LA Times Crossword 30 Dec 22, Friday

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Constructed by: Mark Valdez & Brooke Husic
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Add Up

Themed answers are common phrases with “UP” ADDED:

  • 71A Make sense, and a hint to the answers to the starred clues : ADD UP
  • 20A *Separation after the vernal equinox? : SPRING BREAKUP (from “spring break”)
  • 31A *Nightmare for a wedding baker? : CAKE MIX-UP (from “cake mix”)
  • 45A *Arrangement of extras for a zombie movie? : DEAD SETUP (from “dead set”)
  • 58A *Halloween costume that’s a sheet on the bottom and a witch’s hat on top? : MONSTER MASH-UP

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

Bill’s time: 8m 37s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Word files, informally : DOCS

Microsoft Word documents have the “.doc” file extension, at least those created prior to the introduction of Microsoft Office 2007. The extension used now is “.docx”.

10 Box set unit : DVD

The abbreviation “DVD” doesn’t actually stand for anything these days, although it was originally short for “digital video disk”. The use of the word “video” was dropped as DVDs started to be used for storing a lot more than video. As a result, some folks assign the phrase “digital versatile disk” to “DVD”.

13 The Gem State : IDAHO

Idaho has the nickname “Gem State”, mainly because almost every known type of gemstone has been found there. Idaho is also sometimes called the Potato State, as potatoes are such a popular crop in the state. I’d go for the potatoes over the gems, but that’s probably just me. Oh, and Idaho license plates have borne the slogan “Famous Potatoes” for decades …

14 “By yesterday!” letters : ASAP!

As soon as possible (ASAP)

15 Ginger or daikon : ROOT

It is the root of the ginger flowering plant that is most prized, as it is used as a spice and a folk medicine. Almost half of the ginger consumed across the world comes from India.

The daikon is a Japanese winter radish with a mild flavor. The Japanese name “daikon” translates as “big root”.

17 “The Princess and the Frog” setting : BAYOU

A bayou is a marshy inlet or outlet of a lake or river, usually with stagnant or slow-moving water. The exact origins of the term “bayou” is uncertain, but it is thought perhaps to come from the Choctaw (a Native American people from the southeast) word “bayuk”, meaning “small stream”.

“The Princess and the Frog” is an animated feature released in 2009 by Walt Disney Studios. The film is set in New Orleans in the twenties. A waitress called Tiana kisses a prince who had been turned into a frog, and then she herself turns into a frog.

18 “Carol” star Rooney : MARA

Actress Rooney Mara is noted for her role in the 2010 film “The Social Network” and for playing the title character in the 2011 hit movie “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. Mara has American football in her blood. Her mother’s family founded the Pittsburgh Steelers, and her father’s family founded the New York Giants.

The 2015 film “Carol” is about a forbidden affair between a female photographer and an older woman in the middle of a tough divorce in 1950s America. Rooney Mara plays the photographer Therese Belivet, and Cate Blanchett plays the title character Carol Aird. I haven’t seen this one yet, but I hear good things …

19 “The Country Girls” novelist O’Brien : EDNA

Edna O’Brien is an Irish novelist and playwright who is known for her works that shine a light on the problems of women relating to men and society in general. O’Brien’s first novel, “The Country Girls”, was banned, burned and denounced by the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. As a result, O’Brien left the country and now lives in London.

20 *Separation after the vernal equinox? : SPRING BREAKUP (from “spring break”)

Something related to the season of spring is described as vernal, with “vernal” coming from the Latin “ver” meaning “spring-time”.

An equinox is a phenomenon dictated by the tilt of the earth’s axis. Twice every year, that tilt “evens out” and the sun is equidistant from points at the same latitude both north and south of the equator. It is as if the earth has no tilt relative to the sun. The term “equinox” comes from the Latin for “equal night”, inferring that night and day are equally long, as the effect of the earth’s “tilt” is nullified. Equinoxes occur each year around March 21st (the vernal equinox) and September 23rd (the autumnal equinox).

40 Thompson of “Passing” : TESSA

Tessa Thompson is an actress from Los Angeles who is known for playing the supporting role of Jackie Cook on the TV show “Veronica Mars”, and for playing student leader Diane Nash in the 2014 film “Selma”. She also portrays superheroine Valkyrie in movies based on Marvel Comics characters.

