LA Times Crossword 25 Dec 22, Sunday

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Constructed by: Gary Larson & Amy Ensz
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme: Tis the Season

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted with reference to the Christmas SEASON. Merry Christmas, everyone!

  • 23A Snow-covered home in many Hallmark Christmas greetings? : HOUSE OF CARDS
  • 28A Task of untangling last year’s outdoor Christmas decorations? : LIGHT DUTY
  • 41A Rude way to describe shopping mall Santas? : SUBORDINATE CLAUSES
  • 66A Like a decorated Christmas tree, usually? : BALL BEARING
  • 87A Like the contents of a gift-wrapped pet carrier, hopefully? : LIVING IN THE PRESENT
  • 103A Career preparing gifts for those on Santa’s “naughty” list? : COAL FIELD
  • 110A Portraying Comet’s sleigh-pulling partner in the Christmas pageant? : PLAYING CUPID

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

Bill’s time: 15m 58s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “God bless us, __ one!” : EVERY

“Tiny Tim” is the nickname of Timothy Cratchit, a character in the Charles Dickens novella “A Christmas Carol”. Tiny Tim is the son of Ebenezer Scrooge’s underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit, and is a sickly child. Famously, the child utters the words “God bless us, every one!” at Christmas dinner, which words are repeated by the author at the end of the story.

6 Cola choice : PEPSI

The Pepsi-Cola formulation was developed by one Caleb Bradham who made the drink at home and sold it as Brad’s Drink. Bradham’s aim was to provide a drink that was pleasant to taste, that would aid digestion and boost energy. Included in the formula were pepsin (a digestive enzyme) and kola nuts. These two ingredients inspired the brand name Pepsi-Cola. That name was shortened to just “Pepsi” in 1961.

11 __ pudding: Christmas treat : PLUM

Christmas pudding is a traditional holiday dish served mainly in Britain and Ireland. It is also referred to as plum pudding, even though there aren’t any plums included in the list of ingredients. “Plums” was a term that used to mean “raisins”, which are included. One of the appetizing ingredients is suet, animal fat. There’s also a lot of alcohol, which allows the pudding to be aged for months if desired. I must admit, I love Christmas pudding, soaked in brandy that’s set alight. And a little brandy butter on the side …

15 Org. with Falcons and Ravens : NFL

The Atlanta Falcons joined the NFL in 1965. The team name was suggested by a schoolteacher called Miss Julia Elliott. Elliot suggested that “the Falcon is proud and dignified, with great courage and fight. It never drops its prey. It is deadly and has a great sporting tradition.”

The name of the Baltimore Ravens football team has a literary derivation. Baltimore was the home of the writer Edgar Allan Poe, and so the team took its moniker from his most famous poem, “The Raven”. The name was selected in a fan contest. Baltimore’s mascot is a raven named Poe. Prior to the 2008 season, the Raven’s had a trio of avian mascots: Edgar, Allan and Poe.

18 Stimulates, as curiosity : PIQUES

The words “whet” and “pique” can both be used in the sense of sharpening, or awakening one’s interest or desire.

20 Mr. T’s outfit : A-TEAM

“The A-Team” is an action television series that originally ran in the eighties. The A-Team was a group of ex-US special forces personnel who became mercenaries. Star of the show was Hollywood actor George Peppard (as “Hannibal” Smith), ably assisted by Mr. T (as “B.A.” Baracus) and Robert Vaughn (as Hunt Stockwell).

Mr. T’s real name is Laurence Tero Tureaud. Mr. T is famous for many things, including the wearing of excessive amounts of jewelry. He started this habit when he was working as a bouncer, wearing jewelry items that had been left behind by customers at a nightclub so that the items might be recognized and claimed. It was also as a bouncer that he adopted the name Mr. T. His catch phrase comes from the movie “Rocky III”. In the film, before he goes up against Rocky Balboa, Mr. T says, “No, I don’t hate Balboa, but I pity the fool”. He parlayed that line into quite a bit of success. He had a reality TV show called “I Pity the Fool”, and produced a motivational video called “Be Somebody … or Be Somebody’s Fool!”.

22 ISP pioneer : AOL

AOL was a leading Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the 1980s and 1990s. The company does still provide dial-up access to the Internet for some subscribers, but most users now access AOL using faster, non-AOL ISPs.

