0726-20 NY Times Crossword 26 Jul 20, Sunday

Constructed by: Trenton Charlson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: Made-To-Order

Themed answers are common phrases in which the letters of one word have been rearranged into alphabetical ORDER:

  • 22A Facial feature of a Lego man? : SQUARE CHIN (from “square inch”)
  • 33A Emcee during a power outage? : HOST IN THE DARK (from “shot in the dark”)
  • 48A “The elite fighter pilots may skip the rest of the lecture”? : ACES DISMISSED (from “case dismissed”)
  • 67A Drive a getaway car through Australia’s outback? : ABET AROUND THE BUSH (from “beat around the bush”)
  • 89A What you might do after the movie previews are finally over? : BEGIN WATCHING (from “binge watching”)
  • 106A Where spaghetti and orzo rank in terms of their suitability for making necklaces? : BELOW MACARONI (from “elbow macaroni”)
  • 120A One who believes exclusively in a sea god? : OCEAN DEIST (from “ocean tides”)

Bill’s time: 18m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Grub for a grub : LEAF

The larvae of stag beetles are commonly known as grubs, and the pupa known as the chrysalis. “Grub” is also slang for “food”. The word “grub” has been used in this sense since way back in the 1600s, and is possibly derived from birds eating grubs.

19 Last Oldsmobile model : ALERO

The Oldsmobile Alero was the last car made by General Motors under the Oldsmobile brand. It was produced from 1999 to 2004.

20 Site of the Bocca Nuova crater : ETNA

There are five distinct craters at the summit of Mount Etna:

  • the Northeast Crater
  • the Voragine
  • the Boca Nuova
  • the Southeast Crater Complex (of two craters)

21 Regional flora and fauna : BIOTA

The fauna is the animal life of a particular region, and the flora is that region’s plant life. The term “fauna” comes from the Roman goddess of earth and fertility who was called Fauna. Flora was the Roman goddess of plants, flowers and fertility.

22 Facial feature of a Lego man? : SQUARE CHIN (from “square inch”)

Lego is manufactured by the Lego Group, a privately held company headquartered in Billund, Denmark. The company was founded by a carpenter called Ole Kirk Christiansen in 1934 and the now-famous plastic interlocking blocks were introduced in 1949. The blocks were originally sold under the name “Automatic Binding Bricks” but I think “Lego” is easier to remember! The name “Lego” comes from the Danish term “leg godt” meaning “play well”.

24 Sparkling Italian wine : ASTI

Asti is a sparkling white wine from the Piedmont region of Italy, and is named for the town of Asti around which the wine is produced. The wine used to be called Asti Spumante, and it had a very bad reputation as a “poor man’s champagne”. The “Spumante” was dropped in a marketing attempt at rebranding associated with a reduction in the amount of residual sugar in the wine.

25 With 81-Across, flashy basketball play : ALLEY-…
(81 See 25-Across : … OOP)

An alley-oop is a play in basketball in which one player lobs the ball close to the basket for a teammate who usually scores with a slam dunk.

33 Emcee during a power outage? : HOST IN THE DARK (from “shot in the dark”)

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

37 Regulus is its brightest star : LEO

Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation of Leo. Regulus is a multiple star and what we see as one entity is actually made up of four stars rotating around a common center of mass. “Regulus” is Latin for “prince”.

38 Small change? : DIME

The term “dime”, used for a 10-cent coin, comes from the Old French word “disme” meaning “tenth part”.

43 Some somber music : DIRGE

A dirge is a slow and mournful piece of music, like perhaps a funeral hymn.

48 “The elite fighter pilots may skip the rest of the lecture”? : ACES DISMISSED (from “case dismissed”)

A flying ace is an aviator who has shot down a number of enemy planes during combat. The qualifying number of kills seems to vary, but five is common. The first use of “ace” was during WWI, when the French newspapers dubbed pilot Adolphe Pegoud “l’as” (French for “the ace”) when he shot down his fifth German plane.

54 Hairy hunter of Genesis : ESAU

Esau is a son of Isaac, and someone whose story is told in the Bible’s Book of Genesis. Esau had three wives, Adah, Aholibamah and Bashemath.

55 Looney Tunes devil, for short : TAZ

The “Looney Tunes” character known as the Tasmanian Devil, or “Taz”, first appeared in a cartoon short with Bugs Bunny called “Devil May Care” in 1954.

