0920-20 NY Times Crossword 20 Sep 20, Sunday

Constructed by: Sam Trabucco
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: Word Ladders

We have a WORD LADDER in today’s grid shown with circled letters, going from RISE to FALL. We use each step in the ladder to make sense of themed answers. Each across-answer at the top of each step in the ladder FALLS down to the bottom of the step and continues, and each answer at the bottom of the step RISES up the ladder to continue:

  • 18A Reason for people to hide : SURPRISE PARTY
  • 19D Word ladder, part 1 : RISE
  • 31A Not wanted : UNDESIRABLE
  • 28A Doctor’s hand covering : STERILE GLOVE
  • 29D Word ladder, part 2 : RILE
  • 46A Pressing need when on the go? : TRAVEL IRON
  • 62A Social media avatar, for short : PROFILE PIC
  • 63D Word ladder, part 3 : FILE
  • 78A “However hard I try …” : FOR THE LIFE OF ME …
  • 96A Center of a cobbler : FRUIT FILLING
  • 97D Word ladder, part 4 : FILL
  • 114A Appeasing : MOLLIFYING
  • 110A Love of money, per I Timothy 6:10 : ROOT OF ALL EVIL
  • 111D Word ladder, part 5 : FALL
  • 130A Sweet Mexican dessert : VANILLA FLAN

Bill’s time: 23m 42s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

20 Bit of ancient text : RUNE

A rune is a character in an alphabet that is believed to have mysterious powers. In Norse mythology, the runic alphabet was said to have a divine origin.

21 Home of Roma : ITALIA

In Italian, “Roma” (Rome) is a “città” (city) in “Italia” (Italy).

24 Feature of Captain Ahab : PEG LEG

Captain Ahab is the obsessed and far from friendly captain of the Pequod in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick”. The role of Captain Ahab was played by Gregory Peck in the 1956 John Huston film adaptation. Patrick Stewart played Ahab in a 1998 miniseries in which Peck made another appearance, as Father Mapple.

25 Many M.I.T. grads: Abbr. : EES

Electrical engineer (EE)

26 End of many a name on the periodic table : -IUM

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.

30 Tokyo, before it was Tokyo : EDO

“Edo” is the former name of the Japanese city of Tokyo. Edo was the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate, a feudal regime that ruled from 1603 until 1868. The shogun lived in the magnificent Edo Castle. Some parts of the original castle remain and today’s Tokyo Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor of Japan, was built on its grounds.

34 Pop star Grande, to fans : ARI

Ariana Grande is a singer and actress from Boca Raton, Florida. Grande plays the role of Cat Valentine on the sitcom “Victorious” that aired for four season on Nickelodeon. Grande’s singing career took off with the release of the 2011 album “Victorious: Music from the Hit TV Show”.

41 Black-market, say : ILLICIT

A black market is a market involving illegal transactions. Transactions in a grey market are legal, but are unauthorized by the original supplier. In this context, the regular, legal market is known as the white market.

53 Philosopher who tutored Nero : SENECA

Seneca the Younger was a tutor and advisor to Nero, emperor of ancient Rome. Although maybe innocent, Seneca was forced to commit suicide by Nero as it was alleged that Seneca participated in a plot to kill the emperor. To kill himself, Seneca cut into a number of veins in order to bleed to death.

57 Chowder ingredient : CLAM

The type of soup known as “chowder” is possibly named for the pot in which it used to be cooked called a “chaudière”, a French term.

60 Game in which each player starts with a score of 501 : DARTS

Darts is a wonderful game that’s often played in English and Irish pubs, even over here in America. The scoring in a traditional game of darts is difficult to describe in a sentence or two, but the game of darts called “Round the Clock” is simply hitting the numbers 1 through 20 on the dartboard in sequence.

61 West Bank grp. : PLO

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964. The PLO’s early stated goal was the liberation of Palestine, with Palestine defined as the geographic entity that existed under the terms of the British Mandate granted by the League of Nations back in 1923. The PLO was granted observer status (i.e. no voting rights) at the United Nations in 1974.