23 Snow-covered home in many Hallmark Christmas greetings? : HOUSE OF CARDS

Hallmark produces more greeting cards in the US than any other company. The company was started by Joyce Clyde Hall in 1910, and by 1915 was known as Hall Brothers after his brother Rollie joined the enterprise. Rollie invented what we know today as “wrapping paper”, displacing the traditional use of colored tissue paper for wrapping gifts. The company took on the name “Hallmark” in 1928, taking the term for the symbol used by goldsmiths in London in the 1500s.

The hit TV show “House of Cards” is a political drama that highlights ruthless manipulation within the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. The show is an adaptation of a BBC miniseries of the same name, which in turn is based on a novel by Michael Dobbs.

30 “Sounder” Best Actress Oscar nominee Cicely : TYSON

Cicely Tyson was an actress whose career really took off after her performance in the 1972 film “Sounder”, for which she received an Oscar nomination. In the outstanding mini-series “Roots”, she played the role of Binta, Kunta Kinte’s mother back in his homeland of Gambia. More recently, she played Analease Keating’s mother on the show “How to Get Away with Murder”. Tyson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2016. Sadly, she passed away in 2021 at the age of 96 years.

“Sounder” is a 1972 big-screen adaptation of a 1969 novel of the same name by William H. Armstrong. Lead actors Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield play an African-American couple sharecropping in the Deep South during the Great Depression.

34 Dog-__ : EARED

The folded-down corner of the page of a book, a temporary placeholder, is known as a “dog-ear”. I suppose that’s because it looks like the ear of a dog …

35 Ryder Cup org. : PGA

The Ryder Cup trophy was donated to the sport of golf by Samuel Ryder, an English entrepreneur. Ryder made his money selling garden seeds in small packets. He only took up golf when he was in his fifties but became quite the enthusiast and eventually donated the trophy in 1927, when it was valued at 100 guineas. The Ryder Cup is a biennial tournament played between teams from the US and Europe.

37 Loudness measure : DECIBEL

In the world of acoustics, one bel is equal to ten decibels (dBs). The bel is named in honor of the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell.

41 Rude way to describe shopping mall Santas? : SUBORDINATE CLAUSES

The name “Santa Claus” is American English, and came into the language as a phonetic variant of “Sinterklaas”, the Dutch for “Saint Nicholas”.

49 Air France hub : ORLY

Orly is a town on the outskirts of Paris, to the south of the city. It is home to the Paris-Orly Airport, the second busiest international airport for the city after the more recently built Charles de Gaulle Airport. That said, Orly is home to more domestic flights than Charles de Gaulle.

Air France is my favorite airline (okay … after Aer Lingus, the Irish airline). I used to fly Air France a lot (I lived in France for a while), but haven’t done so since the company merged with KLM in 2004. Back in 2008, Air France-KLM was the world’s largest airline in terms of revenue.

50 Wok, for one : PAN

“Wok” is a Cantonese word, and is the name for the frying pan now used in many Asian cuisines.

55 TV series based on a Coen brothers film : FARGO

“Fargo” is one of my favorite films of all time, and stars perhaps my favorite actress, Frances McDormand. “Fargo” was directed by the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan. Frances McDormand is Joel’s wife.

57 Noted second-place finisher : HARE

“The Tortoise and the Hare” is perhaps the most famous fable attributed to Aesop. The cocky hare takes a nap during a race against the tortoise, and the tortoise sneaks past the finish line for the win while his speedier friend is sleeping.

58 Dodger great Reese : PEE WEE

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.

61 Slender stemware : FLUTE

The narrow bowl of a champagne flute is usually preferred over the wide bowl of a champagne coupe as the smaller surface area of the wine helps retain its carbonation.

63 “Waterloo” quartet : ABBA

“Waterloo” is the song that effectively launched the astounding career of Swedish band ABBA. They performed “Waterloo” in 1974 as the Swedish entry in the annual Eurovision Song Contest, and walked away with the competition (I remember it well!). The contest has been running since 1956, and “Waterloo” was chosen (in 2005) as the best song in the competition’s history.