64 What the abscissa and ordinate are measured from : AXIS

When something is plotted on a graph with x- and y-coordinates, the x-coordinate is called the “abscissa”, and the y-coordinate is the “ordinate”. Those same terms are rarely used in 3-dimensional plots. If so, then the z-coordinate is referred to as the “applicate”.

67 Drive a getaway car through Australia’s outback? : ABET AROUND THE BUSH (from “beat around the bush”)

In Australia, the land outside of urban areas is referred to as the outback or the bush. That said, I think that the term “outback” is sometimes reserved for the more remote parts of the bush.

72 Cousin ___ (“Jimmy Kimmel Live” regular) : SAL

Jimmy Kimmel is the host of the late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Kimmel also co-hosted “The Man Show” and my personal favorite, “Win Ben Stein’s Money”.

75 Nickname of a 2010s pop idol, with “the” : BIEB

Justin Bieber is a young pop singer from London, Ontario. Bieber was actually discovered on YouTube by talent manager Scooter Brown. Fans of Bieber call themselves “Beliebers”. Personally, I’m no believer in Bieber …

76 Bird in Liberty Mutual commercials : EMU

Liberty Mutual is an insurance company based in Boston. The business was founded in 1912 as the Massachusetts Employees Insurance Association (MEIA). Liberty Mutual has a famous advertising icon named LiMu Emu.

84 When Caesar is told to “Beware the ides of March” : ACT I

In Act I of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, a soothsayer warns the doomed leader to “beware the ides of March”. Caesar ignores the prophecy and is subsequently killed on the steps of the Capitol by a group of conspirators on that fateful day.

93 Yeshiva instructor : RABBI

In the Jewish tradition, a yeshiva is an educational institution focusing on the study of sacred texts.

94 Civil War side: Abbr. : CSA

The Confederate States of America (CSA) set up government in 1861 just before Abraham Lincoln took office. Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the CSA at its formation, and retained the post for the life of the government.

96 Group who ought to know better? : MENSA

If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

97 Rx prescribers : MDS

There seems to be some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

98 Pioneering programmer Lovelace : ADA

Ada Lovelace’s real name and title was Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace. She was the only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the poet. Lovelace was fascinated by mathematics and wrote about the work done by Charles Babbage in building his groundbreaking mechanical computer. In some of her notes, she proposed an algorithm for Babbage’s machine to compute Bernoulli numbers. This algorithm is recognized by many as the world’s first computer program and so Lovelace is sometimes called the first “computer programmer”. There is a computer language called “Ada” that was named in her honor. The Ada language was developed from 1977 to 1983 for the US Department of Defense.

99 Fish whose name means “very strong” in Hawaiian : MAHI-MAHI

“Mahi-mahi” (meaning “very strong”) is the Hawaiian name for the dolphinfish, which is also called the dorado. The mahi-mahi is an ugly looking creature if ever I saw one …

105 “The devil’s lettuce” : POT

“Potiguaya” is the Mexican-Spanish word for “marijuana leaves”. The slang name “pot” comes from “potiguaya”.

106 Where spaghetti and orzo rank in terms of their suitability for making necklaces? : BELOW MACARONI (from “elbow macaroni”)

In many cases, the name given to a type of pasta comes from its shape. However, the name macaroni comes from the type of dough used to make the noodles. Here in the US, macaroni is usually elbow-shaped, but it doesn’t have to be.

109 Resident of Japan’s “second city” : OSAKAN

The Japanese city of Osaka used to be called Naniwa, with the name changing to Osaka sometime before 1500. “Osaka” can be translated either as “large hill” or “large slope”. Osaka is sometimes referred to as “the Chicago of Japan” as it is a major center of commerce and industry. The city has also been named the “nation’s kitchen”, and was a center for Japan’s rice trade for centuries.

111 ___ Mendeleev, creator of the periodic table : DMITRI

Dmitri Mendeleev was a Russian chemist. When Mendeleev classified elements according to their chemical properties, he noticed patterns and was able to group elements into his famous 1869 Periodic Table. So powerful was his table that he actually predicted the properties of some elements that had not even been discovered in 1869. Element number 101 is mendelevium and was named after Mendeleev.