The bulk of the Palestinian territories are located in the West Bank. The term “West Bank” is a reference to lands west of the River Jordan.

62 Social media avatar, for short : PROFILE PIC

The Sanskrit word “avatar” describes the concept of a deity descending into earthly life and taking on a persona. It’s easy to see how in the world of online presences one might use the word avatar to describe one’s online identity.

65 Thing given as a concession : SOP

Cerberus is a dog with three heads that appears in both Greek and Roman mythology. Cerberus had the job of guarding the gates of Hades and preventing those who had crossed the River Styx from ever escaping. A sop is a piece of food that has been dipped in some liquid, as one might sop a piece of bread in soup. There is an idiomatic expression, “to give a sop to Cerberus”, which means “to give someone a bribe, pay someone off”. The idea is that if one could bribe Cerberus, give him a sop to eat, then he would let you pass and escape from Hades.

66 Castle defense : MOAT

A moat is a protective trench that surrounds a castle, say, or an exhibit in a zoo. A moat may or may not be filled with water.

67 Nobel winner Morrison : TONI

Writer Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Amongst other things, Morrison is noted for coining the phrase “our first black President”, a reference to President Bill Clinton.

68 One who has a lot to offer? : REALTOR

“Real estate agent” is a general, generic term. “Realtor” is the name given to a member of the trade association known as the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR has gone so far as to trademark the term “Realtor” in the US.

73 Norse troublemaker : LOKI

Loki is a god appearing in Norse mythology. In one story about Loki, he was punished by other gods for having caused the death of Baldr, the god of light and beauty. Loki is bound to a sharp rock using the entrails of one of his sons. A serpent drips venom which is collected in a bowl, and then his wife must empty the venom onto Loki when the bowl is full. The venom causes Loki great pain, and his writhing results in what we poor mortals experience as earthquakes.

77 Fenway team, familiarly : SOX

The left field wall in Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, is the tallest encountered in Major League ballparks. The wall was built that high to prevent viewing of games from outside of the park for free. The height also prevents home runs that would be possible in other ballparks, and so, given its color and reputation, it is called the Green Monster.

81 Child-care expert LeShan : EDA

Eda LeShan wrote several nonfiction books including “When Your Child Drives You Crazy” and “The Conspiracy Against Childhood”. LeShan was also host of the PBS television show “How Do Your Children Grow?”

82 Parts of ziggurats : TIERS

Ziggurats were massive, terraced, step pyramids built in the ancient Mesopotamian valley. The ziggurat-style of architecture has been used in modern buildings, with notable examples being the US Bullion Depository in Fort Knox, and the MI6 Building in London.

85 Twin of Jacob in the Bible : ESAU

Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When their mother Rebekah gave birth to the twins “the first emerged red and hairy all over (Esau), with his heel grasped by the hand of the second to come out (Jacob)”. As Esau was the first born, he was entitled to inherit his father’s wealth (it was his “birthright”). Instead, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for the price of a “mess of pottage” (a meal of lentils).

95 Bacterium in some raw meat : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

96 Center of a cobbler : FRUIT FILLING

The dessert called “cobbler” originated in colonial America when settlers invented it as a substitute for suet pudding as they didn’t have the necessary ingredients to make the more traditional dish. Instead, they stewed fruit and covered it with a layer of uncooked scones or biscuits, creating a surface that resembled a “cobbled” street, hence the name.

99 Clorox cleanser : LESTOIL

LesToil is a cleanser with many advertised uses, including laundry stain removal and floor cleaning. It was introduced in 1933 as a single product with the dual purpose of removing both water-soluble and non-water-soluble dirt on washday.

102 Uses a modern engine : GOOGLES

The Google search engine was originally called “BackRub” would you believe? The name was eventually changed to “Google”, an intentional misspelling of the word “googol”. A googol is a pretty big number, 10 to the power of 100. That would be the digit 1 followed by 100 zeros.

