0226-20 NY Times Crossword 26 Feb 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Francis Heaney
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Bad Guy

Themed answers end with three-letter sequences that together spell out the name of the singer of “BAD GUY”, i.e. BIL-LIE EIL-ISH:

  • 21A Toy brand with plastic figures : PLAYMOBIL
  • 25A 2006 #1 Shakira hit : HIPS DON’T LIE
  • 47A Art technique that’s French for “fools the eye” : TROMPE L’OEIL
  • 52A Butler’s “Gladly” : AS YOU WISH
  • 1A Award notably won in each of the “big four” categories by this puzzle’s honoree : GRAMMY
  • 67A Hit song by the 1-Across winner whose name is spelled out by the final three letters of 21-, 25-, 47- and 52-Across : BAD GUY

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 7m 59s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Award notably won in each of the “big four” categories by this puzzle’s honoree : GRAMMY

Billie Eilish is a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. She has won several awards, and is the youngest person to have won all four major Grammy categories in the same year, i.e. Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

7 Peeling potatoes as punishment, maybe : ON KP

The initialism “KP” is US military slang that stands for either “kitchen police” or “kitchen patrol”.

11 Krazy ___ : KAT

“Krazy Kat” is a successful comic strip that ran from 1913-1944 and was drawn by George Herriman.

16 Yoko whose work is sometimes described as 17-Across : ONO
17 Having no musical key : ATONAL

Yoko Ono is an avant-garde artist. Ono actually met her future husband John Lennon for the first time while she was preparing her conceptual art exhibit called “Hammer a Nail”. Visitors were encouraged to hammer in a nail into a wooden board, creating the artwork. Lennon wanted to hammer in the first nail, but Ono stopped him as the exhibition had not yet opened. Apparently Ono relented when Lennon paid her an imaginary five shillings to hammer an imaginary nail into the wood.

20 “We’ve Only Just ___” : BEGUN

The Carpenters hit “We’ve Only Just Begun” started out life as music for a wedding-themed TV commercial for a bank. Richard Carpenter saw the commercial in 1970, and made arrangements for the Carpenters to record a complete version of “We’ve Only Just Begun” later that year.

21 Toy brand with plastic figures : PLAYMOBIL

Playmobil is a brand of toy made in Germany. The line of toys comprises 3-inch tall human figures along with a range of accessories.

22 Maker of the old Dreamcast game console : SEGA

The Dreamcast is a video game console released by Sega in the late nineties. It was to become the company’s last game console. Since then, Sega has focused on producing video games as opposed to hardware.

25 2006 #1 Shakira hit : HIPS DON’T LIE

Shakira’s 2006 song “Hips Don’t Lie” broke a record soon after it was released. It became the most-played pop song in a single week in the history of American radio.

29 Avail oneself of Vail? : SKI

The Vail Ski Resort in Colorado is the largest single-mountain ski resort in the whole country. The resort was opened in 1962, basically in the middle of nowhere. It was given the name Vail after Vail Pass which runs by the mountain (now also called Vail Mountain). The town of Vail, Colorado was established four years later in 1966, and now has a population of about 5,000.

32 Actor Morales : ESAI

Actor Esai Morales is best known in the world of film for the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai). On the small screen, Morales plays Lt. Tony Rodriguez on “NYPD Blue” and Joseph Adama on “Caprica”.

33 The Iams logo depicts one : PAW

Iams dog food was introduced by animal nutritionist Paul Iams. He felt that household pets were suffering somewhat by being fed a diet of table scraps, so he developed a dry dog food that he felt was more nutritious and suitable for pet dogs. He founded the Iams company, now part of Procter & Gamble, in 1946.

36 Janet of “Psycho” : LEIGH

My guess is that the actress Janet Leigh’s most remembered performance is as the woman who gets killed in the shower in the Hitchcock classic “Psycho”. Leigh’s third husband was the actor Tony Curtis, and their daughter is the lovely Jamie Lee Curtis.

38 “The ___ Squad” : MOD

The 1999 movie “The Mod Squad” was an adaptation of the seventies television show of the same name. The part of Lincoln “Linc” Hayes was played by Omar Epps, Claire Danes played Julie Barnes and Giovanni Ribisi played Peter Cochran.