42 Draped attire : TOGA

In ancient Rome, the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae” or “togas”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

43 Zoom alternative : SKYPE

The main feature of the Skype application, when introduced, was that it allows voice communication to take place over the Internet (aka VoIP). Skype has other features such as video conferencing and instant messaging, but the application made its name from voice communication. Skype was founded by two Scandinavian entrepreneurs and the software necessary was developed by a team of engineers in Estonia. The development project was originally called “Sky peer-to-peer” so the first commercial name for the application was “Skyper”. This had to be shortened to “Skype” because the skyper.com domain name was already in use.

45 *Arrangement of extras for a zombie movie? : DEAD SETUP (from “dead set”)

A zombie is a corpse that has been brought back to life by some mystical means. Our modern use of the term largely stems from the undead creatures featured in the 1968 horror movie called “Night of the Living Dead”. Now that film I haven’t seen, and probably never will …

58 *Halloween costume that’s a sheet on the bottom and a witch’s hat on top? : MONSTER MASH-UP (from “Monster Mash”)

“Monster Mash” is a fun novelty song released by Bobby Pickett in 1962. Pickett sings “Monster Mash” in a voice that imitates Boris Karloff.

68 Spanish royal : REINA

In Spanish, a “reina” (queen) lives in a “palacio” (palace).

Down

1 Tell 62-Across : FIB

To fib is to tell a lie. The verb “to fib” likely comes from “fibble-fable” meaning “nonsense”, with “fibble-fable” coming from “fable”.

2 Civil rights pioneer __ B. Wells : IDA

Ida B. Wells was an African-American journalist and leader of the civil rights movement. She published a pamphlet in 1892 called “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases”, which publicized the horrors of lynching of African Americans by white mobs in the South.

5 Major component of Iceland’s economy : TOURISM

Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in the whole of Europe, with two-thirds of the nation’s population residing in and around the capital city of Reykjavik. Iceland was settled by the Norse people in AD 874, and was ruled for centuries by Norway and then Denmark. Iceland became independent in 1918, and has been a republic since 1944. Iceland is not a member of the EU but is a member of NATO, having joined in 1949 despite not having a standing army.

7 Great Plains people who call themselves “Children of the Middle Waters” : OSAGE

The Osage Nation originated in the Ohio River valley in what we now call Kentucky. The name “Osage” was first used by French traders for the people who called themselves “Ni-U-Ko’n-Ska”, meaning “Children of the Middle Water”.

8 Pasta nutrients, for short : CARBS

Only relatively small amounts of carbohydrate can be stored by the human body, but those stores are important. The actual storage molecule is a starch-like polysaccharide called glycogen, which is found mainly in the liver and muscles. Glycogen is a quick source of energy when required by the body. Most of the body’s energy is stored in the form of fat, a more compact substance that is mobilized less rapidly. Endurance athletes often eat meals high in carbohydrates (carbo-loading) a few hours before an event, so that their body’s glycogen is at optimum levels.

9 Peloponnesian city-state : SPARTA

Sparta was a city-state in ancient Greece that was famous for her military might. Spartan children had a tough upbringing, and newborn babies were bathed in wine to see if the child was strong enough to survive. Every child was presented to a council of elders that decided if the baby was suitable for rearing. Those children deemed too puny were executed by tossing them into a chasm. We’ve been using the term “spartan” to describe something self-disciplined or austere since the 1600s.

The Peloponnese is a peninsula in southern Greece that was once home to the ancient city-state Sparta. Technically, the Peloponnese has been an island since 1893 when the Corinth Canal was completed, separating the peninsula from the mainland.

11 Spirit of the cosmos? : VODKA

Like so many famous cocktails, the actual origins of the cosmopolitan are disputed. It is a very nice drink, in my humble opinion. One of the standard recipes is 4 parts citrus vodka, 1.5 parts Cointreau, 1.5 parts lime juice and 3 parts cranberry juice.

16 Cassette : TAPE

The French for “box” is “casse”. So, a “cassette” is a “little box”.

21 Alaskan people : INUIT

The Inuit people live in the Arctic, in parts of the US, Russia, Greenland and Canada. A member of the Inuit people is known as an “Inuk”.

22 Zehn minus neun : EINS

In German, “zehn” (ten) minus “neun” (nine) is “eins” (one).

26 __ chocolate : DARK

Chocolate is made from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree. The seeds are very bitter and the traditional drink made with the seed was called “xocolatl” by the Aztecs, meaning “bitter water”. Our word “chocolate” comes from “xocolatl”.