106 Kenan’s partner on an old sitcom : KEL

“Kenan & Kel” is a sitcom that aired on Nickelodeon from 1996 to 2000. It starred Kenan Thompson (now of “Saturday Night Live”), and Kel Mitchell.

107 The “L” of B.L.M. : LIVES

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement started in 2013 after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of African-American youth Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. Three civil rights activists, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, originated the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

108 “Geaux Tigers!” sch. : LSU

The Tigers are the sports teams of Louisiana State University (LSU). They are officially known as the Fightin’ Tigers, and the school mascot is “Mike the Tiger”. The name comes from the days of the Civil War, when two Louisiana brigades earned the nickname the “Louisiana Tigers”. Given the French/Cajun history of Louisiana, the LSU fans use the cheer “Geaux Tigers” instead of “Go Tigers”.

110 Love of money, per I Timothy 6:10 : ROOT OF ALL EVIL

According to the Book of Timothy in the Christian Bible, the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the young disciple Timothy:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

These lines have been paraphrased into the commonly used phrase “money is the root of all evil”.

113 Brand of nail polish : OPI

Opi is a manufacturer of nail polish based in North Hollywood, California. One of Opi’s marketing coups was the introduction of a line of Legally Blonde 2 polishes, which featured in the film.

114 Appeasing : MOLLIFYING

To mollify is to appease. “Mollify” comes from the Latin “mollis” meaning “soft”, as in “to soften”.

117 School closing? : ELL

The closing letter in the word “school” is a letter L (ell).

123 “That one’s mine!” : I CALL DIBS!

The phrase “to have dibs on” expresses a claim on something. Apparently, the term “dibs” is a contraction of “dibstone”, which was a knucklebone or jack used in a children’s game.

130 Sweet Mexican dessert : VANILLA FLAN

Flan (also “crème caramel”) is a delicious dessert comprising a molded custard topped with a clear caramel sauce. The related crème brûlée is a dessert made from molded custard with a hard, burnt caramel layer on top.

131 Backsides, to Brits : ARSES

Well, the word “arse” would never make it into a crossword in Britain and Ireland, as it would be considered too rude. I have a similar reaction to the word “shag” as in “The Spy Who Shagged Me”. The film would never have been released with that name in the UK.

132 Certain sneak : NIKE

Nike was founded in 1964 in Eugene, Oregon by entrepreneur Phil Knight and track-and-field coach Bill Bowerman as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS). BRS started out by distributing athletic shoes made in Japan. The company started making its own shoes in 1971 and changed its name to Nike, after the Greek goddess of victory.

133 Caesar’s accusation : ET TU?

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

Down

1 Counterculture drug, for short : LSD

LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist named Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

2 Geneva accord? : OUI

In French, a “législateur” (legislator) might vote “oui” (yes) or “non” (no).

Genève (“Geneva” in English) is the largest city in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. I’ve been to Geneva only once, and sadly what I remember most is how expensive it is. It is in fact the fourth or fifth most expensive city in the world.

3 Newbie : GREENHORN

A greenhorn is a young-horned animal, and is a term that is now applied to any inexperienced person.

6 Govt. org. with the motto “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” : FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was set up in 1908 as the Bureau of Investigation (BOI), with the name changing in 1935. The Bureau was set up at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt was largely moved to do so after the 1901 assassination of President McKinley, as there was a perception that anarchists were threatening law and order. The FBI’s motto uses the organization’s initialism, and is “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity”.

9 Nickname for basketball star Julius Erving : DR J

Julius Erving is a retired professional basketball player who was known as “Dr. J”, a nickname he picked up in high school. Dr. J was a trailblazer in many ways, being the first player associated with slam dunking and other moves above the rim.