112 Martin ___, star of 1960s TV’s “Route 66” : MILNER

Martin Milner is a former actor who is best known for playing lead roles on the TV shows “Route 66” and “Adam-12”. Milner is enjoying his retirement in California, as the owner of a productive walnut farm.

“Route 66” is a classic television show from the early sixties about two young men traveling across the US in a Corvette. The original lead characters were Tod Stiles (played by Martin Milner) and Buz Murdock (played by George Maharis), with Murdock being replaced by a character called Lincoln Case (played by Glenn Corbett) in the third season.

114 Opera singer Fleming : RENEE

Renée Fleming is a marvelous soprano from Indiana, Pennsylvania. Famous for her appearances in opera houses and concert halls all over the world, Fleming is also noted for her willingness to bring her craft to the masses. She was a guest on “Sesame Street” singing “counting lyrics” to an aria from “Rigoletto”, and she has appeared a few times on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”.

118 To boot : ALSO

The noun “boot” was used once to describe something of advantage in trying to accomplish a goal. This obsolete term really only exists in the adverb “to boot” meaning “in addition, over and above”, literally “to advantage”.

120 One who believes exclusively in a sea god? : OCEAN DEIST (from “ocean tides”)

Deism (from the Latin “deus” meaning god) is the belief that a supreme being created the universe, a belief based on observation and reason and without the need for faith. Further, a deist does not accept divine intervention and rather believes that the supreme being, having created the universe, leaves the world to its own devices.

122 Political columnist Molly : IVINS

Molly Ivins was a newspaper columnist, journalist and political commentator. One of Ivins’ books is “Bill of Wrongs: The Executive Branch’s Assault on America’s Fundamental Rights”.

123 Noted Christian : DIOR

Christian Dior was a French fashion designer. As WWII approached, Dior was called up by the French military, drawing a temporary halt to his career in fashion. He left the army in 1942 and for the duration of the war designed clothes for wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators. After the war his designs became so popular that he helped to re-establish Paris as the fashion center of the world.

124 Role in the 2005 hit musical “Jersey Boys” : VALLI

Frankie Valli is a great singer who is best known for fronting the 4 Seasons in the sixties. Valli had an incredible number of hits, with and without the 4 Seasons. The extensive list includes, “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Walk Like a Man”, “Rag Doll”, “My Eyes Adored You” and “Grease”.

“Jersey Boys” is a very entertaining musical that chronicles the life of the sixties group the Four Seasons. Joe Pesci is one of the characters in the story, which isn’t really surprising. Pesci is one of the show’s producers.

125 Electric flux symbols : PSIS

Psi is the 23rd and penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, and the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

128 County on the Thames : ESSEX

Essex is a county in England that is referred to as one of the “home counties”. The home counties are those that surround the city of London, outside of London itself. “Home county” is not an official designation but has been in popular use since the 1800s. The list of home counties usually comprises Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex.

The River Thames that flows through London is the longest river entirely located in England.

Down

1 What Winthrop speaks with in “The Music Man” : LISP

“The Music Man” is a musical by Meredith Willson. The show was a big hit on Broadway in 1957. “The Music Man” won the first ever Grammy Award for the “Best Original Cast Album”. The show is set in the fictional River City, Iowa.

5 Fannie ___ : MAE

The Federal National Mortgage Association is commonly called “Fannie Mae”, a play on the initialism FNMA. Fannie Mae was founded during the Great Depression as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal.

6 Isaac Newton, by hobby : ALCHEMIST

One of the main goals of the ancient practice of alchemy was to change base metals into gold, a process known as transmutation.

Sir Isaac Newton was one of the most influential people in history, and the man who laid the groundwork for all of classical mechanics. The story about an apple falling on his head, inspiring him to formulate his theories about gravity, well that’s not quite true. Newton often told the story about observing an apple falling in his mother’s garden and how this made him acutely aware of the Earth’s gravitational pull. However, he made no mention of the apple hitting him on the head.

7 Classic soda brand : NEHI

The Nehi cola brand has a name that sounds like “knee-high”, a measure of a small stature. Back in the mid-1900’s the Chero-Cola company, which owned the brand, went for a slightly different twist on “knee-high” in advertising. The logo for Nehi was an image of a seated woman’s stockinged legs, with her skirt pulled up to her knees to hint at “knee-high”.