66 Like a decorated Christmas tree, usually? : BALL BEARING

The custom of decorating trees at Christmas seems to have originated in Renaissance Germany. Those first trees were placed in guildhalls and were decorated with sweets and candy for the apprentices and children. After the Protestant Reformation, the Christmas tree became an alternative in Protestant homes for the Roman Catholic Christmas cribs. The Christmas tree tradition was imported into Britain by the royal family because of its German heritage. That tradition spread from Britain into North America.

69 Word with wind and Wing : WEST …

The West Wing of the White House Complex is also known as the Executive Office Building, and houses the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room and the Situation Room. The West Wing was constructed at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt to house his staff, leaving the residence to his family alone. President William Howard Taft had the West Wing expanded, and it was he who created the first Oval Office built. President Herbert Hoover had the West Wing rebuilt after it was significantly damaged in a fire. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had the West Wing redesigned to its current layout, including the Oval Office that is used today.

70 Armoire part : DOOR

“Armoire” is the French word for “wardrobe”, and is used in English for a standing closet that stores clothes.

71 Oscar winner Hunt : HELEN

Helen Hunt is a very talented actress who first came to national attention playing opposite Paul Reiser in TV’s hit sitcom “Mad About You”. Hunt then starred in some major films including “As Good as It Gets” (for which she won the Best Actress Oscar), “Twister”, “Cast Away”, “What Women Want” and more recently “The Sessions”. Offscreen, Hunt was married for a while to Hank Azaria, a favorite actor of mine.

75 Parlor piece : DIVAN

Divans are essentially couches without backs or arms. The design originated in the Middle East, where the couches were commonly found lining the walls of an office that was known as a “divan” or “diwan” meaning “government office”.

Back in the early 13th century, a “parlur” was a window through which someone could confess to a priest, and also a room in a monastery that was used by the monks for conversations with visitors. The term “parlur” arose from the French “parler” meaning “to speak”. Today, we sit in the “parlor” to enjoy our “conversations”.

82 Meyers of late-night TV : SETH

Seth Meyers is an actor and comedian who is perhaps best-known for his appearances on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), for which program he served as head writer. Meyers now hosts his own late night talk show on NBC.

86 British fish dish : EEL PIE

Eel pie is a traditional dish associated with the working classes in London, England especially during the Victorian era. Eel was chosen as an ingredient as it was one of the few fish that could live in the polluted River Thames.

94 Perfect example : EPITOME

The more common meaning of “epitome” is “perfect example of a group, quality, type”. An epitome is also an abstract or summary of a book or article.

95 Game console letters : NES

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was sold in North America from 1985 to 1995. It was the biggest selling gaming console of the era. Nintendo replaced the NES with Wii, which is also the biggest-selling game console in the world.

103 Career preparing gifts for those on Santa’s “naughty” list? : COAL FIELD

Apparently, the tradition of putting coal in the Christmas stocking of a poorly-behaved child comes simply from the proximity of the stocking (hanging on the fireplace) to a source of coal!

108 Actress Basinger : KIM

Kim Basinger’s big break in movies came when she played a Bond girl, Domino Petachi in “Never Say Never Again” opposite Sean Connery. Basinger’s more famous roles were in “L.A. Confidential”, “9½ Weeks” and “8 Mile”. My personal favorite of her films though was the thriller “Cellular”, released in 2004.

110 Portraying Comet’s sleigh-pulling partner in the Christmas pageant? : PLAYING CUPID

We get the names for Santa’s reindeer from the famous 1823 poem called “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, although we’ve modified a couple of the names over the years. The full list is:

  • Dasher
  • Dancer
  • Prancer
  • Vixen
  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • Donder (originally “Dunder”, and now often “Donner”)
  • Blitzen (originally “Blixem”)

Rudolph was added to the list by retailer Montgomery Ward, would you believe? The store commissioned Robert L. May to create a booklet that could be handed out to children around Christmas in 1939, and May introduced us to a new friend for Santa, namely Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

117 Wonderland host who says, “It’s always tea-time” : HATTER

In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, the Mad Hatter makes his first appearance in a chapter called “A Mad Tea-Party”. This event is usually described as “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”, even though the Mad Hatter was just a guest. The host was the March Hare. In fact, the phrase “Mad Hatter” doesn’t appear anywhere in Lewis Carroll’s novel, although the character, the Hatter (and sometimes “Hatta”), is described as “mad”.