11 Photo-sharing app, familiarly : INSTA

Instagram (often abbreviated to “Insta”) is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …

12 14th-century king of Aragon : PETER IV

Modern-day Aragón is an autonomous community in the northeast of Spain. The region is named for the medieval Kingdom of Aragón.

13 Written using an outline : STENCILED

A stencil is a sheet of impervious material with perforations in the shape of letters or a design. The stencil is placed over a surface to be printed and then the printing medium is applied, so that the medium only attaches to the surface beneath the perforations.

15 Basketball star nicknamed “The Answer” : ALLEN IVERSON

Allen Iverson is a professional basketball player who played in the NBA for several years. Iverson signed up to play for a Turkish basketball team in 2010. He played in Turkey for two seasons and retired from the game in 2013. Iverson is known by the nickname “the Answer”.

16 Kind of test with unproven accuracy : LIE DETECTOR

We are most familiar with the word “polygraph” as the generic name for a lie detector instrument. This usage began in 1921, although the term had been around since the end of the 18th century. Back then, a polygraph was a mechanical device used to make multiple copies as something was written or drawn. Famously, Thomas Jefferson used a polygraph to preserve copies of letters that he wrote to correspondents.

17 Largest city of Nigeria : LAGOS

Lagos is a port and the biggest city in Nigeria. Lagos used to be the country’s capital, until it was replaced in that role in 1991 by Abuja, a city built just for this purpose. Lagos is also the most populous city in the whole of Africa (followed by Cairo in Egypt).

21 Big milestone for a start-up : IPO

An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

31 Old food label std. : US RDA

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.

39 When repeated, king of Siam’s refrain in “The King and I” : ETC

“The King and I” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on a book by Margaret Landon called “Anna and the King of Siam” first published in 1944. Landon’s book is based on a true story, told in the memoirs of Anna Leonowens. Leonowens was the governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s, and she also taught the king’s wives.

42 Some smartphones : LGS

LG is a very large South Korean manufacturer of electronics, chemicals and telecom products. The company used to be known as Lucky-Goldstar, whence the initialism “LG”.

44 Oppressive ruler : DESPOT

A despot is a ruler with absolute power, and often one who wields that power oppressively. “Despot” is an old French term from the 14th century that is ultimately derived from the Greek “despotes” meaning “master of a household, absolute ruler”.

47 “___ and Janis” (comic) : ARLO

The comic strip “Arlo and Janis” is written by Jimmy Johnson. Introduced in 1985, Arlo and Janis are a baby booming couple with an easy approach to life, and who are very much in love.

50 Whirlybirds : COPTERS

Our term “helicopter” was absorbed from the French word “hélicoptère” that was coined by Gustave Ponton d’Amécourt in 1861. d’Amécourt envisioned aircraft that could fly vertically using rotating wings that “screwed” into the air. He combined the Greek terms “helix” meaning “spiral, whirl” and “pteron” meaning “wing” to give us “helicopter”.

52 Gas that’s lighter than air : NEON

Neon was discovered in 1898 by two British chemists Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers. They chilled a sample of air, turning it into a liquid. They then warmed that liquid and separated out the gases that boiled off. Along with nitrogen, oxygen and argon (already known), the pair of scientists discovered two new gases. The first they called “krypton” and the second “neon”. “Krypton” is Greek for “the hidden one” and “neon” is Greek for “new”.

54 Nile danger : ASP

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

56 Fire in “Jane Eyre,” e.g. : MOTIF

A motif is a recurring element in an artistic work or design.

“Jane Eyre” is a celebrated novel written by Charlotte Brontë, under the pen name Currer Bell. The love story is perhaps represented by the oft-quoted opening lines of the last chapter, “Reader, I married him”. There is a wonderful 4-hour television adaptation made by the BBC that I highly recommend to fans of the novel …

59 Mrs., abroad : MME

The equivalent of “Mrs.” in French is “Mme.” (Madame), in Spanish is “Sra.” (Señora) and in Portuguese is also “Sra.” (Senhora).

