LA Times Crossword 24 Dec 22, Saturday

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Constructed by: Juliana Tringali Golden & Kate Chin Park
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 10m 02s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Tech site with a “track prices” browser plug-in : C|NET

c|net is an excellent technology website. It started out in 1994 as a television network specializing in technology news. The host of “American Idol”, Ryan Seacrest, started off his career as host of a c|net show.

14 Rank and file : HOI POLLOI

“Hoi polloi” is a Greek term that translates literally as “the majority, the many”. In English, “hoi polloi” has come to mean “the masses” and is often used in a derogatory sense. Oddly, the term has also come to describe “the elite”.

17 Snoring cause : APNEA

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

20 Heist series title word : OCEAN’S

“Ocean’s 11” is a great film from 1960, starring Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean. The original storyline is updated for the excellent 2001 remake, with George Clooney playing the lead. In the 1960 movie, the love interest is a character called Beatrice Ocean, played by Angie Dickinson. In the 2001 version, the love interest gets a new name, Tess Ocean, and is played by Julia Roberts. The 2001 remake (titled “Ocean’s Eleven”, note the spelling) spawned two sequels: “Ocean’s Twelve” in 2004 and “Ocean’s Thirteen” in 2007.

25 “A plateau is the highest form of flattery,” e.g. : PUN

Here are some of my favorite puns:

  • A man died today when a pile of books fell on him. He only had his shelf to blame.
  • I hate negative numbers and will stop at nothing to avoid them.
  • I wasn’t going to get a brain transplant, but then I changed my mind.
  • I should have been sad when my flashlight batteries died, but I was delighted.

28 Chess player Krush who is the only American woman Grandmaster : IRINA

Irina Krush is a Ukrainian-born American chess Grandmaster. She started playing chess when she was five years old, just before she emigrated to the US with her family. In 1998, Krush became the youngest winner of the US Women’s Chess Championship, at age 14.

34 Stands to take a picture? : TRIPODS

A tripod is a three-legged stand that provides stable support for an object, often for a camera. A bipod is a similar two-legged support. Bipods are commonly used to support and steady rifles and automatic weapons. A monopod is a single-legged support. Sports photographers often use a monopod under a long, telephoto lens to reduce camera shake while allowing relatively free movement to capture the action.

37 Meryl’s “Mary Poppins Returns” role : TOPSY

In the movie “Mary Toppins Return”, Topsy is the title character’s cousin, and is played by Meryl Streep. Topsy’s full name is Tatiana Antanasia Cositori Topotrepolovsky.

39 State capital? : MONEY
40 Old Italian 39-Across : LIRA

The word “lira” is used in a number of countries for currency. “Lira” comes from the Latin for “pound” and is derived from the British pound sterling, the value of a Troy pound of silver. For example, the lira (plural “lire”) was the official currency of Italy before the country changed over to the euro in 2002.

42 Trojan leader? : TAU

The leading letter in the word “Trojan” is a letter T, equivalent to tau in the Greek alphabet.

Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, and the letter that gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

The ancient city of Troy was located on the west coast of modern-day Turkey. The Trojan War of Greek mythology was precipitated by the elopement of Helen, the wife of the king of Sparta, with Paris of Troy. The war itself largely consisted of a nine-year siege of Troy by the Greeks. We know most about the final year of that siege, as it is described extensively in Homer’s “Iliad”. The city eventually fell when the Greeks hid soldiers inside the Trojan Horse, which the Trojans brought inside the city’s walls. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts …

44 Doll featured in many unboxing videos on YouTube : LOL SURPRISE!

L.O.L. Surprise! Is a line of toy dolls that was introduced in 2016. The toy’s “gimmick/draw” is that it comes in many, many layers of packaging, all housed in a hollow, plastic ball. Apparently, kids love the challenge of the extended unwrapping and eventual discovery of the doll within. Videos of kids unwrapping L.O.L. Surprise! dolls are very, very popular on YouTube.

49 Grandly appointed : POSH

No one really knows the etymology of the word “posh”. The popular myth that “posh” is actually an acronym standing for “port out, starboard home” is completely untrue, and is a story that can actually be traced back to the 1968 movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. The myth is that wealthy British passengers traveling to and from India would book cabins on the port side for the outward journey and the starboard side for the home journey. This trick was supposedly designed to keep their cabins out of the direct sunlight.