34 Pre-coll. exam : PSAT

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)

36 Ancient Teuton : GOTH

The East Germanic tribe called the Goths had two main branches, called the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths. The Visigothic capital was the city of Toulouse in France, whereas the Ostrogoth capital was the Italian city of Ravenna just inland of the Adriatic coast. It was the Visigoths who sacked Rome in 410 CE, heralding the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

The Germanic peoples of Northern Europe are often called Teutonic, a term which originated with the Teutons, one of the Germanic tribes that lived in the region in the days of ancient Greece and Rome.

37 __ fresca: Mexican drink : AGUA

An agua fresca is a blended drink made with sugar and water flavored with fruit, cereal, flowers or seeds. Traditional aguas frescas are sold by street vendors, especially in Mexico and the American Southwest. Common flavorings are hibiscus and tamarind.

41 “¡Hasta mañana!” : ADIOS!

The term “adiós” is Spanish for “goodbye”. “Adiós” comes from the phrase “a Dios vos acomiendo” meaning “I commend you to God”.

“Hasta mañana” translates from Spanish as “See you tomorrow”, and literally as “Until tomorrow”.

46 “We Belong to Something Beautiful” cosmetics chain : SEPHORA

Sephora is a French chain of cosmetic stores, founded in 1969. The name “Sephora” is derived from the Greek for “beauty” (“sephos”). We’ve been able to visit Sephora outlets in JCPenney stores since 2006.

48 Saffron-flavored rice dish : PAELLA

Paella is sometimes referred to as the Spanish national dish, but not by Spaniards. In Spain, paella is regarded as a typical regional dish from Valencia. The name “paella” means “frying pan” in Valencian, and is a reference to the shallow vessel traditionally used to cook the dish over an open fire.

Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice by weight. It is derived from the saffron crocus. The spice itself is the dried stigma found in the flower of the plant.

52 Bat mitzvah scroll : TORAH

A Torah scroll (also “Sefer Torah”) is a handwritten copy of the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures.

A Jewish girl becomes a bat mitzvah at 12 years of age, the age at which she becomes responsible for her actions. Boys become bar mitzvahs at 13. The terms translate into English as daughter and son of the commandments.

53 __-Saxon : ANGLO

Germanic tribes invaded Great Britain from the early 5th century and created the nation that we now call England. The Anglo-Saxons (sometimes simply “Saxons”), as these tribes came to be called, held sway in the country until the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Anglo-Saxons were descendants of three Germanic tribes:

  • The Angles, from Angeln in Northern Germany (and the tribe that gave the name “England”).
  • The Saxons, from Lower Saxony and Holland.
  • The Jutes, from the Jutland peninsula in Denmark.

55 “The Death of Vivek Oji” author Akwaeke : EMEZI

Akwaeke Emezi is an author from Nigeria who specializes in works with LGBT themes. Arguably, their most famous work is the 2020 novel “The Death of Vivek Oji”, which explores the subject of homosexuality in Nigeria.

64 Shiba __: dog breed : INU

The Shiba Inu is a Japanese breed of dog that was developed for hunting. Although the exact etymology of “Shibu” is unclear, the term translates as “brushwood”. “Inu” is Japanese for “dog”.

65 Megan Thee Stallion genre : RAP

“Megan Thee Stallion” is the stage name of rapper Megan Pete. Pete’s mother Holly Thomas was also a rap performer, one using the stage name “Holly-Wood”. Thomas would bring Megan to recording sessions rather than put her in daycare, and so exposed her young daughter to the recording business at an early age.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 In the lead : FIRST
6 Word files, informally : DOCS
10 Box set unit : DVD
13 The Gem State : IDAHO
14 “By yesterday!” letters : ASAP!
15 Ginger or daikon : ROOT
17 “The Princess and the Frog” setting : BAYOU
18 “Carol” star Rooney : MARA
19 “The Country Girls” novelist O’Brien : EDNA
20 *Separation after the vernal equinox? : SPRING BREAKUP (from “spring break”)
23 Moral wrong : SIN
24 Round number : ESTIMATE
25 “And now, without further __ … ” : ADO
28 Take to court : SUE
30 “So?” : AND?
31 *Nightmare for a wedding baker? : CAKE MIX-UP (from “cake mix”)
35 Epic tales : SAGAS
39 Streetcar : TRAM
40 Thompson of “Passing” : TESSA
42 Draped attire : TOGA
43 Zoom alternative : SKYPE
45 *Arrangement of extras for a zombie movie? : DEAD SETUP (from “dead set”)
47 Light touch : TAP
49 Draw : TIE
50 “This __ to stop” : HAS
51 “Be careful!” : STAY SAFE!
56 Choose : OPT
58 *Halloween costume that’s a sheet on the bottom and a witch’s hat on top? : MONSTER MASH-UP (from “Monster Mash”)
61 Strongly encourage : URGE
62 Falsehoods : LIES
63 Broadcasting : ON AIR
66 Big do : GALA
67 Kick back : LAZE
68 Spanish royal : REINA
69 Sweltering : HOT
70 Showcase for a soprano : ARIA
71 Make sense, and a hint to the answers to the starred clues : ADD UP

