slippery fish : EELS
62 Not doing anything : IDLE
63 Quartz type : AGATE
64 Internet access option : DSL
65 Throw in the trash : TOSS
66 What one might say after figuring out what the answers to the starred clues have in common? : OH, MAN

Down

1 Greek Z’s : ZETAS
2 Not veiled : OVERT
3 Platform on a stage : RISER
4 Zodiac rodent : RAT
5 Add-__: extras : ONS
6 Day saver : HERO
7 Balanced : EVEN
8 __ shui : FENG
9 USC athlete : TROJAN
10 Did an uncanny impression of : CHANNELED
11 Slumped-shoulders response to a task : DO I HAVE TO?
12 Unaccompanied : SOLO
15 Sneaker, e.g. : SHOE
20 Indistinct memory : BLUR
21 Fantasy creature : ORC
23 Pig talk : OINKS
24 Dangling ear part : LOBE
27 “In a sense, I guess” : SORTA
28 Small garden party? : GNOME
30 Class studying demand curves, for short : ECON
31 “Star Wars” knights : JEDI
32 Gets past : OVERCOMES
33 In-home appointment : HOUSE CALL
34 “Wow, this rocks!” : WOO!
35 Broadcast : AIRED
38 Meat cut : LOIN
41 Not looking good : GRIM
43 That, in Spanish : ESO
44 Allow : PERMIT
47 Dispensers of 20s : ATMS
49 Five Pillars faith : ISLAM
50 __ Rica : COSTA
51 Preadolescent : TWEEN
52 Ran out of battery : DIED
53 Extinct bird : DODO
54 Nocturnal birds : OWLS
55 Singles : ONES
59 Kung __ chicken : PAO
60 “Blech” : UGH

11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 20 Dec 22, Tuesday”

  1. Fast solve for me today, but still three times longer than
    Bill’s solving time. No errors or lookups. When I finally
    realized the theme, I just filled in the blanks and came up
    with Bong Joon-Ho to finish.

  2. Quick run but a couple of errors.
    Had FENN instead of FENG.
    When I saw BONNJ at the beginning of 20A (before I filled in the rest), all I could think of was “Bon Jovi did a movie”?

    Never looked back.

    CHANNELED had me thinking twice but I guess it’s another definition.

  3. Couple notes:
    56A: A young pig , especially one newly weaned, is a shoat; a female pig that has not had a litter is called a gilt.

    64 A: DSL stands for Direct Subscriber Link, which generally uses an existing telephone line.

  4. Once again, done in by PPP’s. Got everything, even including the theme, except for FENG/BONGJOONHO so, not too bad. Interesting theme, mostly good puzzle.

  5. 5 mins 46 seconds, and no errors. An easy, non-pretentious, and guileless Erik Agard grid?? Just in time for Christmas? AND I edge Bill’s finishing time, too!!

    I can die happy now!

    1. @Allen Dickerson – WTG, quite a feather in your cap.

      I seem to remember you topped Bill maybe a month or two ago.

  6. 8:09 – no errors, lookups, or false starts.

    New: BONGJOONHO, TOMGORDON.

    Didn’t understand the theme until everything was filled in, and even then only saw that there are multiple o’s in each name; didn’t realize they were the only vowels.

    Not much else about this one.

  7. Tricky Tuesday for me; took 14:30 with no peeks or errors – kinda. I was stuck in the middle with some 6 or 7 blank squares and did a “check-grid”, with nothing wrong. So, looking at the theme reveal, I went with B and R for BLUR and put in O for TOM, which gave me …BROWN – Doh! And..that made GNOME obvious, which gave me the banner.

    That movie “Parasite”, I remember when that came out. I’m going to check that out; looks really good. Also Dr. Doom’s first name fits with the theme as well – Victor Von Doom. Don’t remember Tom Gordon…mostly in the AL.

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