118 Tres menos uno : DOS

In Spanish, “tres menos uno” (three minus one) is “dos” (two).

119 “NASCAR on NBC” analyst Earnhardt Jr. : DALE

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a professional stock car driver. Dale comes from good “stock car racing stock”. His father Dale Earnhardt Sr. was a member of the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Dale Jr.’s grandfather was Ralph Earnhardt, who in 1998 was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.

120 Figures (out) : DOPES

Apparently, “to dope out” is a slang term meaning “to figure out, infer from available information”. Our use of the word “dope” to mean “inside information” probably comes from horse racing. The idea is that a bettor might have information about which horse has been drugged (doped) to influence its performance.

121 Flowering shrub, in gardener slang : RHODY

Rhododendron is a genus of woody plants that usually have showy flowers. The rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal, where the bloom is also considered edible.

Down

1 NT book before Philippians : EPH

It seems that the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians (Eph.) is now regarded by scholars as written “in the style of Paul”, by someone who was influenced by Paul’s thought.

2 Baroque stringed instrument : VIOL

The viola da gamba (also called simply “viol”) is a bass instrument in what is known as the viol family, with a tonal range that about matches that of the modern-day cello. It is the second largest of all the viols, so it is played resting on the floor between the legs. In fact, “viola da gamba” is Italian translating into “viol for the leg”.

5 Throws away quickly, in slang : YEETS

In contemporary slang, to yeet is to throw away, discard. “To yeet” usually implies the use of force and a general disregard for what is being discarded. As in, I really want to yeet the word “yeet” …

6 Busy orgs. during campaigns : PACS

A political action committee (PAC) is a private group that works to influence the outcome of a particular election or group of elections. Any group becomes a PAC by law when it receives or spends more than $1,000 for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that PACS that did not make direct contributions to candidates or parties could accept unlimited contributions. These “independent, expenditure-only committees” are commonly referred to as “super PACs”.

7 Coup d’__ : ETAT

A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss-German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”. We also use the abbreviated “coup” to mean “sudden, brilliant and successful act”.

10 Online chats, briefly : IMS

Instant message (IM)

11 “Exile in Guyville” singer Liz : PHAIR

Liz Phair is a rock singer from New Haven, Connecticut. Phair started out in the industry releasing homemade tapes under the name Girly Sound.

14 __ Jack cheese : MONTEREY

What we now call Monterey Jack cheese was originally made by Franciscan friars in Monterey, California in the 19th century. In the 1800s, a powerful landowner called David Jack started to make the same cheese as the friars in his own dairy, and marketed it as “Jack’s Cheese” and later “Monterey Jack”.

17 London insurance giant : LLOYD’S

Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, members of the shipping industry community were in the habit of meeting regularly in Lloyd’s Coffee House in London, an establishment owned by one Edward Lloyd. The coffee house’s owner catered to his clientele by providing regular news about the shipping industry. The shipping merchants discussed deals among themselves, forming syndicates that insured vessels and cargo, for each other and for others in the business. The members of the group eventually relocated to a permanent headquarters, but maintained the name “Society of Lloyd’s”, which exists to this day.

24 Italian fashion house known for leather goods : FENDI

Fendi is an Italian fashion house that was founded in 1925 by Adele Casagrande. Fendi started out as a fur and leather shop in Rome, and these days is famous for its line of handbags.

31 “La Dolce __” : VITA

The title of the celebrated 1960 Federico Fellini film “La Dolce Vita” translates from Italian as “The Good Life”. There is a character in the film called Paparazzo who is a news photographer. It is this character who gives us our word “Paparazzi”, a term used for photographers who make careers out of taking candid shots of celebrities.

33 Min. fraction : SEC

We use base-10, the decimal system for our numbers. Base-60, the sexagesimal system, was used by the ancient Babylonians. This ancient usage gives rise to our 60 seconds in a minute, and 360 (6 x 60) degrees in a circle.

35 Free TV spots : PSAS

Public service announcement (PSA)

36 Noisy shorebird : GULL

Gulls are a family of seabirds that is most closely related to terns. Some species of gull can be quite clever. For example, they can reportedly use pieces of bread as bait to catch goldfish in ponds. Others can be quite fearless, and have been known to land on the backs of whales and peck out pieces of flesh.