50 Zoom appt. : MTG

Zoom is a videoconferencing app that became remarkably popular in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The market deemed Zoom to be the easiest to use of the free videoconferencing apps. I’ve been using it, but really prefer Google’s Meet offering …

54 Eucalyptus lover, familiarly : KOALA BEAR

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 …

Eucalyptus (plural “eucalypti”) is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs that is particularly widespread in Australia. The species known as mountain ash or swamp gum is the tallest flowering plant in the world, with the tallest example located in Tasmania and standing at over 325 feet tall.

56 Stadium strata : TIERS

The Greek word “stadion” was a measure of length, about 600 feet. The name “stadion” then came to be used for a running track of that length. That “running track” meaning led to our contemporary term “stadium” (plural “stadia”).

57 Tragic dancer of French literature : ESMERALDA

The title character in Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” is Quasimodo, the hunch-backed bell-ringer . Quasimodo falls for the beautiful Roma girl Esmeralda, and eventually rescues her just before she is due to be hanged. He carries Esmeralda into Notre-Dame crying out “Sanctuary!” There is some recent evidence that a hunchbacked stone carver, working at Notre-Dame at the same time Hugo was alive, may have been the inspiration for Quasimodo the bell-ringer.

58 One could be a lot : ACRE

Our use of the word “lot” to describe a parcel of land dates back to the 1630s when ownership of the best property in new settlements was decided by castings “lots”.

59 Film starring Himesh Patel as the only person in the world who remembers the Beatles : YESTERDAY

“Yesterday” is a 2019 musical film written by Richard Curtis and directed by Danny Boyle. Star of the movie is English actor Himesh Patel. He plays a struggling musician who wakes up one morning in a world where he is the only person who has heard of the Beatles. Patel starts recording all the Beatles hits, taking credit for writing them. I love this film, and think it is a must-see movie for fans of the Beatles …

Down

2 “No regrets” initialism : YOLO

You only live once (YOLO)

4 Prefix with -phenomenalism : EPI-

Epiphenomenalism is a doctrine holding that physical events in the body are the sole cause of mental events. For example, this doctrine would explain the elevated heartbeat experienced in a fight-or-flight event as the result of biochemical secretions from the brain and nervous system, rather than the experience of fear or excitement.

5 Explorer trained at the Gagarin Center in Star City : COSMONAUT

Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space when his spacecraft Vostok I made a single orbit of the Earth in 1961. Sadly, Gagarin died only seven years later in a plane crash.

“Star City” is the name given to the area surrounding and including the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Russia. It is located just 20 km north of Moscow. During the Soviet Era, Star City was treated as a top-secret military installation. Since the Apollo-Soyuz Project of the mid-seventies, NASA has had access to at least parts of the facility, and has housing there for American astronauts.

6 Metallic mixture : ALLOY

An alloy is a mixture of metals, or a mixture of metal with some other element, that behaves like a metal. Alloys are produced as perhaps cheaper alternatives to pure metals, or as alternatives that have enhanced metallurgical properties. Common examples of alloys are steel, solder, brass, pewter and bronze.

10 Piccata need : CAPERS

The seasoning we know as “capers” are the edible flower buds of the caper bush, also known as Flinders rose. By the time we get them in a jar, the buds have been pickled and salted. I’m not a huge fan of capers …

The dish named “piccata” originated in Italy, with the traditional meat used being veal. Whatever meat used is sliced and flattened with a tenderizer, seasoned, dredged in flour and browned in a pan. The juices from the pan are the base for the sauce, to which are added lemon juice, white wine, shallots, capers and butter.

11 Singer who said, “Sometimes I sound like gravel, and sometimes I sound like coffee and cream” : NINA SIMONE

“Nina Simone” was the stage name of Eunice Waymon. Simone was very much associated with jazz music, although she really wanted to be a classical musician early in her career. She was inspired by a love for the music of Bach.

13 Oolong and pu-erh : TEAS

The name for the Chinese tea called “oolong” translates into English as “black dragon” or “dark dragon”.

Pu’er (also “pu-erh”) is a fermented tea associated with the Yunnan Province in southwest China. A fermented tea (or “dark tea”) is one that has undergone controlled microbial fermentation after the leaves have been dried and rolled, in order to achieve a desired flavor.