70 Unpopular legislation of 1773 : TEA ACT

The famous destruction of tea in Boston Harbor to protest against the Tea Act took place on December 16, 1773. The action was referred to as the “destruction of the tea” for decades, and it wasn’t until 1834 that the term “Boston Tea Party” first appeared in print.

72 ___ Valley (San Francisco area) : NOE

Noe Valley is a neighborhood in San Francisco. The area is named after José de Jesús Noé who was the last Mexican mayor of Yerba Buena, which is what San Francisco was called when it was part of Mexico.

74 Gem that’s also a name : OPAL

97% of the world’s opals come from Australia, so it’s no surprise perhaps that the opal is the national gemstone of the country. The state of South Australia provides the bulk of the world’s production, i.e. about 80%.

75 New Zealander : KIWI

Unlike many nicknames for people of a particular country, the name “Kiwi” for a New Zealander isn’t offensive at all. The term comes from the flightless bird called the kiwi, which is endemic to New Zealand and is the country’s national symbol. “Kiwi” is a Maori word, and the plural (when referring to the bird) is simply “kiwi”. However, when you have two or more New Zealanders with you, they are Kiwis (note the “s”, and indeed the capital “K”!).

77 Start of some Quebec place names: Abbr. : STE

“Sainte” (ste.) is French for “saint”, when referring to a “femme” (woman).

The name of the province Québec comes from an Algonquin word “kebec” meaning “where the river narrows”. This refers to the area around Quebec City where the St. Lawrence River narrows as it flows through a gap lined by steep cliffs.

79 French filmmaker Jacques : TATI

Jacques Tati was a very famous filmmaker and comic actor in his homeland of France. Even though he only directed six feature-length movies, Tati is often cited by insiders as one of the greatest movie directors of all time.

84 Hot cocoa brand : SWISS MISS

Swiss Miss is a brand of cocoa powder and related products sold by ConAgra Foods. The original Swiss Miss product was introduced in the 1950s and sold exclusively to airlines. Back then, airlines were in the habit of making hot cocoa for their passengers. Swiss Miss became so popular on flights that it was later added to grocery store shelves.

89 Frequent tabloid cover subject : ALIEN

“Tabloid” is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs Wellcome) for a “small tablet of medicine”, a name that goes back to 1884. The word “tabloid” had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in “tabloid journalism”, which described newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.

90 Spot for a houseplant : SILL

“Sill plate”, or simply “sill”, is an architectural term describing a bottom horizontal member to which vertical members are attached. Window sills and door sills are specific sill plates found at the bottoms of windows and door openings.

92 Letters on a Cardinal’s cap : STL

The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the “Brown Stockings”, changing their name to the “Perfectos” in 1899. That obviously didn’t go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.

94 Greenpeace or the W.W.F., for short : NGO

Non-governmental organization (NGO)

Environmental organization Greenpeace was founded in 1971, and is headquartered in Amsterdam. Famously, the organization uses seagoing vessels in some of its campaigns. The most renowned of these ships was the refitted fishing trawler Rainbow Warrior. The original Rainbow Warrior was known for disrupting activities like whale-hunting, dumping of radioactive waste and nuclear testing. In response to the latter, the French government secretly bombed the vessel while in harbor in Auckland, New Zealand. A Dutch freelance photographer died in that bombing.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was founded in 1961. It’s mission is …

… to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.

100 “___ Beso,” Paul Anka hit : ESO

“Eso Beso” is Spanish for “That Kiss”, and is the title of a 1962 hit song recorded by Canadian-born singer Paul Anka.

105 Internet meme with grammatically incorrect captions : LOLCAT

A lolcat is an image of a cat with a humorous message superimposed in text. Such images have been around since the late 1800s, but the term “lolcat” only surfaced in 2006 as the phenomenon was sweeping across the Internet. “Lolcat” is a melding of the acronym for “laugh out loud” (LOL) and “cat”.