8 Source of the word “galore” : IRISH

Our word “galore”, meaning “in great numbers”, comes from the Irish phrase “go leór” that translates as “sufficiently, enough”.

9 Xbox and GameCube : CONSOLES

The Xbox line of video game consoles is made by Microsoft. The original Xbox platform was followed by Xbox 360 and more recently by Xbox One. Microsoft’s Xbox competes directly with Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Wii.

The Nintendo GameCube video game console was the successor to the Nintendo 64, and the predecessor to the Nintendo Wii.

11 Long-distance travelers, informally : ETS

One might speculate that an unidentified flying object (UFO) is flown by an extraterrestrial (ET).

12 Composer Dvorak : ANTONIN

Antonín Dvořák was a composer from Czechoslovakia who spent three years working and composing in the United States. He was the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York from 1892 to 1895. Certainly here in the US, Dvořák’s best known work is his Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”, which is often referred to as “The New World Symphony”. His career was very much helped along by fellow composer Johannes Brahms, who very much appreciated Dvořák’s work.

15 Thick cloud above a peak : VOLCANIC ASH

Our word “volcano” comes from “Vulcano”, the name of a volcanic island off the coast of Italy. The island’s name comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Romans believed that the island of Vulcano was the chimney of the forge belonging to the god Vulcan. The Romans also believed that the eruptions on Mount Etna in Sicily were caused by Vulcan getting angry and working his forge so hard that sparks and smoke flew out of the top of the volcano.

21 System used in computer code : BASE TWO

We use a base-ten numbering system, with ten digits (0 – 9). The binary system, or base-two, uses just two digits (0 & 1). The binary system is used at a fundamental level in computing, because the number 0 and 1 can be represented by microcircuits being switched “on” or “off”.

23 Frist’s successor as Senate majority leader : REID

Democrat Harry Reid was the Senate Majority leader from 2007 until 2015. Reid had a big day in the Senate from a Democratic perspective with the successful passage of the so-called ObamaCare Bill. Coincidently, Harry Reid’s wife was in hospital at the time, having broken her back in a car accident. Reid took over as Senate Majority leader from Republican Bill Frist who retired from politics in 2007. Reid was replaced in 2015 by Republican Mitch McConnell.

Bill Frist was Senate Majority Leader for the Republican Party from 2003 to 2007. Prior to becoming a politician, Frist was a heart and lung transplant surgeon. He has also been a pilot since he was 16-years-old, and has run seven marathons.

32 Actress Conn of “Grease” : DIDI

Didi Conn, born Edith Bernstein, played a great character named “Frenchy” in the “Grease” films. Conn also played Stacy Jones in the children’s television show “Shining Time Station” in the late eighties-early nineties.

39 Aretha Franklin’s Grammy-nominated sister : ERMA

Erma Franklin was an R&B and gospel singer. She was the elder sister of Aretha Franklin. Erma toured with Aretha for a while, and even recorded backup vocals on her sister’s big hit “Respect”.

44 Thingamajig : GIZMO

The word “gizmo” (also “gismo”), meaning something the name of which is unknown or forgotten, was originally slang used by both the US Navy and the Marine Corps. The exact origin seems unknown.

49 Swedish Air Force supplier : SAAB

“SAAB” stands for Svenska Aeroplan AB, which translates into English as Swedish Aeroplane Limited. Although we usually think of SAAB as an auto manufacturer, it is mainly an aircraft manufacturer. If you take small hops in Europe you might find yourself on a SAAB passenger plane. The SAAB automotive division was acquired by General Motors in the year 2000, who then sold it to a Dutch concern in 2010. However, SAAB (automotive) finally went bankrupt in 2011. A Chinese consortium purchased the assets of SAAB Automotive in 2012, and so SAAB vehicles are in production again. The new vehicles are using the SAAB name, but cannot use the SAAB griffin logo, the rights to which have been retained by the mother company.

50 Guys : DUDES

Our term “dude” arose as slang in New York City in the 1880s, when it was used to describe a fastidious man. In the early 1900s, the term was extended to mean “city slickers”, easterners who vacationed in the West. The first use of the term “dude ranch” was recorded in 1921.

52 Exercise in dexterity : ETUDE

An étude is a short instrumental composition that is usually quite hard to play and is intended to help the performer master a particular technique. “Étude” is the French word for “study”. Études are commonly performed on the piano.