Down

1 Tell 62-Across : FIB
2 Civil rights pioneer __ B. Wells : IDA
3 Sunbeams : RAYS
4 Selling points? : SHOPS
5 Major component of Iceland’s economy : TOURISM
6 __ with faint praise : DAMN
7 Great Plains people who call themselves “Children of the Middle Waters” : OSAGE
8 Pasta nutrients, for short : CARBS
9 Peloponnesian city-state : SPARTA
10 Info provided to a matchmaker, perhaps : DREAM DATE
11 Spirit of the cosmos? : VODKA
12 Pastry with a hole : DONUT
16 Cassette : TAPE
21 Alaskan people : INUIT
22 Zehn minus neun : EINS
25 Makes a move : ACTS
26 __ chocolate : DARK
27 “Sure” : OKAY
29 Crossed (out) : EXED
32 Focus of some special elections : EMPTY SEAT
33 Function : USE
34 Pre-coll. exam : PSAT
36 Ancient Teuton : GOTH
37 __ fresca: Mexican drink : AGUA
38 Depletes : SAPS
41 “¡Hasta mañana!” : ADIOS!
44 Right direction? : EAST
46 “We Belong to Something Beautiful” cosmetics chain : SEPHORA
48 Saffron-flavored rice dish : PAELLA
51 Self-satisfied : SMUG
52 Bat mitzvah scroll : TORAH
53 __-Saxon : ANGLO
54 Man on a mission? : FRIAR
55 “The Death of Vivek Oji” author Akwaeke : EMEZI
57 Hitting all the right notes : TUNED
59 Between ports : ASEA
60 Settled : PAID
64 Shiba __: dog breed : INU
65 Megan Thee Stallion genre : RAP

12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 30 Dec 22, Friday”

  1. Didn’t know INU was japanese for dog.
    Also didn’t know REINA. guessed IGA and REIGA.

    several others I didn’t know. Felt like a USA today puzzle?

  2. As the year 2022 comes to a close I would just like to thank Bill for all his hard work and dedication to this blog. I learn something new every day and have Bill to thank for that. Happy New Year!

  3. Good puzzle. Were it not for all the un-or little-known names, would have been a very good puzzle. Finished with no errors, peeks or lookups but several good guesses, so nice way to (almost) end the year.

  4. In the San José Mercury, DOWN clues 2,33,34,36,51,52, and 65 were missing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before!

  5. 10:34 – no errors or lookups. False starts: EINE>EINS, ISU>INU.

    New: Rooney MARA, “The Country Girls,” EMEZI Akwaeke, Shiba INU.

    Got the theme early, which helped throughout the puzzle.

  6. Two Googles: MARA and EDNA, and one error: RAP. Was amazed I did that well on a Friday, but it is my birthday.
    The theme helped, especially for unknowns like EMEZI.
    Happy new year!

    1. Happy Birthday!
      One of my grandsons’ birthday was yesterday, and his father’s/my son’s, is tomorrow, NYeve.
      That was a great day, ‘way back then: new son, and a tax exemption!
      Does it get better’n that?
      Happy New Year, one and all.

  7. Mostly easy Friday for me; took 16:41 with 2 errors. I didn’t know EMEsI and misspelled PAELeA. After I didn’t get the banner I searched for about 3 minutes and did linger over eAsE and my spelling of PAELeA but finally did a “check-grid” which highlighted my two errors and then I finally went with LAZE, which did the trick. The rest was pretty straight-forward though.

    And yes, thank you to Bill for all you do keeping this wonderful blog running. Today I learned all about EDNA O’brien, after I checked out her Wiki article(s).

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