41 Anise-flavored aperitif : PERNOD

The drink usually called just “Pernod” is a French beverage more correctly called “Pernod Anise”. The brand name was created by Henri-Louis Pernod in the late 1700s when he opened an absinthe distillery in Switzerland.

46 Texting format, for short : SMS

Short Message Service (SMS) is the name for the text messaging service that many of us still use on our cell phones to contact friends and family.

47 Art technique that’s French for “fools the eye” : TROMPE L’OEIL

“Trompe l’oeil” is a technique in art that creates the optical illusion that a drawn object exists in three dimensions. “Trompe-l’oeil” is French for “deceive the eye”.

52 Butler’s “Gladly” : AS YOU WISH

A butler is the head servant in a household. The butler is often in charge of the wine stores in the house. The term “butler” comes from the Old French “boteillier” meaning “officer in charge of wine”, which in terms comes from the Old French “boteille”, the word for a “bottle”.

61 Film with a famous chariot race : BEN-HUR

The celebrated 1959 Charlton Heston movie “Ben-Hur” is a dramatization of a book published in 1880 by Lew Wallace titled “Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ”. The 1959 epic film won a record 11 Academy Awards, a feat that has been equaled since then but has never been beaten. The other winners of 11 Oscars are “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Rings”.

63 Gal pal of Dennis the Menace : GINA

“Dennis the Menace” is a comic strip that first appeared in 1951, and was originally drawn by Hank Ketcham. The strip made the jump over the years from the newspaper to television and the silver screen. Dennis’s full name is Dennis Mitchell, and his parents are Henry and Alice (Johnson) Mitchell. Dennis’s nemesis is his neighbor, Mister George Everett Wilson. Hank Ketcham drew his inspiration for the story from his real life. When he introduced the strip he had a 4-year-old son called Dennis, and a wife named Alice.

65 Car rental add-on : GPS

Global positioning system (GPS)

66 Creatures in Tolkien’s Fangorn Forest : ENTS

Fangorn Forest is a location in the fictional world of Middle-earth created by J.R.R. Tolkien. Notably, it is the home of the Ents, a race of beings who closely resemble trees.

Down

6 Designer letters : YSL

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL)

8 Feature of a Manx cat : NO TAIL

I’ve seen Manx cats by the dozen on their native island. They’re found all over the Isle of Man (hence the name “Manx”) that is located in the middle of the Irish Sea. Manx cats have just a stub of a tail, and hence are called “stubbins” by the locals.

9 Relative of a cricket : KATYDID

The insects in the cricket family that Americans call katydids, the British call bushcrickets.

11 Hoda of morning TV : KOTB

Hoda Kotb is an Egyptian-American television journalist who is perhaps best known as a co-host of the NBC morning show “Today”. She is also the author of the bestselling autobiography “Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee”.

21 Old airline with a globe in its logo : PAN AM

Pan American World Airways (usually just “Pan Am”) started out as a mail and passenger service between Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba in 1927. From very early in the company’s life it was the de facto representative air carrier of the United States. For many years, Pan Am’s fleet was built around the Boeing 314 Clipper, a long-range flying boat that was one of the largest aircraft around at the time. Pan Am adopted the Clipper as part of its image, even using “clipper” as the call sign for its flights.

23 11 U.S. presidents of the 20th century belonged to it : GOP

The Republican Party has had the nickname Grand Old Party (GOP) since 1875. That said, the phrase was coined in the “Congressional Record” as “this gallant old party”. The moniker was changed to “grand old party” in 1876 in an article in the “Cincinnati Commercial”. The Republican Party’s elephant mascot dates back to an 1874 cartoon drawn by Thomas Nast for “Harper’s Weekly”. The Democrat’s donkey was already an established symbol. Nast drew a donkey clothed in a lion’s skin scaring away the other animals. One of the scared animals was an elephant, which Nast labeled “The Republican Vote”.

30 Actress O’Hara with a Tony for “The King and I” : KELLI

Actress and singer Kelli O’Hara was nominated six times for a Tony before winning the award for the Best Lead Actress in a Musical for the 2015 revival of “The King and I”.