63 Ragtime great Blake : EUBIE

James Hubert “Eubie” Blake was a composer and pianist from Baltimore, Maryland. Blake was a noted composer and performer of ragtime music. The 1978 musical revue “Eubie!” features his music. Apparently Blake claimed to have started smoking cigarettes at the age of 10 years, and died 85 years later in 1983. Blake’s celebrity status and long life as a smoker was often cited by politicians who opposed anti-tobacco legislation.

65 Shrub that produces a crimson-colored spice : SUMAC

Sumacs are a group of flowering shrubs and small trees that include poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac (nasty stuff!). The leaves of some species of sumac contain tannins that are used for tanning leather. Morocco leather is an example of the use of sumac tannins.

67 Two-time Emmy winner for “30 Rock” : ALEC BALDWIN

Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think Alec’s big break was playing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in “The Hunt for Red October”, but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. Baldwin also made a name for himself playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, opposite Tina Fey. More recently, he is known for impersonating President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live”.

69 Rule that ended in 1947 : RAJ

The period of colonial rule by the British in South Asia from 1858 to 1947 is referred to as the British Raj. Prior to 1858, the area was ruled by a private enterprise, the British East India Company. “Raj” is the Hindi word for “reign”.

70 Prime cut : T-BONE

The T-bone and porterhouse are related cuts of meat, with the latter being a larger version of the former, and both being cut from the short loin.

72 Carving in a cartouche : SCARAB

Scarabs were amulets in ancient Egypt. Scarabs were modelled on the dung beetle, as it was viewed as a symbol of the cycle of life.

73 Business whose patrons are often fighting : ARCADE

Our word “arcade” comes from the Latin “arcus” meaning “arc”. The first arcades were passages made from a series of arches. This could be an avenue of trees, and eventually any covered avenue. I remember arcades lined with shops and stores when I was growing up on the other side of the Atlantic. Arcades came to be lined with lots of amusements, resulting in amusement arcades and video game arcades.

80 #44 : OBAMA

President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, becoming the fourth US president to be so honored. He is the only one of the four to have been awarded the prize during his first year of office. The Nobel committee gave the award citing President Obama’s work towards a new climate in international relations, particularly in reaching out to the Muslim world.

83 Piece of music that evokes the countryside : PASTORALE

A pastorale is musical work that is intended to evoke a country scene. Pastorales sometimes achieve this by including existing rustic tunes as themes. The term ultimately comes from the Latin “pastoralis” meaning “of shepherds”.

85 Certain percussion player : TIMPANIST

The timpani are also called the kettledrums. “Timpani” is an Italian term with the same meaning as in English, the plural of “timpano”.

86 Home of the Komodo dragon : INDONESIA

The large lizard called a Komodo dragon is so named because it is found on the island of Komodo (and others) in Indonesia. It can grow to a length of over 9 1/2 feet, so I guess that explains the dragon part of the name …

91 Southwestern ski resort : TAOS

Taos Ski Valley is a resort village in New Mexico, founded in 1955. About twelve families live there, making up thirty or so households and a population of about 60 people. It is said to very much resemble a Swiss village, and even includes an elected village council.

92 Prime meridian std. : GST

Greenwich Sidereal Time (GST)

Astronomers use sidereal time to know where to locate given stars in the night sky. Sidereal time is a time scale that takes into account the Earth’s rotation relative to stars with a fixed location in the night sky.

A meridian is a line of longitude, and the Prime Meridian is that line of longitude defined as 0 degrees. The Prime Meridian is also called the Greenwich Meridian as it passes through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich in southeast London. Of course the line of longitude that is used to represent 0 degrees is an arbitrary decision. 25 nations formally decided in 1884 to use the Greenwich Meridian as 0 degrees as it was already a popular choice. That is all except the French, who abstained from the vote and used the Paris Meridian as 0 degrees on French charts for several decades.

95 20-Across’s island, to locals : SICILIA
(20A Site of the Bocca Nuova crater : ETNA)

In Italian, “Sicilia” (Sicily) is an “isola” (island).

100 Sum total: Abbr. : AMT

Amount (amt.)

102 ___ polloi : HOI

“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.

107 Like the newspaper Al-Shabiba : OMANI

Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and is neighbored by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Oman is a monarchy, and the official name of the state is the Sultanate of Oman. All of the country’s legislative, executive and judiciary power resides with the hereditary sultan.

