KEA is often the answer to the crossword clue
[Mauna ___]

Mauna Kea, crossword answer, clues, LOA, meaning
Hawaii’s Mauna KEA volcano, a [Big draw on the Big Island], seen here from HILO [Biggest city on the Big Island] across the Hilo Bay, via Howcheng)

The crossword answer KEA is one of the most colorful bits of crosswordese. Kea is [Hawaiian for “white”], and helps form the name of the large, dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii, Mauna Kea, whose name translates to “White Mountain.”

Mauna Kea is [One of the Maunas]: the other is Mauna LOA, whose name means “Long Mountain.” As both volcanoes have their own observatory, both KEA and LOA can answer clues like [Mauna ___] or [Mauna ___ Observatory]. Unlike Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa is still considered active. It’s been quiet for the last 35 years, but it’s estimated that Mauna Loa has been erupting for the better part of the last million years.

KEA: a crossword answer that doesn’t fly as bird anymore

Though it’s rarely clued as such anymore, KEA is also the name of a green and orange [Large New Zealand parrot]. The world’s only alpine parrot, the omnivorous kea is famous for its size. A is also infamous for purportedly dining on live sheep. (Whether it really does so is, as they say, “up in the air.”)

Nevertheless, concerned farmers once put a bounty on keas, and the birds became almost as rare in the SKY [What’s up?] as they are these days in puzzles.

As it lives in New Zealand, the kea could be considered a KIWI [New Zealand demonym]. But as there’s already a [Chicken-sized flightless bird] called the kiwi, calling the kea a kiwi could lead quite quickly to a sticky wicket.

A model sporting a KEA Peak visor, a gift from her daughter who’s a big fan of women’s active wear company. Author’s photo

The bird gives its name to the women’s athletic wear company, Kea Peak, who says they chose it because

The Kea is the only alpine parrot in the world, located in New Zealand, where our company founder fell in love with the best guy ever while backpacking. It also laughs in groups and tears up whatever it can get its beak on, like boots, backpacks, and cars. Different, rebellious, community driven––it seemed like an appropriate mascot.