31 Peaceful pastoral scene : IDYLL

An idyll (also “idyl”) is a short poem with a pastoral theme, usually depicting the scene in romantic and idealized terms. The word “idyl” comes from the Greek “eidyllion”, which literally translates to “little picture” but was a word describing a short poem with a rustic theme.

35 Artificial, as some modern pop vocals : AUTO-TUNED

Auto-Tune is a proprietary audio process that is primarily used to alter pitch in a recorded track. One of the main uses of Auto-Tune is to correct voice tracks that are slightly off-pitch, which probably explains why even professional singers tend to sound better on a recording than they do live. More extreme levels of Auto-Tune adjustment are now quite common, creating a sound effect that distorts vocals. Such sound effects really took off with the release of Cher’s 1998 hit song “Believe”, in which you can really notice the vocal distortion.

37 Chocolaty sundae topping : HOT FUDGE

There’s a lot of speculation about how the dessert called a sundae got its name, but there seems to be agreement that it is an alteration of the word “Sunday”.

49 Ochoa in the World Golf Hall of Fame : LORENA

Lorena Ochoa is a retired professional golfer from Mexico who was ranked as the number one female golfer in the world from 2007 to 2010.

50 ___ Center (Chicago skyscraper) : AON

The Aon Center in Chicago is the third-tallest building in the city. There is also an Aon Center in Los Angeles that is the second-tallest building in that city.

55 Word after high, heavy or seven : … SEAS

The phrase “the seven seas” has been used for centuries by many different peoples. The actual definition of what constitutes the collection of seven has varied depending on the period and the culture. Nowadays we consider the seven largest bodies of water as the seven seas, namely:

  • The North Pacific Ocean
  • The South Pacific Ocean
  • The North Atlantic Ocean
  • The South Atlantic Ocean
  • The Indian Ocean
  • The Southern Ocean
  • The Arctic Ocean

57 Thick hairstyle : SHAG

A shag cut is a layered hairstyle. Actress Meg Ryan famously sported a shag cut for many years, as did fellow actress Farrah Fawcett.

58 “Star Trek” role for Takei : SULU

Mr. Hikaru Sulu was played by George Takei in the original “Star Trek” series. Takei has played lots of roles over the years, and is still very active in television. Did you know that he appeared in the 1963 film, “Pt-109”? He played the helmsman steering the Japanese destroyer that ran down John F. Kennedy’s motor torpedo boat. From destroyer helmsman to starship helmsman …

59 Airport about 28 miles from Disneyland Paris : 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.

Disneyland Paris is the most visited attraction in the whole of Europe. Originally called Euro Disney, the resort opened in 1992 and was the second Disney park to open outside of the US, after Tokyo Disney.

61 Short hairstyle : BOB

A bob cut is a short hairstyle in which the hair is cut straight around the head, at about the line of the jaw. Back in the 1570s, “bob” was the name given to a horse’s tail that was cut short, and about a century later it was being used to describe short hair on humans. The style became very popular with women in the early 1900s (as worn by actress Clara Bow, for example), with the fashion dying out in the thirties. The style reemerged in the sixties around the time the Beatles introduced their “mop tops”, with Vidal Sassoon leading the way in styling women’s hair in a bob cut again. Personally, I like it …