108 Ancient empire builders : INCAS

The Incas built almost 25,000 miles of road, and much of that roadway system persists to this day. The most famous section is known as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The backbone of the system is formed by two north-south routes, one running along the west coast of the continent, and the other running relatively parallel, further inland.

113 Some are shockers : EELS

“Electrophorus electricus” is the biological name for the electric eel. Despite its name, the electric “eel” isn’t an eel at all, but rather what is called a knifefish, a fish with an elongated body that is related to the catfish. The electric eel has three pairs of organs along its abdomen, each capable of generating an electric discharge. The shock can go as high as 500 volts with 1 ampere of current (500 watts), and that could perhaps kill a human.

115 Online handicrafts marketplace : 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.

116 Part of many a postcard, briefly : PIC

The studying and collecting of postcards is known as “deltiology”, from the Greek word “deltos” meaning “writing tablet, letter”.

117 Gardner of old Hollywood : AVA

Ava Gardner is noted for her association with some big movies, but also for her association with some big names when it came to the men in her life. In the world of film, she appeared in the likes of “Mogambo” (1953), “On the Beach” (1959), “The Night of the Iguana” (1964) and “Earthquake” (1974). The men in her life included husbands Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra.

119 Nine-symbol message : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

121 Word often spoken in pig Latin : NIX

Pig Latin is in effect a game. One takes the first consonant or consonant cluster of an English word and moves it to the end of the word, and then adds the letters “ay”. So, the Pig Latin for the word “nix” is “ixnay” (ix-n-ay), and for “scram” is “amscray” (am-scr-ay).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Miss : LASS
5 More than excited : MANIC
10 Grub for a grub : LEAF
14 Elliptical : OVAL
18 Where a phone might be tapped : ICON
19 Last Oldsmobile model : ALERO
20 Site of the Bocca Nuova crater : ETNA
21 Regional flora and fauna : BIOTA
22 Facial feature of a Lego man? : SQUARE CHIN (from “square inch”)
24 Sparkling Italian wine : ASTI
25 With 81-Across, flashy basketball play : ALLEY-…
26 Completely remove : PURGE
27 Blew off steam? : HISSED
29 “Hold your horses” : ONE SEC
31 Word before job or joke : INSIDE
33 Emcee during a power outage? : HOST IN THE DARK (from “shot in the dark”)
37 Regulus is its brightest star : LEO
38 Small change? : DIME
40 Most eccentric : LOOPIEST
41 Formerly : NEE
42 What means most in the end? : -EST
43 Some somber music : DIRGE
45 “So what?” : AND?
46 Tailor’s measurement : WAIST
48 “The elite fighter pilots may skip the rest of the lecture”? : ACES DISMISSED (from “case dismissed”)
53 New Cub Scout : BOBCAT
54 Hairy hunter of Genesis : ESAU
55 Looney Tunes devil, for short : TAZ
56 Hostile declaration : IT’S WAR!
59 Decision : CALL
60 Expense for a political campaign : ADS
62 List of available courses : MENU
64 What the abscissa and ordinate are measured from : AXIS
66 Take in : SEE
67 Drive a getaway car through Australia’s outback? : ABET AROUND THE BUSH (from “beat around the bush”)
72 Cousin ___ (“Jimmy Kimmel Live” regular) : SAL
74 Major account : SAGA
75 Nickname of a 2010s pop idol, with “the” : BIEB
76 Bird in Liberty Mutual commercials : EMU
77 Workmates : CREW
79 Answer : REJOIN
81 See 25-Across : … OOP
84 When Caesar is told to “Beware the ides of March” : ACT I
87 Give in : ACCEDE
89 What you might do after the movie previews are finally over? : BEGIN WATCHING (from “binge watching”)
93 Yeshiva instructor : RABBI
94 Civil War side: Abbr. : CSA
96 Group who ought to know better? : MENSA
97 Rx prescribers : MDS
98 Pioneering programmer Lovelace : ADA
99 Fish whose name means “very strong” in Hawaiian : MAHI MAHI
103 Put away : STOW
105 “The devil’s lettuce” : POT
106 Where spaghetti and orzo rank in terms of their suitability for making necklaces? : BELOW MACARONI (from “elbow macaroni”)
109 Resident of Japan’s “second city” : OSAKAN
111 ___ Mendeleev, creator of the periodic table : DMITRI
112 Martin ___, star of 1960s TV’s “Route 66” : MILNER
114 Opera singer Fleming : RENEE
116 Play with, as a toy mouse : PAW AT
118 To boot : ALSO
120 One who believes exclusively in a sea god? : OCEAN DEIST (from “ocean tides”)
122 Political columnist Molly : IVINS
123 Noted Christian : DIOR
124 Role in the 2005 hit musical “Jersey Boys” : VALLI
125 Electric flux symbols : PSIS
126 “Pretty please?” : CAN I?
127 Like child’s play : EASY
128 County on the Thames : ESSEX
129 Legal postponement : STAY