15 Home of the Baylor Bears : WACO

Baylor is a private Baptist university in Waco, Texas that was founded in 1845, making it the oldest continuously-operating university in the state. Baylor is named for US Congressman and Baptist minister Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor, who co-founded the school. The list of Baylor’s past presidents includes Ken Starr, the independent counsel whose investigation led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

21 Ranks in judo : DANS

Judo is a martial art from Japan that developed relatively recently, in 1882. The name “judo” translates as “gentle way”. Practitioners of judo proceed through a series of proficiency grades known as the kyu-dan system. At each progression, a different colored belt is awarded.

24 Grooming aid that might gather dust : LINT ROLLER

“Lint”, meaning “fluff”, is one of those terms that I had to learn when I moved to the US. We call the same thing “fuzz” on the other side of the Atlantic.

27 Site with artisan shops : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

28 Onetime macOS scheduling app : ICAL

Apple’s personal calendar app is known as “Calendar”. It runs on both the macOS desktop and iOS mobile operating systems. Prior to 2012, the mac version of the app went by the name “iCal”.

29 Stock phrase : AT PAR

Stocks and other financial vehicles may be sold “at par”, meaning at the original price, neither discounted nor at a premium.

33 Flower sacred in Buddhism and Hinduism : LOTUS

The roots of the lotus plant penetrate into the bed of a lake or river, while the leaves float on the water’s surface. This behavior led to the use of the lotus as a symbol in the Buddhist tradition, as a symbol of purity of the body, speech and mind. The idea is that the lotus flower represents the pure body, speech and mind floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire.

35 Dish whose name means “to slice” in Hawaiian : POKE

Poke is a Native-Hawaiian dish featuring diced raw fish. “Poke” is a Hawaiian word meaning “to slice”.

50 Canasta play : MELD

The card game canasta originated in Uruguay apparently, with “canasta” being the Spanish word for “basket”. In the rummy-like game, a meld of seven cards or more is called a canasta.

55 Setting for many a joke : BAR

Seeing as I’m one of three brothers, I have a favorite “So a guy walks into a bar” joke:

So a guy walks into a bar and orders three beers.

The bartender brings him the three beers, and the man proceeds to alternately sip one, then the other, then the third, until they’re gone. He then orders three more and the bartender says, “Sir, I know you like them cold, so you can start with one, and I’ll bring you a fresh one as soon as you’re low.” The man says, “You don’t understand. I have two brothers, one in Australia and one in Ireland. We made a vow to each other that every Saturday night, we’d still drink together. So right now, my brothers have three beers, too, and we’re drinking together.” The bartender thinks it’s a wonderful tradition, and every week he sets up the guy’s three beers. Then one week, the man comes in and orders only two. He drinks them and then orders two more. The bartender says sadly, “Knowing your tradition, I’d just like to just say that I’m sorry you’ve lost a brother.”

The man replies, “Oh, my brothers are fine — I just quit drinking.”

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Confines, theatrically : TYPECASTS
10 Tech site with a “track prices” browser plug-in : C|NET
14 Rank and file : HOI POLLOI
15 Give up : WAIVE
16 “I’m sunk!” : ALL IS LOST!
17 Snoring cause : APNEA
18 Misery : WOE
19 Both parents, in some families : MOMS
20 Heist series title word : OCEAN’S
21 “Let me have it” : DO YOUR WORST
23 Plot : PLAN
25 “A plateau is the highest form of flattery,” e.g. : PUN
26 Father : SIRE
28 Chess player Krush who is the only American woman Grandmaster : IRINA
29 Enviable trait : ASSET
31 “Wipe your paws” spot : MAT
32 Turn to : CONSULT
34 Stands to take a picture? : TRIPODS
36 Back on board : AFT
37 Meryl’s “Mary Poppins Returns” role : TOPSY
39 State capital? : MONEY
40 Old Italian 39-Across : LIRA
42 Trojan leader? : TAU
43 Scrapes (by) : EKES
44 Doll featured in many unboxing videos on YouTube : LOL SURPRISE!
48 “We’re dying to know!” : TELL US!
49 Grandly appointed : POSH
50 Zoom appt. : MTG
53 “Perfect!” : A-PLUS!
54 Eucalyptus lover, familiarly : KOALA BEAR
56 Stadium strata : TIERS
57 Tragic dancer of French literature : ESMERALDA
58 One could be a lot : ACRE
59 Film starring Himesh Patel as the only person in the world who remembers the Beatles : YESTERDAY