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Award notably won in each of the “big four” categories by this puzzle’s honoree : GRAMMY
7 Peeling potatoes as punishment, maybe : ON KP
11 Krazy ___ : KAT
14 Things used with some frequency? : RADIOS
15 Surf sound : ROAR
16 Yoko whose work is sometimes described as 17-Across : ONO
17 Having no musical key : ATONAL
18 Swear is true : ATTEST TO
20 “We’ve Only Just ___” : BEGUN
21 Toy brand with plastic figures : PLAYMOBIL
22 Maker of the old Dreamcast game console : SEGA
24 Terse admission : I DID
25 2006 #1 Shakira hit : HIPS DON’T LIE
29 Avail oneself of Vail? : SKI
32 Actor Morales : ESAI
33 The Iams logo depicts one : PAW
34 Arranged artfully, as fabric : DRAPED
36 Janet of “Psycho” : LEIGH
38 “The ___ Squad” : MOD
40 Ill-tempered : SURLY
41 Anise-flavored aperitif : PERNOD
43 Vim : PEP
45 Poker giveaway : TELL
46 Texting format, for short : SMS
47 Art technique that’s French for “fools the eye” : TROMPE L’OEIL
50 Some ways off : AFAR
51 Gait slower than a gallop : TROT
52 Butler’s “Gladly” : AS YOU WISH
56 ___-Japanese War : RUSSO
60 “Check it out … I’ll wait here” : GO AND SEE
61 Film with a famous chariot race : BEN-HUR
62 Squirrel’s favorite tree, maybe : OAK
63 Gal pal of Dennis the Menace : GINA
64 Score early in the game, often : ONE-ALL
65 Car rental add-on : GPS
66 Creatures in Tolkien’s Fangorn Forest : ENTS
67 Hit song by the 1-Across winner whose name is spelled out by the final three letters of 21-, 25-, 47- and 52-Across : BAD GUY

Down

1 Take hold of : GRAB
2 Merit : RATE
3 “On the internet, nobody knows you’re ___” (classic New Yorker cartoon caption) : A DOG
4 – : MINUS SIGN
5 Bellyached : MOANED
6 Designer letters : YSL
7 Test that’s all talk : ORAL
8 Feature of a Manx cat : NO TAIL
9 Relative of a cricket : KATYDID
10 Leaders of Canadian provinces : PREMIERS
11 Hoda of morning TV : KOTB
12 Voting nay : ANTI
13 Easily influenced person : TOOL
19 Rolled-up grass : SOD
21 Old airline with a globe in its logo : PAN AM
23 11 U.S. presidents of the 20th century belonged to it : GOP
25 Pitches in : HELPS
26 “___ to remember …” : I SEEM
27 What socks come in : PAIRS
28 Early afternoon hour : TWO PM
29 Binge : SPREE
30 Actress O’Hara with a Tony for “The King and I” : KELLI
31 Peaceful pastoral scene : IDYLL
35 Artificial, as some modern pop vocals : AUTO-TUNED
37 Chocolaty sundae topping : HOT FUDGE
39 Swimming pool measurement : DEPTH
42 Entices : DRAWS IN
44 Part of m.p.h. : PER
48 Get situated : ORIENT
49 Ochoa in the World Golf Hall of Fame : LORENA
50 ___ Center (Chicago skyscraper) : AON
52 Eager : AGOG
53 Soft ___ (flattery) : SOAP
54 Chatters : YAKS
55 Word after high, heavy or seven : … SEAS
57 Thick hairstyle : SHAG
58 “Star Trek” role for Takei : SULU
59 Airport about 28 miles from Disneyland Paris : ORLY
61 Short hairstyle : BOB

8 thoughts on “0226-20 NY Times Crossword 26 Feb 20, Wednesday”

  1. 9:22, no errors. I had never heard of Billie Eilish, “Hips Don’t Lie”, or “Bad Guy”, so I feel a little lucky to have pulled this one off … 😜.

  2. 11:43. Ditto A Nonny – I didn’t know any of those things either. I looked up the song BAD GUY on you tube. Now I just wish I could UN-look it up.

    Best –

  3. 11:09, no errors. Seems the older one gets, the more difficult it is to keep up with culture. To paraphrase @DuncanR: not bad for not knowing who Billie Eilish is and barely knowing what TROMPE L’OEIL is. After checking the wiki, found out that Billie Eilish is younger than half my grandkids. Puzzle contains two woman whose music will not make any of my playlists.

  4. No errors. I am glad to find out from the other comments that I am not alone in not knowing much of anything about BILLIE EILISH et cetera. I just don’t have the time to follow pop music. I have nothing against it. It is just a low priority for me.

    Nevertheless, I came away with a win. I am now going over to the pronunciation sites and hear how the French pronounce TROMPE L’OEIL. That entry is a hard one for an English speaker.

  5. Like this puzzle a lot and got it all. Maybe in part because of paying some attention to GRAMMY shows in recent years, or at least to some of the write-ups about them. I don’t consider myself a fan, but randomly on the lookout for likely crossword fodder.

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