Down

1 What Winthrop speaks with in “The Music Man” : LISP
2 Give in : ACQUIESCE
3 Musicians’ slip-ups : SOUR NOTES
4 Hang-ups : SNAGS
5 Fannie ___ : MAE
6 Isaac Newton, by hobby : ALCHEMIST
7 Classic soda brand : NEHI
8 Source of the word “galore” : IRISH
9 Xbox and GameCube : CONSOLES
10 Cause : LEAD TO
11 Long-distance travelers, informally : ETS
12 Composer Dvorak : ANTONIN
13 Passed out : FAINTED
14 De-squeaked : OILED
15 Thick cloud above a peak : VOLCANIC ASH
16 Took in : ATE
17 ___ of the land : LAY
21 System used in computer code : BASE TWO
23 Frist’s successor as Senate majority leader : REID
28 That, in Spanish : ESO
30 Quizzical utterances : EHS
32 Actress Conn of “Grease” : DIDI
34 Popular tablets : IPADS
35 Antique shop deal : RESALE
36 Stove-top item : KETTLE
37 Where a herd might be heard : LEA
39 Aretha Franklin’s Grammy-nominated sister : ERMA
44 Thingamajig : GIZMO
47 Kind of order for the circled letters in this puzzle : ABC
49 Swedish Air Force supplier : SAAB
50 Guys : DUDES
51 Making a clerical error? : SINNING
52 Exercise in dexterity : ETUDE
53 Grease : BRIBE
57 Cry from a nursery : WAH!
58 The king of diamonds carries one : AXE
61 It might be glassy or icy : STARE
63 Ragtime great Blake : EUBIE
65 Shrub that produces a crimson-colored spice : SUMAC
67 Two-time Emmy winner for “30 Rock” : ALEC BALDWIN
68 Common thing to lie about : AGE
69 Rule that ended in 1947 : RAJ
70 Prime cut : T-BONE
71 “___ is life” : SUCH
72 Carving in a cartouche : SCARAB
73 Business whose patrons are often fighting : ARCADE
78 Entanglement : WEB
80 #44 : OBAMA
82 Completely embarrasses, slangily : OWNS
83 Piece of music that evokes the countryside : PASTORALE
85 Certain percussion player : TIMPANIST
86 Home of the Komodo dragon : INDONESIA
88 Knuckleheads : DIMWITS
90 *Swoon* : I’M IN LOVE
91 Southwestern ski resort : TAOS
92 Prime meridian std. : GST
94 Absurd pretense : CHARADE
95 20-Across’s island, to locals : SICILIA
100 Sum total: Abbr. : AMT
101 Storehouse : ARMORY
102 ___ polloi : HOI
104 Voting district : WARD
107 Like the newspaper Al-Shabiba : OMANI
108 Ancient empire builders : INCAS
110 Something to play for : KEEPS
113 Some are shockers : EELS
115 Online handicrafts marketplace : ETSY
116 Part of many a postcard, briefly : PIC
117 Gardner of old Hollywood : AVA
119 Nine-symbol message : SOS
121 Word often spoken in pig Latin : NIX

18 thoughts on “0726-20 NY Times Crossword 26 Jul 20, Sunday”

  1. 23:31, no errors. Perhaps I’m just naive, but I find it quite remarkable that there exist seven common words whose letters can be put in alphabetical order to form another common word and that, for each of the seven, there exists a meaningful phrase containing it which becomes a humorously meaningful phrase when it is replaced by its alphabetized doppelgänger. Marvelous!