107 Shower scrubber : LOOFA

The loofah (also “loofa”, “lufah” and “luffa”, all Arabic words) is a vine, with fruit that’s very popular in Asia and Africa. If the fruit is allowed to mature, it can be processed to remove everything but the more rigid xylem structure (remember your high school botany class?) leaving a soft, sponge-like mass that is used as a skin polisher.

109 Eel, on a sushi menu : UNAGI

“Unagi” is the Japanese term for” freshwater eel”, and “anago” is the term for “saltwater eel”.

115 Mel of baseball : OTT

At 5′ 9″, baseball legend Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old. And, according to Wikipedia, “Ott’s name frequently appears in crossword puzzles, on account of its letter combination and brevity.” True that …

116 Understand, informally : GROK

To grok is to understand. “To grok” is a slang term that’s really only used in “techie” circles. “Grok” is the creation of science fiction author Robert Heinlein, who coined it in his 1961 novel “Stranger in a Strange Land”.

120 Clarifying word on a school reunion nametag : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”. The term “née” is mainly used in English when referring to a married woman’s birth name, assuming that she has adopted her husband’s name, e.g. Michelle Obama née Robinson, and Melania Trump née Knavs.

122 Tinder bio info : AGE

Tinder is a matchmaking app that uses Facebook profiles. Users “swipe” photos of potential matches, either to the right (“like”) or to the left (“not interested”). Users who “match” each other can then chat within the app.

124 Amazon worker : ANT

Amazon ants are referred to as “slave-raiding” ants. They rob the pupae from related species and use the captured ants as “slaves”. The “slaves” do virtually all the work needed to maintain the Amazon ant nest, including provision of food and nursing the young.

125 “Kill Bill” co-star Lucy : LIU

Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I do enjoy one of Liu’s more recent projects in which she plays Joan Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

“Kill Bill” is a 3-part Quentin Tarantino movie (I haven’t seen it, as I really don’t do Tarantino). “Kill Bill” started off as one film, but as the running time was over four hours, it was split into two “volumes”, released several months apart in 2003 and 2004. There has been a lot of talk about making “Kill Bill: Volume 3”.

126 Jazz composer Beiderbecke : BIX

Bix Beiderbecke was a jazz cornet player and composer. Beiderbecke was very influential in the world of jazz in the 1920s in particular and is said to have invented the jazz ballad style.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Something blurred to avoid trademark infringement : LOGO
5 “Well, that’s ridiculous!” : PFFT!
9 One method of coffee-making : DRIP
13 Fully intends to : SHALL
18 Reason for people to hide : SURPRISE PARTY
20 Bit of ancient text : RUNE
21 Home of Roma : ITALIA
22 Expert on nutrition : DIETITIAN
23 Bantering remark : JEST
24 Feature of Captain Ahab : PEG LEG
25 Many M.I.T. grads: Abbr. : EES
26 End of many a name on the periodic table : -IUM
28 Doctor’s hand covering : STERILE GLOVE
30 Tokyo, before it was Tokyo : EDO
31 Not wanted : UNDESIRABLE
34 Pop star Grande, to fans : ARI
35 French movie theaters : CINES
37 “Ki-i-i-i-nda” : ISH
38 “You’re on!” : IT’S A BET!
41 Black-market, say : ILLICIT
43 Occasion for male bonding, in modern lingo : BRODATE
46 Pressing need when on the go? : TRAVEL IRON
48 Part of a media sales team, informally : AD REP
49 “Agreed” : I CONCUR
53 Philosopher who tutored Nero : SENECA
55 Message made with cut-out letters, stereotypically : RANSOM NOTE
57 Chowder ingredient : CLAM
60 Game in which each player starts with a score of 501 : DARTS
61 West Bank grp. : PLO
62 Social media avatar, for short : PROFILE PIC
65 Thing given as a concession : SOP
66 Castle defense : MOAT
67 Nobel winner Morrison : TONI
68 One who has a lot to offer? : REALTOR
71 Yellow variety of quartz : CITRINE
73 Norse troublemaker : LOKI
76 Spotted : SEEN
77 Fenway team, familiarly : SOX
78 “However hard I try …” : FOR THE LIFE OF ME …
81 Child-care expert LeShan : EDA
82 Parts of ziggurats : TIERS
85 Twin of Jacob in the Bible : ESAU
86 Lifetime achievement ceremonies, e.g. : AWARD GALAS
91 Bequeaths : ENDOWS
93 Difference between dark and light, in a way : TAN LINE
95 Bacterium in some raw meat : E COLI
96 Center of a cobbler : FRUIT FILLING
99 Clorox cleanser : LESTOIL
101 Leaves alone : LETS LIE
102 Uses a modern engine : GOOGLES
106 Kenan’s partner on an old sitcom : KEL
107 The “L” of B.L.M. : LIVES
108 “Geaux Tigers!” sch. : LSU
110 Love of money, per I Timothy 6:10 : ROOT OF ALL EVIL
113 Brand of nail polish : OPI
114 Appeasing : MOLLIFYING
117 School closing? : ELL
118 One of the former Big Three information services, along with CompuServe and Prodigy : AOL
119 Words from a present giver : OPEN IT
121 Sweetheart, in Rome : CARA
123 “That one’s mine!” : I CALL DIBS!
128 Word often confused with “least” : FEWEST
129 Frenzied : AGOG
130 Sweet Mexican dessert : VANILLA FLAN
131 Backsides, to Brits : ARSES
132 Certain sneak : NIKE
133 Caesar’s accusation : ET TU?
134 Like a fox : SEXY