39 Mercury or Saturn : CAR

The Mercury brand of car was made by Ford from 1938 until 2011. Mercury was introduced by Henry Ford’s son Edsel Ford. Mercury vehicles were positioned as being more luxurious that the regular Ford models, and more economical than Ford’s high-end Lincoln models.

40 Norwegian capital : OSLO

The Norwegian capital of Oslo is located at the northern end of a fjord known as Oslofjord. The fjord is home to 40 islands that lie within the city’s limits. Oslo also has 343 lakes.

42 Words in a cocktail recipe : ONE PART

Our word “cocktail” first appeared in the early 1800s. The exact origin of the term is not clear, but it is thought to be a corruption of the French word “coquetier” meaning “egg cup”, a container that was used at that time for serving mixed drinks.

43 Nice dream? : REVE

The French city of Nice is on the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of the country. Although Nice is only the fifth most populous city in France, it is home to the busiest airport outside of Paris. That’s because of all the tourists flocking to the French Riviera. Something described as “à la niçoise” is “of Nice”.

44 Geeky type : DWEEB

“Dweeb” is relatively recent American slang that came out of college life in the late sixties. Dweeb, squarepants, nerd; they’re all not-nice terms that mean the same thing, i.e. someone excessively studious and socially inept.

45 __ valve: heart part : AORTIC

The aortic valve is one of the heart’s four valves. It is located between the left ventricle and the aorta, and allows blood to flow out from the left ventricle into the aorta, and not the other way.

51 War god : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

52 Small amphibian : NEWT

Newts wouldn’t be my favorite animals. They are found all over the world living on land or in water depending on the species, but always associated with water even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start off as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo another metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition takes place then, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.

54 African language : SWAHILI

Swahili is one of the many Bantu languages spoken in Africa. There are hundreds of Bantu languages, with most being spoken in central, east and southern Africa. The most commonly spoken Bantu language is Swahili, with Zulu coming in second.

55 Ala. neighbor : FLA

What we know as the US state of Florida, was named by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who led the first Europeans to the area in 1513. The actual name he used was “La Florida”, Spanish for “the Flowery (Land)”.

57 “The Time Machine” author : HG WELLS

In the 1895 novella by H. G. Wells titled “The Time Machine”, the author never actually names the antagonist, and refers to him as “the Time Traveller”. In the famous 1960 movie adaption, also called “The Time Machine”, Rod Taylor plays the Time Traveller, and is given the name “George”. Perceptive viewers of the movie might catch sight of a plaque on the side of the time machine that elaborates on the Time Traveller’s name, naming him “H. George Wells”, a homage to the author.

59 Telepathic girl in “Stranger Things” : ELEVEN

“Stranger Things” is a sci-fi horror TV show made for Netflix that aired its first season in 2016. I don’t do horror, and so haven’t seen it …

60 Jazz great Fitzgerald : ELLA

Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

63 “House of Gucci” actor Driver : ADAM

Adam Driver is an actor perhaps best known to TV audiences for playing Adam Sackler on the show “Girls” that airs on HBO. Driver’s movie career got a huge boost in 2015 when he played villain Kylo Ren in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.

“House of Gucci” is an engrossing 2021 film based on a 2001 book “The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed” by Sara Gay Forden. The central characters are Maurizio Gucci, heir to a 50% interest in the Gucci fashion house, and Patrizia Reggiani, who eventually married and divorced Maurizio, before hiring a hitman to kill her ex-husband. The leads are played by Adam Driver and Lady Gaga.

64 “The Book of __ Fett” : BOBA

Boba Fett is one of the principal bad guys in the “Star Wars” universe. He appears in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” and in “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”. A young version of Boba Fett also appears in “Episode II: Attack of the Clones”.

67 Actor Kingsley : BEN

English actor Ben Kingsley won his Best Actor Oscar for playing the title role in the 1982 epic biographical film “Gandhi”. Kingsley was knighted in 2002, so if you meet him you should address him as “Sir Ben” …

68 “The Whole Woman” writer Germaine : GREER

Germaine Greer is a very outspoken Australian feminist who was catapulted into the limelight with her runaway bestseller “The Female Eunuch”, first published in 1970. Greer has lived in the UK for many years, and I see her a lot on British television news/panel shows. Apparently, she also made what I would have thought is an odd choice for her, to appear on the UK version of “Celebrity Big Brother”. Mind you, she walked out of the house after just five days.