  2. Rats! It took me over 6 minutes to realize that VALLE was actually VALLI. A little over my Sunday time just because of that. I actually thought there might have been a problem with my tablet. 43:08. Maybe I’ll take the “slowest” title today.

  3. 40:18 Well I’m close to @Alaska Steve. I was at about 32 minutes and then just stared at the NW corner. Finally figured that out and then had to find a fat finger, taking another 2 minutes. Had the AHA moment about anagrams entering the MACARONI answer. Like @Nonny, also impressed at the constructor’s cleverness with the anagrams.

    Had DRS before MDS, WAA before WAH, OUTS before OWNS.

    Not sure I understand 18A – where a phone might be tapped.

    1. @Ron F … When you tap the screen on a cell phone, most likely what’s at the position of the tap is an icon.

  4. 39:34 Late post, I was out squandering electrons with my camera all day. Filled in some spaces in a scattershot pattern until I hit below/elbow macaroni, then things went together quickly….relatively…

    Now I’m going to reread Nonny’s post a couple more times, I’m sure I’ll “get it”, but like me and themes, it takes a while… 🙂

  5. Why is 90 Down *Swoon* “IMINLOVE” highlighted in a different color (using the online app). I figured it had to mean something,or have to do with the theme in some way, but I can’t find any answer as to why. Several others have asked but so far no answer. Anyone?

    1. When I look at the puzzle in the online app, the square containing the “cursor” (where an alphabetic character that I typed would go), is highlighted in yellow and the other squares of the current selected entry and its clue are highlighted in blue. If I tap on a square in a different part of the grid, the highlighting changes. Is that what you’re talking about, or is the 90-Down entry being treated somehow differently from the others?

      1. A Nonny Muss, yes, mine works the same way as yours, the highlighted answer (in the grid) is blue other than the current square which is highlighted in yellow. However, on this one entry 90D: IMINLOVE, if you select this word, it is highlighted in green (rather than blue), and the highlighted square is yellow as usual. I thought for sure it meant that this answer had special significance, related to the themers, but I can’t find any connection, or reason to explain why it is highlighted in green.

        1. Interesting!! I checked this out on my current iPad Mini and on an older iPad Mini, and I don’t get the green highlighting, so I have no idea what’s going on for you! The asterisks in the clue (“*Swoon*”) are probably related in some way, but I don’t see how. Very odd!!

  6. 37:09. Doing this puzzle about 10 days late, but better late than never. Agreed – very clever theme. I got it…sorta…but didn’t realize the theme answers were anagrams of the originals. What is it with me and anagrams. We just don’t like each other.

    You can also get into mensa via an SAT or graduate school standardized test score. I got in that way and circumvented having to take that test. I took a few practice tests and they were very much hit and miss. It would have been an iffy proposition for me. So I always say I’m a mensa member, but I got in via a loophole….

    Rob and Nonny – I use the NYT app on a Windows based laptop, and I’m getting the green light (so to speak) for IM IN LOVE as well. I noticed it at the time, but I didn’t give it much thought. No idea why that is. Best guess is that it’s a glitch of some kind.

    Best –

    1. But … I just had another thought: If it’s a sickly green, the intent may be to suggest a lovesick condition. And I can see why my iMac wouldn’t consent to be involved in that kind of hijinks! 😜)

  7. 1:16:33 no errors…I got the theme and it helped a lot but even with Nonny explanation I don’t get ABC.
    64A was strictly via crosses.
    Stay safe😀

    1. ABC?

      Start with the ordinary phrase “OCEAN TIDES”. Arrange the letters of one of its words (the second, in this case) in alphabetical order to get the phrase “OCEAN DEIST”. Clue it (hilariously? 😜) as “One who believes exclusively in a sea god?”. Your task: to find ten more examples of the same kind of transformation (not including any of the ones used in the puzzle). I contend that this task involves significant difficulty.

  8. 32:20, no errors. Lost a lot of time trying to unravel the ALEC BALDWIN section of the grid. Initial guesses of BAT AT, Molly IVENS and MAY I really messed me up.

  9. No errors.. About an hour.. Went a lot quicker once I got the theme.. But I’m also watching a baseball game so sometimes distracted.. There was a time when watching baseball on tv was a given.. Now I’m thankful even though no one is in the stadiums.

    I didn’t realize how remarkable this crossword structure was until reading all the comments. WOW..

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