Down

1 Counterculture drug, for short : LSD
2 Geneva accord? : OUI
3 Newbie : GREENHORN
4 Chose : OPTED
5 Bit of butter : PAT
6 Govt. org. with the motto “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” : FBI
7 Dramatic touches : FLAIRS
8 Comedian Judy : TENUTA
9 Nickname for basketball star Julius Erving : DR J
10 Is sorry about : RUES
11 Photo-sharing app, familiarly : INSTA
12 14th-century king of Aragon : PETER IV
13 Written using an outline : STENCILED
14 Witch : HAG
15 Basketball star nicknamed “The Answer” : ALLEN IVERSON
16 Kind of test with unproven accuracy : LIE DETECTOR
17 Largest city of Nigeria : LAGOS
19 Word ladder, part 1 : RISE
21 Big milestone for a start-up : IPO
27 Slangy “I messed up” : MY B
29 Word ladder, part 2 : RILE
31 Old food label std. : US RDA
32 Where an auto racer retires? : PIT
33 Enjoyed home cooking, say : ATE IN
36 “I Love It” duo ___ Pop : ICONA
37 Letter-shaped beam : I-BAR
39 When repeated, king of Siam’s refrain in “The King and I” : ETC
40 Result of peace talks : TRUCE
42 Some smartphones : LGS
44 Oppressive ruler : DESPOT
45 Lacking + or -, electrically : APOLAR
47 “___ and Janis” (comic) : ARLO
50 Whirlybirds : COPTERS
51 Óscar’s “other” : OTRO
52 Gas that’s lighter than air : NEON
54 Nile danger : ASP
56 Fire in “Jane Eyre,” e.g. : MOTIF
58 Like most lions : AFRICAN
59 Mrs., abroad : MME
63 Word ladder, part 3 : FILE
64 Subsided : EASED
66 *, *** and *****, say : MIXED REVIEWS
69 Where to find some cliffhangers? : LEDGES
70 Unpopular legislation of 1773 : TEA ACT
71 N.F.L. referee, at the start of overtime : COIN FLIPPER
72 ___ Valley (San Francisco area) : NOE
74 Gem that’s also a name : OPAL
75 New Zealander : KIWI
77 Start of some Quebec place names: Abbr. : STE
79 French filmmaker Jacques : TATI
80 Celebrity chef Eddie : HUANG
83 Way to go : ROUTE
84 Hot cocoa brand : SWISS MISS
87 Sublease : RELET
88 “Be sharp!” : LOOK ALIVE!
89 Frequent tabloid cover subject : ALIEN
90 Spot for a houseplant : SILL
92 Letters on a Cardinal’s cap : STL
94 Greenpeace or the W.W.F., for short : NGO
97 Word ladder, part 4 : FILL
98 Optimistic assertion : YES I CAN
100 “___ Beso,” Paul Anka hit : ESO
103 Prospector’s find : ORE
104 Start streaming, e.g. : GO LIVE
105 Internet meme with grammatically incorrect captions : LOL CAT
107 Shower scrubber : LOOFA
109 Eel, on a sushi menu : UNAGI
111 Word ladder, part 5 : FALL
112 Prospectors’ finds : LODES
115 Mel of baseball : OTT
116 Understand, informally : GROK
120 Clarifying word on a school reunion nametag : NEE
122 Tinder bio info : AGE
124 Amazon worker : ANT
125 “Kill Bill” co-star Lucy : LIU
126 Jazz composer Beiderbecke : BIX
127 Like a fox : SLY