73 Peter Fonda title role : ULEE

“Ulee’s Gold” is a highly respected film from 1997 in which Peter Fonda plays the title role of Ulee. Ulee’s “gold” is the honey that Ulysses “Ulee” Jackson produces. It is a favorite role for Peter Fonda and he has shared that playing Ulee brought to mind his father Henry Fonda, who himself kept a couple of hives. So if you see Peter Fonda in “Ulee’s Gold” you’re witnessing some characteristics that Peter saw in his father.

75 Crockett of folklore : DAVY

Davy Crockett is often referred to as “King of the Wild Frontier”. He was from East Tennessee, and after serving in the local militia he entered politics and represented his state in the US House of Representatives from 1827 to 1831. Crockett disapproved of many of the policies of President Andrew Jackson, which led to his defeat in the 1834 election for the House. The defeat prompted Crockett to leave Tennessee for Texas. Famously, he died there in 1836 at the Battle of the Alamo.

78 Sangria ingredient : WINE

Sangria is a red wine punch that is usually associated with Portugal and Spain. Recipes for sangria vary, but almost all include a robust red wine, sliced fruit, something sweet (e.g. orange juice, sugar), a spirit (e.g. brandy, triple sec), carbonated water or perhaps 7up, and ice. The drink is named for its color, as “sangre” is Spanish for “blood”.

87 “Dreamgirls” actress Sharon : LEAL

Actress Sharon Leal began her acting career with a regular appearance on the daytime soap “Guiding Light”. She then landed the role of Mimi in a touring production of the rock musical “Rent”. In 2006, she co-starred as one of the title characters in the 2006 movie “Dreamgirls”.

The Broadway musical “Dreamgirls” follows the lives of a fictional female singing trio named “The Dreams”. The stage musical was adapted for the big screen in a 2006 film of the same name starring Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé Knowles and Anika Noni Rose as the trio.

88 Fix, as a horse : GELD

To geld is to castrate a male animal. “Geld” comes from the Old Norse word “gelda” meaning “castrate”.

89 Brewery letters : IPA

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

90 Praline nut : PECAN

A praline is a candy made out of nuts and sugar syrup. The first pralines were made in France in the 17th century for an industrialist named Marshal du Plessis-Praslin, who gave his name to the confection.

91 Musical set in Oz : WICKED

“Wicked” (more completely, “Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz”) is a 2003 stage musical that is a retelling of the L. Frank Baum novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The musical is based on a 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire” called “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”.

93 Irish poet Heaney : SEAMUS

Seamus Heaney is an Irish poet and writer. I like Heaney’s response when asked if there was any figure in popular culture who aroused interest in poetry and lyrics. 64-year-old Heaney answered:

There is this guy Eminem. He has created a sense of what is possible. He has sent a voltage around a generation. He has done this not just through his subversive attitude but also his verbal energy.

101 Aptly named Renault : LE CAR

French automaker Renault made the “mini-like” Renault 5 and sold it as the Renault Le Car in North America. My Dad had a Renault 5 in Ireland, back in the day …

104 Superstore with wordless assembly instructions : IKEA

The IKEA furniture chain was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym standing for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

105 Information unit : 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.

106 Baloney : LIES

“Baloney” is an American English variant of “Bologna” as in the sausage. The term came to be used to mean “nonsense” in the 1920s. “Baloney” was popularized in the 1930s by New York Governor Alfred E. Smith as he used the term quite often.

107 Seven up, e.g. : TIED

7-7

110 Letters from school : PHD

“Ph.D.” is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for a PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.

111 Asian language : LAO

Lao, the language of Laos, does not use spaces between words (or periods!), although this is apparently changing. Spaces are used between sentences and clauses.