Down

1 Soften : THAW
2 “No regrets” initialism : YOLO
3 Nap on a carpet, e.g. : PILE
4 Prefix with -phenomenalism : EPI-
5 Explorer trained at the Gagarin Center in Star City : COSMONAUT
6 Metallic mixture : ALLOY
7 Replay tech : SLO-MO
8 Tough calls : TOSS-UPS
9 Go unused : SIT
10 Piccata need : CAPERS
11 Singer who said, “Sometimes I sound like gravel, and sometimes I sound like coffee and cream” : NINA SIMONE
12 Foundation of a barter system : EVEN TRADES
13 Oolong and pu-erh : TEAS
15 Home of the Baylor Bears : WACO
20 Title holder : OWNER
21 Ranks in judo : DANS
22 Out of shape : RUSTY
23 Social image? : PROFILE PIC
24 Grooming aid that might gather dust : LINT ROLLER
27 Site with artisan shops : ETSY
28 Onetime macOS scheduling app : ICAL
29 Stock phrase : AT PAR
30 Home for the holidays? : TIME-SHARE
33 Flower sacred in Buddhism and Hinduism : LOTUS
35 Dish whose name means “to slice” in Hawaiian : POKE
38 Take as a given : SUPPOSE
41 Draw : ALLURE
45 Root (out) : SUSS
46 Wanders : ROAMS
47 Dot on a map : ISLET
48 “Cheerio!” : TA-TA!
50 Canasta play : MELD
51 “See what I did there?” : TADA!
52 Overcast : GRAY
54 Solution : KEY
55 Setting for many a joke : BAR

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 24 Dec 22, Saturday”

  1. About 20 minutes today. No errors

    Didn’t know NINA SIMONE or IRINA KRUSH. read up on both of them.

    IRINA was born in Odesa Ukraine. Parents emigrated in late 80’s. What a turn of events!

    NINA had quite the storied life. Things movies are made of.

    I think the groaner of the day is TROJAN leader… aarrggh.

  2. Horrible for me again. Lol surprise is a doll ???
    Replay tech to me is a technician. Apparently here tech is short for technique. I don’t like that. 🙂
    Did not know Esmeralda or Irina or dans.
    I thought Cnet was a tv news station. What do I know; I don’t watch tv.
    Never heard anyone say “do your worst.”
    Oh well, it’s Saturday.

  3. 20:03, no errors. Agree that groaner of the day is TAU. After ruling out TEE I was thinking that maybe the unofficial mascot of USC is TOM or TED before finally getting to the right answer. And, for future reference, I now know that Tommy Trojan is the name of the statue on USC’s campus.

  4. 16 mins, 52 sec and needed Check Grid to ferret out one mistype (affecting two answers). This was one of the toughest grids of the year (that was realistically solvable), and I felt a sense of accomplishment to even fill it in!!!

  5. 15:02 – no errors or lookups. False start: PANDABEAR>KOALABEAR (I know, pandas eat bamboo; but neither koala nor panda is a bear).

    New: IRINA Krush (another reason to admire Ukrainians), LOLSURPRISE, EPIphenomenalism (which I guess is an interesting philosophical exercise, but I can’t see how “mental events” come about solely from some physical aspect such as nervous system secretions; because not all secretions are the result of a physical contact).

  6. Slightly too tough for me today; took 34:27 with 6 errors. I had about 90% filled and had to do a “check-grid” which uncovered 4 errors. Fixed those: tCAL and proPOSE. And, then I needed one more “check-grid” to help fix TAU/AT PAR…which I really should’ve been able to get.

    Slight sugar overload from watching a LOL SURPRISE video. Interesting reading up about IRINA Krush, who I vaguely remember reading about.

    Happy Holidays to everyone and a big thank you to Bill for all the hard work he puts in on this site.

  7. My puzzle seemed to have some misprints. Several of the clues had strange characters, letters with dots on them, a letter with TM above and to the right of it before and after the clues. It was very confusing! I thought it was some part of the puzzle. I kept looking for some pattern to it. No one else has mentioned it so I guess it was just in my newspaper.

  8. My puzzle seemed to have some misprints. Several of the clues had strange characters, letters with dots on them, a letter with TM above and to the right of it before and after the clues. It was very confusing! I thought it was some part of the puzzle. I kept looking for some pattern to it. No one else has mentioned it so I guess it was just in my newspaper.

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