11 thoughts on “0920-20 NY Times Crossword 20 Sep 20, Sunday”

  1. 29:49, no errors. A marvelous construction: a “word ladder” in the usual sense, each “step” of which is also made use of in a second creative way! Astonishing! 😜

    That said, I may have to start doing the Sunday 21×21’s on paper – either that or get a new iPad Mini with one of them there new-fangled electric-pencil thingeys. My right index finger is just too much bigger than the squares I’m trying to hit (not to mention that its motions are becoming a lot less predictable than they used to be). 😳🙂🤨

    And now … let’s see if this posts …

  2. 42:11 including about 5 minutes searching for a fat finger. I got the Falling part of the ladder about 1/2 way thru and then about 3/4 of the way realized it also rose and that helped a lot with many of the remaining gaps. Like @ Nonny, I’m quite impressed with the construction and said so out loud to myself.

    Today I’ll post just the once and if I don’t see it for hrs. later – so be it.

      1. Ron – Mine are appearing about 3 hours after I post as well. I guess Bill is working on fixing the issue, but at least they show up eventually.

        I reread my earlier post and decided I wasn’t emphatic enough about the theme. I tried thinking of a few similar examples. After about 3 minutes, I had a headache. I kept losing track of what I was actually trying to do. Very impressive theme. Thursday-worthy.

        Let’s see when this posts.

        Best –

    1. @Ron. I never got that the ladders went up, too. That shows where my brain was today. Two grandkids screaming pretty much the whole time I was solving.

  3. Struggled with this one. Even after figuring out how the word ladders worked. 53:05 with several look ups and/or peeks at Bill’s answers. On a positive note today was my fastest time to genius on the NY Times Spelling Bee. 🐝

  4. 36:14. Very impressive design. Got the down direction of the theme early and the up version of the theme shortly thereafter. Then I leaned on the theme heavily to finish up. Some tricky fill though.

    Best –

  5. 36:07 for Saturday, 56:47 for Sunday. Slightly extended times for both since I’m solving while throwing switches at the RR museum today. Figured out the ladder construction after about 40 minutes, then just my usual slow self to clean up the blanks spots. Always impressed by how the constructors come up with these!👍👍

  6. 1:26:26 no errors…constructing a grid like this is, IMO, a feat in its own…very impressive.
    A long time ago I played darts with some British friends and our game started at 301…I guess there are other variations as well.
    I think of Nike as sneaker rather than sneak but that might just be me.
    Stay safe and go Ravens.

  7. Actually like the ladder trick.. Picked up on right away and that helped.. Didn’t know LESTOIL was in Clorox.. Messed up on 71A.. Guessed at CITRIDE cuz I though DOE valley sounded good for 72D.. But NOE! I was wrong..
    Fun time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.