112 Egyptian viper : ASP

The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in ancient Egypt.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “God bless us, __ one!” : EVERY
6 Cola choice : PEPSI
11 __ pudding: Christmas treat : PLUM
15 Org. with Falcons and Ravens : NFL
18 Stimulates, as curiosity : PIQUES
20 Mr. T’s outfit : A-TEAM
21 Syllables from Santa : HO! HO!
22 ISP pioneer : AOL
23 Snow-covered home in many Hallmark Christmas greetings? : HOUSE OF CARDS
25 Soon, long ago : ANON
26 Overly : TOO
27 Most wee : LITTLEST
28 Task of untangling last year’s outdoor Christmas decorations? : LIGHT DUTY
30 “Sounder” Best Actress Oscar nominee Cicely : TYSON
31 Cap brims : VISORS
34 Dog-__ : EARED
35 Ryder Cup org. : PGA
37 Loudness measure : DECIBEL
40 Chef’s workload : ORDERS
41 Rude way to describe shopping mall Santas? : SUBORDINATE CLAUSES
47 Completely updated : ALL NEW
48 “Well, shoot” : DRAT
49 Air France hub : ORLY
50 Wok, for one : PAN
53 Coffee cup insulators : SLEEVES
55 TV series based on a Coen brothers film : FARGO
57 Noted second-place finisher : HARE
58 Dodger great Reese : PEE WEE
61 Slender stemware : FLUTE
62 Went up a size : GREW
63 “Waterloo” quartet : ABBA
66 Like a decorated Christmas tree, usually? : BALL BEARING
69 Word with wind and Wing : WEST …
70 Armoire part : DOOR
71 Oscar winner Hunt : HELEN
72 Build up : ACCRUE
74 Go up against : ABUT
75 Parlor piece : DIVAN
76 Shows age, as newspaper : YELLOWS
80 Yoga roll : MAT
81 Make a bundle? : BALE
82 Meyers of late-night TV : SETH
86 British fish dish : EEL PIE
87 Like the contents of a gift-wrapped pet carrier, hopefully? : LIVING IN THE PRESENT
91 With good judgment : WISELY
94 Perfect example : EPITOME
95 Game console letters : NES
96 Perfect : IDEAL
97 Tell : RELATE
99 Puts at ease : CALMS
103 Career preparing gifts for those on Santa’s “naughty” list? : COAL FIELD
105 Proclaim loudly : BLARE OUT
108 Actress Basinger : KIM
109 “Start talking” : OK, GO
110 Portraying Comet’s sleigh-pulling partner in the Christmas pageant? : PLAYING CUPID
114 College domain : EDU
115 Jump : LEAP
116 Dispatch : HASTE
117 Wonderland host who says, “It’s always tea-time” : HATTER
118 Tres menos uno : DOS
119 “NASCAR on NBC” analyst Earnhardt Jr. : DALE
120 Figures (out) : DOPES
121 Flowering shrub, in gardener slang : RHODY

Down

1 NT book before Philippians : EPH
2 Baroque stringed instrument : VIOL
3 Evenhanded : EQUITABLE
4 Out of practice : RUSTY
5 Throws away quickly, in slang : YEETS
6 Busy orgs. during campaigns : PACS
7 Coup d’__ : ETAT
8 According to : PER
9 Despondent : SAD
10 Online chats, briefly : IMS
11 “Exile in Guyville” singer Liz : PHAIR
12 Yearns (for) : LONGS
13 “I don’t like the sound of that” : UH-OH
14 __ Jack cheese : MONTEREY
15 Essence : NATURE
16 Header’s opposite : FOOTER
17 London insurance giant : LLOYD’S
19 Flight school hurdle : SOLO
24 Italian fashion house known for leather goods : FENDI
28 Hang around lazily : LOLL
29 Some parents : DADS
31 “La Dolce __” : VITA
32 “Yeah, right” : I BET
33 Min. fraction : SEC
35 Free TV spots : PSAS
36 Noisy shorebird : GULL
38 Wrap up : END
39 Mercury or Saturn : CAR
40 Norwegian capital : OSLO
42 Words in a cocktail recipe : ONE PART
43 Nice dream? : REVE
44 Geeky type : DWEEB
45 __ valve: heart part : AORTIC
46 Pressing need : URGENCY
50 Cut (down) : PARE
51 War god : ARES
52 Small amphibian : NEWT
54 African language : SWAHILI
55 Ala. neighbor : FLA
56 Luminous glow : AURA
57 “The Time Machine” author : HG WELLS
59 Telepathic girl in “Stranger Things” : ELEVEN
60 Jazz great Fitzgerald : ELLA
61 Marshy area : FEN
63 “House of Gucci” actor Driver : ADAM
64 “The Book of __ Fett” : BOBA
65 Boxing match : BOUT
67 Actor Kingsley : BEN
68 “The Whole Woman” writer Germaine : GREER
73 Peter Fonda title role : ULEE
75 Crockett of folklore : DAVY
77 Confides in : OPENS UP TO
78 Sangria ingredient : WINE
79 Gels : SETS
81 Wallet : BILLFOLD
82 Tizzy : SNIT
83 Kin of -kin : -ETTE
84 Howe’er : THO
85 Garment border : HEM
87 “Dreamgirls” actress Sharon : LEAL
88 Fix, as a horse : GELD
89 Brewery letters : IPA
90 Praline nut : PECAN
91 Musical set in Oz : WICKED
92 Eager reply to “Who wants dessert?” : I DO, I DO!
93 Irish poet Heaney : SEAMUS
97 Fit for a queen : REGAL
98 Skip the formalities, in a way : ELOPE
100 Cry of frustration : ARGH!
101 Aptly named Renault : LE CAR
102 Impudence : MOUTH
104 Superstore with wordless assembly instructions : IKEA
105 Information unit : BYTE
106 Baloney : LIES
107 Seven up, e.g. : TIED
110 Letters from school : PHD
111 Asian language : LAO
112 Egyptian viper : ASP
113 Like some humor : DRY

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 25 Dec 22, Sunday”

  1. Messed up on 121A RHODY. Had RHOSY.
    not up on gardener slang. Or how about YEETS or DOPES for slang!!

    never heard names,.. PHAIR ELEVEN

    Then, how about feeling like your “boxed in”? the symmetry of the grid is like a series of boxes. Like the box with ABBA and PAN?

  2. 43D reve is a dream in French. Nothing to do with Nice, other than it’s in France.
    5D Yeets – never heard of that before.
    Fun puzzle.

  3. 54:28 no errors…it seems like 103A is a plural clue with a singular answer.
    The very best of the holidays to all😀😀
    Stay safe😀

  4. Fun puzzle but tricky in spots. No errors, but had to look up two
    names….”Eleven” and “Seth”…did not know either. “Subordinate
    Clauses” was a hoot. I never heard of yeets but got it through
    cross letters.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  5. First time ever finished with no lookups or help from others . I knew I had a chance when Norway Capital was Oslo not krona.

  6. First time ever I have finished with no lookups or help from others. I knew I had a chance when Capital of Norway was Oslo not krona.

  7. Merry Christmas.

    @Anon Mike
    You are correct in this observation. One of the so-called “Farrar Rules” is that a grid has to have an “all-over interlock”, which means as a solver you can travel to any part of the puzzle while solving without having to stop at any point. The black square to the left of PAN and to the right of MAT turns those sections into “dead-end streets”. But then again, no one editing puzzles today cares about any “rules” for a lot of it to matter.

    Oh yeah, 12:15, no errors on this (for those that really want to know or as it seems the case is, don’t want to know).

    1. The black square to the left of PAN and to the right of MAT turns those sections into “dead-end streets”.

      Um … no.

      The rule is that “crosswords must have all-over interlock”. This puzzle obeys that rule.

      (It’s also symmetric, as far as I can tell … 🙂.)

      That said, I do agree with @Anon Mike’s original observation.

      … no one editing puzzles today cares about any “rules” for a lot of it to matter.

      More than a little over the top … 🤨.

  8. Mostly easy for me; took 33:04 with no peeks or errors, but just barely. I got stuck in the SE with 12 squares still unfilled. I did a “check-grid” and still had no errors…so I plodded along for a while and finally figured out MOUTH, LIES and went with TIED – even if I didn’t really see what that meant. Started with Alas, but changed it to ARGH and finally got HATTER to finish…

  9. I had trouble with 71A, since Linda Hunt is another actress who’s won an Oscar (Supporting actress 1984, The Year of Living Dangerously). Tricky!

  10. 71A was tricky since another actress named Hunt, Linda Hunt, won an Oscar too (1984 supporting actress, Year of Living Dangerously)

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